Why do dogs eat poop and how to stop it? Those are questions I ponder every single day. Why? Because I have not one, not two, but three poop eating dogs.
It’s awful and very frustrating. I dream of the day I could open the door and let my dogs out to do their business without having to go out with them. Sigh.
Adult Dog Eating Poop – Is This Ok?
Here is my story, how many dog owners can relate to it?
Zephyr will eat his own poop but not Luke’s or Milo’s. Milo will only eat Zephyr’s poop. Luke will eat Zephyr’s, Milo’s, and his own. So Zephyr must have the best poop?
To make matters worse, Luke gets loose stools or diarrhea after eating poop. One important reason I really want to find a way to stop him from eating it. I hope that my experience and research can help you too.
Coprophagia In Dogs Is Normal
Coprophagia is the medical term to describe when an animal eats feces. This applies whether a dog eats its own stool, cat poop, or poop from other dogs.
Coprophagia in dogs is normal behavior. A lot of people have a dog that eats feces. It is more common in multi-dog homes. About 33% of dogs in homes with three dogs are poop eaters. Unfortunately, my percentage is 100%.
Coprophagia seems to be even more common with whippets. It’s a topic frequently brought up in whippet groups and forums. Most responses to inquiries are “mine does it too.” There are suggestions for remedies but many say they can’t stop it.
85% of dogs that eat poop will not eat their own. That’s not correct for my dogs. 2 out of 3 will eat their own which brings the percentage down to 33%.
I’ve discussed the dog poop eating situation with my vet. She said it is common and her dogs do it. Her dogs eat horse poop too. No magic cures from the vet.
First, I’ll delve into the reasons why dogs eat poop and if any apply to mine. You may find one or more apply to your dog.
Mother Dogs Eat Poop
It’s pretty normal for you to see mother dogs eating their puppy’s poop. This is the best way to keep her den clean. If you have female dogs that are mothers, try to keep the poop cleaned up before they have a chance to eat them.
Is Eating Poop Bad For Dogs?
There are inherent risks in letting your dog continue to eat poop. In fact, there are health issues and medical problems you need to be aware of. If your dog eats poop that has parasites in it, they might get the parasites in their gut. One of the biggest signs of parasites is weight loss, so keep a close eye on your dog’s weight. Intestinal parasites are dangerous for dogs.
The bad habit of stool eating might cause health problems in younger dogs, so it is best to try and stop it if you can.
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Reasons Why a Dog Eats Poop
There are both medical conditions and behavioral issues that can cause a dog to eat either their own feces or other dogs’ poop.
- Food lacking in nutrients
- Poor digestion or malabsorption
- Stress and anxiety
- Because they like it
So now there’s the next big question. I’ve included my experience in case it helps you figure out what to do for your dog.
How to Stop a Dog from Eating Poop
The good news is that there aren’t any medical reasons for dogs eating poop. With some positive reinforcement and maybe some food additives, it might be possible to reverse this learned behavior. Pet parents, these are some of the most successful ways to reverse this behavioral problem.
- Feed your dog quality food. Make sure it isn’t giving your dog nutritional deficiencies.
- Give your dog plenty of exercise, playtime, and attention. Take them outside and give them plenty of time playing with toys.
- Clean up the poop. Removing the temptation is a great way for a pet owner to curb this habit.
- Spray poop with hot sauce or sprinkle with ground hot pepper.
- Add food or products to their dog food that makes their poop less appealing. There are quite a few food items that will make poop taste worse.
- Meat tenderizer that contains papain or bromelain (enzymes derived from papaya or pineapple).
- For-Bid for dogs. For-bid is just a packet of wheat gluten and monosodium glutamate (msg).
- Discourage and reward for leaving it. Some behavioral changes might help.
- Leave it training. This is something that domestic dogs should learn anyway.
- Digestive enzymes.
Dogs Eat Poop
Sometimes you can do all you can do – give them lots of mental stimulation, make sure they don’t have a nutritional deficiency, and look at other possible reasons for it and still feel overwhelmed and confused when they keep eating the feces of other dogs.
Other than the ick factor, this gross behavior might not hurt your dog too much, especially if you know they don’t have parasites or an infectious disease. Sadly, it’s a common behavior that a lot of pet parents struggle with. All you can do is make sure that there aren’t any medical causes for it and do your best to curb your dog’s poop-eating habits.
Have you stopped your dog from eating poop?
Please comment and share your success. I want to know the secret. And I’m sure a bunch of other people want to know it too.
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