Dogs certainly have a lot of dirty habits, like rolling around in the dirt and chewing on a week-old bone they hid in that pile of dirt. But of all of these murky pastimes, eating poop is by far the most repulsive, especially when it’s their own!
While witnessing your dog eating its own excrement can be alarming and downright revolting, it is nonetheless a very common concern for many pet owners.
Poop eating is a habit that occurs for various reasons, and it is recognised by its official name, coprophagia. It occurs for both behavioural and physiological reasons, and while you may view it as anything but normal behaviour, to dogs it doesn’t seem anything out of the ordinary.
But, as a human and as an owner, you need to understand the reason behind this – so here’s what you need to know about coprophagia and what to do about it.
Why is my dog eating poop?
Dogs like eating poop
It’s that simple really. They enjoy the taste and smell of it, and because it often has a significant amount of undigested fat in it, it smells good to them.
Some dogs will consume poop because they like the texture of some forms. More so, dogs use their mouths to explore things, just as humans do their hands.
There are times when complex, science-based explanations are key to understanding when dogs eat their own poop, but in other instances, they just simply just like doing it!
They’re copying their mother
Dogs copy the behaviours of their mother, such as the mum licking the new puppies to keep them clean. They may develop this habit from watching their mother clean them to remove diseases and parasites.
Bitches naturally consume their own pup’s faeces to keep the den clean and disease free, and in the wild to stop unwanted attention from potential predators – with both reasons providing a clear survival benefit.
Puppies often follow their mother’s behaviour. Over time, most stop any interest in poop, but that doesn’t always happen.
Hungrier dogs tend to be poop eaters
Dogs that eat poop may not be getting enough nutrients or calories from their diet. That is especially true if the dog eats poop when it is most likely to be hungry.
If the dog is eating poop, it could also signal that the dog’s not eating when it is hungry. That is, if the dog isn’t being fed on a routine, and it gets hungry mid-day, it may resort to eating its own excrement!
Boredom, stress, or anxiety
Just like with humans, dogs get bored or become anxious, and such experiences can cause your dog to react strangely – such as poop eating! There are also occasions when dogs are just bored and seeking something to do.
When your dog has plentiful physical or mental stimulation, they are far less likely to engage in this type of behaviour!
Isolation or confinement
Dogs in confinement or isolation are more likely to eat poop than those that are not and aspects of this can tie in with our previous point.
Isolation or confinement can lead to stress, boredom and anxiety. Furthermore, if a dog is confined in close quarters, the ease of access and simple lack of knowing any better can lead to them consuming their own faeces.
Inappropriate or confused association with real food
Some dogs may eat poop simply as a mechanism for coping with hunger, or may simply confuse their refuse with actual food.
If the poop is close to their food, it may be hard for your dog to know the difference, leading to a higher risk of them eating it.
How can I stop my dog from eating poop?
There are several steps you can take to prevent your pooch from snacking on poop:
- Improve vitamin access: Providing dogs with vitamin supplementation can help your dog to overcome a Vitamin B deficiency, a possible cause of dogs eating poop.
- Utilise enzyme supplementation: Look for enzyme supplements that contain papain, which is a helpful tool for improving digestion. This is crucial since most modern dogs have a higher carb-based diet than their ancestors.
- Use taste-aversion products: Such products make the poop bad tasting because sometimes the best way to stop dogs from eating poop is to make it less appealing for them to do so!
There is, however, one solution that we stand firmly behind – VetIQ Stool Repel!
Stop your dog eating poop for good with VetIQ Stool Repel
VetIQ Stool Repel tablets have been specially formulated to help deter this behaviour by making the dog’s own stool unpalatable to eat.
Stool Repel also contains an enzyme which breaks down starches, improving the animal’s digestive performance and also functions within the intestine by making your dog’s stool less tasty.
So, try out Stool Repel today and discover an effective yet pet-friendly way to ensure your dog never eats its own poop again. VetIQ will always strive to be your trusted source for supporting your pet’s long-term health and well-being, so make sure to also check out our blog for more news and pet-related advice!