Why do Dogs Eat Poop? How to Stop a Dog From Eating Poop

So, yes, your dog eating poop is a fairly common problem in dogs, so today, I’m going to dedicate this post to that problem. The company of a pet is extremely satisfying, but it is not free from problems such as the ingestion of excrement.

When this happens, for many adopters, it isn’t easy to understand why the dog is behaving this way. This is known as coprophagia; although not many people know about it, it is a tendency to eat the feces of other animals, such as cats.

However, although there are no contraindications regarding the consumption of feces, the health problems that can cause the dog to feed on feces must be known.

What is Coprophagia?

Eating your feces or those of other animals is called coprophagia. This behavior is closely linked to the survival instinct in the animal world, particularly the canine species.

If the dog strays and has little food available, but even if malnourished, driven by a desire to survive, the dog will certainly not be a picky eater and will eat other people’s feces, such as cow feces or horse, rich in undigested fiber.

This behavior will allow you to fill in the nutritional gaps you need. But that’s not all. Beyond instinct, the cause of coprophagia can be sought in the following ways:

  • Dogs with health issues.
  • A bored dog.
  • You are going through a state of anxiety. For example, you can eat feces to keep the house or kennel clean, in the case of female dogs that have recently given birth.

Why is My Dog ​Eating Cat Poop?

Dogs often feed on cat feces for a variety of reasons. Although it is not common to observe a well-fed dog doing this practice, it is a behavior that can develop for different causes:

The Dog is Curious

Although the main reason why a dog has this behavior is not known for certain, in some cases, it can only be due to a curious intention. Dogs communicate with the world through their mouths, which is why they carry sticks and chew on toys and even bones.

Dogs tend to be attracted to things with really strong smells, and cat poop is on the list of strong smells. Although it may seem strange, your dog’s feces consumption only causes him to examine an object that interests him.

They are Confused Puppies.

  • Puppy-stage dogs often consume their feces during grooming training.
  • This happens because they don’t know where they should relieve themselves.
  • Therefore, they consume their poop when nervous and want to suppress the evidence.
  • This type of behavior is also common in adult dogs when defecating indoors.
  • Female dogs tend to eat their puppies’ feces constantly, but this is done to clean them up.
  • It is a natural method the mother applies to prevent predators from finding her young in a state of vulnerability.

There are diet differences.

One of the most common situations in which a dog is led to consuming feces is due to a deficiency in its diet. Feces from herbivorous animals can provide excellent nutrients and vitamins that may not be part of your dog’s diet.

Cat food is usually high in protein so cat feces can appeal to your dog. This behavior must be stopped in time, as cat feces can become toxic to a dog.

Other Factors

  • A clinical and pathological problem, such as impaired pancreatic function, intestinal infections, and malabsorption syndrome.
  • In such situations, coprophagia is accompanied by diarrhea: it is recommended to contact your trusted veterinarian to subject the dog to the necessary specific tests.
  • However, the most frequent cause is of behavioral origin, except when the dog ingests the excrement of other animals since they contain residues that are not completely digested and particularly appetizing.
  • Coprophagia is the manifestation of discomfort: stress, anxiety or boredom.

Inattention or adoptive errors that cause coprophagia

These are a few oversights or errors constantly repeated by the same adopters, which favor or induce the pathology:

  • An incorrect educational process: the dog is exasperated. He is afraid of pooping in the wrong place and tries not to provide for himself in the house for fear of evoking reactions from his adopter.
  • Lack of attention in the dog: The dog uses this method to attract the attention of its “distracted” and inattentive master.
  • Deprivation, i.e., lack of stimulation: Occurs due to social isolation or deprivation of experience. Boredom and apathy cause dogs to eat their feces.

This behavior is often seen in dogs that have spent long periods in kennels or have lived in crowded environments and confined places.

Are there cases where coprophagia is physiological and not pathological?

Coprophagia is physiological in certain circumstances. For example, as mentioned earlier, it is the females who have given birth and eat the droppings of the pups to keep the burrow clean.

The puppy, in turn, learns this attitude by observing its mother and imitating it. This is a behavior that tends to disappear completely with age. Dogs in the wild may skip meals, even for several days.

Unfortunately, some abandoned dogs cannot feed themselves and, to eat something, manage to feed on their excrement or other animals. In these cases, the dogs “recycle” the leftover undigested food in the feces.

How to Stop a Dog From Eating Poop?

When your dog becomes a fan of eating feces and is looking for ways to stop it, there are several options you can try to achieve this. Trying all these options and observing your pet’s behavior can help you accomplish the task. However, if the dog is very young or too old and has gastrointestinal problems, it is best to consult a veterinarian first.

Use the Pineapple Method

  • Although there is no evidence to support this method, some claim that coprophagia can be prevented by eating pineapple.
  • You can put pineapple chunks in your cat’s food.
  • The secret is that later the excrement will be too unpleasant, with an acidic or bitter taste that will deter the dog from eating it.

