There are many gross things our furry ones do: Rolling around in smelly things, eating from the trash, licking feet….but the worst of all is: Eating poop. Many of our customers turned to us for advise on what to do about this delicate issue, so we investigated and found out the reason for this behavior as well as ways to tackle this nasty habit!
Why do dogs eat feces?
Dogs eating feces is very common and there’s even a scientific name for this habit: coprophagia (kop-ruh-fey-jee-ah). There are behavioral and physiologic reasons why some dogs view dung as a delicacy.
Sometimes your dog may eat poo because they need to eat more than what you’re currently feeding them or the length of time between meals is too long. Always check the guidelines on your bag of dog food or ask your vet.
Not enough mental and physical stimulation can play a role in how your dog behaves and this could include eating poo.
3. Separation anxiety
Fear of being alone can cause dogs to do things they wouldn’t usually consider.
4. They simply find it delicious
It might simply be that some dogs like it and have learned, either by accident or with intent, to consume feces.
5. Enzyme deficiency
Sometimes your dogs food isn’t entirely digested with the consequence that there are still nutrients in their (or another pets) poop that they crave.
If your dog has parasites that eat the nutrients your dog should be getting from his food, he may look for them elsewhere.
Often the case with puppies, so best is to watch them closely so they don’t get the opportunity and form a habit.
What can I do about it?
1. Keep things clean
Most importantly: Pick up after your dog immediately and in multi-pet households make sure to keep an eye on everyone and their litter boxes. If you have a garden, have a look around before letting your furry one out. Don’t give your dog access to the cat litter box or put a play-pen around it. In other words, keep the temptation at bay by keeping the poo away. 😉
2. Keep your dog physically and mentally engaged
Make sure your dog has enough exercise, playtime and cuddles. If you leave your dog alone during the day, make sure to leave enough toys and chews to keep them busy. There are some great interactive toys, that mentally stimulate your dog like a ball fetch machine, the treat casino , the treat spinner or simply a treat dispensing ball.
3. Don’t punish your dog during potty-training
Yelling or hitting your dog when they have accidents will not help but make things worse. They might learn to do it secretly or get rid of the evidence. Guess how…
4. Health Check
If your dog suddenly starts doing this, they might suffer from either parasites or a nutrient deficiency. Before addressing this issue as behavioral better go for a check-up at the vet.
5. Positive Reinforcement
Reward your dog whenever they walk away after finishing their business. Give them a treat whenever you pick up their poo.
Like with all training related things, theres no quick fix. The best you can do is to be patient and consistent.