Help - my Dog Eats Poop!

By Ian Westynn

This is one of those underground subjects that everybody sort of knows about and ignores. It just is not a "conversational" topic. As humans, we just cannot accept the practice of faecal eating. All sorts of imagery pops up. In fact, you are doing it yourself right now. And you are wondering if you can even finish reading this article. You have already been through the worse, might as well keep going now. It is all in the spirit to keep your dog healthy, right?

Coprophagy Or Coprophagia


Coprophagia is the technical term for the action of eating faecal matter. In the case of dogs, it can mean their own, or any other animals, including other dogs in the household. There would appear that there is a reason for this behaviour. In fact, nobody has come up with a conclusive reason as to why dogs do it. Some believe that it is because of the dog lacking something in their diet. But if you think about this for a moment, faecal matter is comprised of non-essential "stuff" that the body could either not digest or not use. It is in all sense of the term "waste" product. So, to eat it does not make any sense really, does it? This isn't to say that a quality food should not be used to make sure that your dog is getting the right nutrition.

It is an unpleasant behaviour in your pet. But it is not by any means fatal. Of course there are side effects that go along with your dog eating faecal matter. It goes without saying that the dog's breath is horrendous and it is going to require you doing more doggie dental care to keep your dog healthy. There are also certain intestinal or internal parasites your dog can catch from practicing coprophagy. These parasites are even worse when your dog is eating other animals faeces.

One of the worst offenders are cats. A lot of families have both cats and dogs in their homes as pets. That makes cat's faeces readily available to dogs inside of the home. Just a quick trip to the little box, and dog is in faecal heaven. Nobody can exactly explain why, but cat faeces seems to be a favourite amongst dogs. If you do have both in the house, to help keep your dog healthy, find a way to separate the litter box in an area of the house that the dog can't get to. If you have a bigger dog, maybe installing an internal little doggie door to the area so that the cat can go through, but the dog cannot fit through it. The best method is to buy one of those cat litter boxes that do self-cleaning after every use. That way if it is even out in the open, your dog does not have access to it. Yes, they are expensive, but then so is a vet bill and meds for your dog.

Some Ways To Try To Eliminate Coprophagy


There are some things you can do to try and curb or stop altogether your dog from eating on the "snacks" of other animal's rear ends. Below are some things you can try that have been stated to work. But there is really only one absolute way to put a stop to this behaviour. It is time consuming and even laborious, but an absolute positive way to stop this behaviour is to constantly get rid of the poop as soon as it "arrives" in the lawn, in the cat box, or wherever. It is an obvious thing, but if it is not present to feed upon, the dog cannot eat it. As promised, below is a list of possible solutions if eliminating the substance does not seem doable to you.

Supervision.


This is as time consuming as cleaning it up at first, but this option you might be able to stop doing after a certain time period where cleaning it up is constant. Just like training the dog on what to chew and what not to chew, you will have to supervise the dogs activity and every time the dog goes in for a "snack" either make a loud noise or shout a stern "No" and immediately give the dog something alternative to put into their mouth. Give them a toy, a chew toy, a raw hide, or a chew bone. This can, over time, re-wire the dog's mind into thinking to chew on the alternative versus the faecal matter every time that urge comes up.

Flavour the poop.


There are certain food items and additives that, after digestive processing, makes the poop taste bad. I know you are currently thinking, "what, it doesn't taste bad to begin with?" I cannot honestly answer that question, and hope that I never will be able to. But you do have to keep a perspective in mind. Dogs have no problem chewing on rotting road kill that has been in the hot sun for days. I cannot imagine faecal matter can taste any worse than that, right? So it is rumoured that pineapple makes faecal matter taste bad to dogs. You can either pour pineapple juice over the dog food, or try mixing some chunks of pineapple in the food. I believe the fresher, the better. Dogs like the sweet flavour, but apparently some chemical reaction happens during digestion that changes that completely at the other end.

Try a product.


There are some products you can get from either your vet or at a pet store that are supposed to eliminate the behaviour as well. I am not sure how they work, I would assume they work something similar to the pineapple theory above, rendering the faecal matter tasting bad to the dogs. I cannot recommend any particular brand name, as I have not used any. But I am sure your vet or maybe a friend or family member could give you some idea which ones work and they have had success with.

Summation


Dogs often are found eating the faecal matter of themselves, or other animals. The technical term for this behaviour is called, "coprophagy" or "coprophagia". Despite rumours and suggestions that the dogs eat the matter because they are missing something from their diet, there is no proof to support it. The reason dogs do it is currently unknown, and anything used for the reasoning at this time should be taken as pure speculation. Cat faeces is a personal favourite amongst dogs. If you have both dogs and cats in the house, try to take care to separate the litter box from the dogs so that they do not have access to an instant buffet. The only true way to stop the behaviour is to eliminate any faecal matter by picking it up as soon as it is dropped. You can also try to train the dog to no longer eat faecal matter. There are other ways that have been stated to work, although I personally have no evidence to back them up. The other ways require you to feed the dog something with their food that will make the faecal matter no longer tasteful to the dog. Pineapple is rumoured to be one of the best deterrents. Another method is to purchase a product made specifically for this from your vet or from a pet store. Eating faecal matter is not deadly to the dog, but can create health issues, especially internal parasites. Stopping the faecal eating not only seems "practical" (no kisses for me thanks) but also helps you to keep your dog healthy and happy.

About The Author

Ian Westynn considers himself a Renaissance man who likes to speak on many subjects. He loves to learn new things daily and has just recently found an outlet as being a web author. The above article can be used freely as long as this resource box is with the article. Ian has created a blog too, you can visit it by going to http://keepyourdoghealthy.wordpress.com. Ian often recommends products, and for this article, he recommends Dog Health a great overall guide to keep your dog healthy at home.