Zucchini Method

Another proven method that has several fans is the use of zucchini. You can place small pieces in your dog’s or cat’s food. The answer will be the same as the pineapple method, making them less appetizing.

Other Measures

Some measures that you can apply as an adopter to prevent the dog from consuming the excrement of other animals are the following:

  • You should restrict any access to feces, i.e., if you have a cat at home, it should relieve itself away from the dog.
  • When the dog approaches the feces but ignores them, it is advisable to reward it with a healthy snack.
  • Help the dog occupy his mouth with other tasks. The good idea is to provide him with toys to chew on and increase quality time with the animal.
  • Increasing the amount of food the dog eats does not mean that their food intake is increased, but it does mean that you can add dog treats that keep them full and not hungry.
  • In the most extreme cases, you can consult a veterinarian about the possibility of using a basket-type muzzle on the dog while walking. Still, it is essential never to leave the dog alone.
  • Seek professional help to combat coprophagia.

Diseases and risks for a dog that eats cat feces

Without necessarily going into detail, feces are a source of germs and bacteria because they are the waste expelled by an organism.

Therefore, some dogs’ “strange” habit leads to considerable health risks and consequent behavioral problems.

The risks of cat litter boxes

This is the big problem dogs and cats living together. First, think that the cat’s feces are deposited and hidden under the litter box. These can be made of silicone, clay, bentonite, and agglomerate and have different scents intended to mask bad smells.

If ingested, all these components can affect the dog’s digestive system (gastritis, intestinal obstructions) and cause pathologies of bacterial or parasitic origin, such as salmonella, which is transmissible to humans. In the long term, eating the feces of other animals can lead to ingesting. 

Harmful Parasites or Contracting Viral Diseases.

To avoid these unpleasant consequences and if coprophagia is a difficult habit to break, you can use some of the abovementioned options.

Treatment of Canine Coprophagia

Depending on the causes that caused this behavior in the dog, different solutions can be found to treat the problem. In the case of any health alteration, a veterinarian must put in place an adequate treatment to treat this disease or pathology. Otherwise, coprophagia can also be a behavioral problem.

In this regard, various recommendations can help.

  • It is recommended to perform extreme cleaning where the cats live. By keeping this area clean, it is possible to prevent the dog from consuming the feline’s feces.
  • Punishments are not correct techniques to help the dog stop consuming its excrement or that of other animals. Indeed, the dog can feel embarrassed in case of relieving himself in the wrong environment, so he eats them so as not to leave traces.
  • In some cases, veterinarians may recommend a diet of foods responsible for making the taste and smell of feces completely repellent.

It is important to note that if you have cats or dogs in your family, there may be a chance of including some of the foods that help make stools strong in your cat’s diet in a way that can help the dog that does not. Don’t be attracted to them.

This pathology is very serious and can seriously affect a dog’s health. As I mentioned, consumed feces can be loaded with parasites, fungi, and bacteria.

Therefore, he can be affected by major stomach problems being a minor or major case. Correcting this behavior over time can be complex, but success depends on a dog’s personality type. To obtain better results, the best and most practical will always be to consult specialist doctors.

Conclusion

The muzzle can be one of the most effective methods to prevent the dog from consuming cat feces or itself, but this behavior can also be treated with the help of good training, such as saying “no” firmly when you approach your roommate’s litter box.

Surely if the dog is well-fed, cat poop is unlikely to catch your eye. For this reason, if you live with dogs and cats, be aware that the dog will not start consuming feces just because they live together, but it may be due to a nutritional deficit in the canine diet.

FAQ

Why does My Dog Eat Poop

The dog eats its poop to entertain itself because it lacks environmental stimuli. Avoid being scolded: If puppies are scolded when they defecate at home, they often ingest their feces as soon as they are produced to make them “disappear” from the sight of their humans.

Why do Dogs Eat Cat Poop?

Herbivore feces can provide vitamins that are not part of your dog‘s diet. Cat food is high in protein, so that that cat feces may be attractive to your dog.

Why do Dogs Eat Rabbit Poop?

In the case of canids, both dogs and other species, it is common for them to eat the excrement of others of the same species or other animals. They may like it as it still contains certain nutrients, smells, and flavors, which are attractive to them because they are necessary.

Why do Dogs Eat Grass and Poop?

It is believed that this plant matter may have a nutritional value for canids or may even be essential due to the fiber it provides. Some veterinarians suggest that dogs eat grass for a certain supply of nutrients and fiber, just as their wolf ancestors did.

How to Stop a Dog from Eating Poop?

One way to prevent your dog from eating feces is to alter the taste of the stool. And this is achieved naturally by eating pumpkin or pineapple or putting something spicy on them. Or some products like For-Bid produce a bad taste in your dog’s feces.

How to Stop Dog from Eating Poop Home Remedies?

1.- A good education.
2.- Dedicate more time to it.
3.- Use vinegar or citrus fruits on the feces to prevent them from approaching.
4.- Follow a correct diet.
5.- Do veterinary reviews.
6.- Keep the house clean.
7.- Offer him pieces of pineapple or zucchini as prizes.

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