Animals have strange behaviors that are hard to explain or just not normal for humans. This includes domestic animals. One of those strange behaviors that domestic animals may do, specifically dogs, is coprophagia, a scientific term for eating poop. When dogs eat feces, whether on their own or from other animals’ it poses a great danger for them. Eating poop makes them vulnerable to illnesses. They can get many diseases, illnesses, and parasites from those feces. There are several reasons why dogs eat poop, and in this article, we will talk about the probable reasons why dogs do this.
There are three main reasons why dogs eat poop. It could be because of medical, behavioral, or nutritional issues.
When dogs have pancreatitis, intestinal infections, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, they tend to eat poop. Other reasons may be because of overfeeding, especially if the foods given to them are high in fat content. When you first notice that your dog is eating waste, you should immediately contact the vet since coprophagia is one of the causes or signs of these illnesses.
A dog may eat their waste because it wants attention. Attention-seeking behavior is one of the causes of coprophagia. When dogs feel like they are not getting enough attention they want, they may eat poop. When dogs eat poop, the typical reaction of the owner is to try to stop them or scold them. Dogs continue to do this even if there is a negative response from the owner.
Another behavioral reason is mimicry. If your dog comes from a shelter and sees other dogs eating poop, they may mimic their behavior. Or when the owner always cleans up after the dog, they would try to help clean up the poop. BUnforethunatly, the only way they know how to clean them up is by eating them.
If your dog has puppies, then it is her maternal instincts kicking. Mother dogs eat their puppies‘ pop to mask or remove their scent to keep the predators away from their puppies.
Another probable cause is reinforcement behavior. If your dog has already started eating poop and they continue to do this, it may begin to develop a taste for the waste. Since they are getting used to the taste or starting to like it, they would continue to eat poop.
Dogs eat their poop when they do not receive enough nutrients they need or when they have an unbalanced diet. So if you see your dog starting to eat their poop, check what you feed them.
What to do if your dog starts eating poop
- Talk to the vet
Veterinarians are the one who knows about animals’ behavior and medical issues. Contact them so that they can observe your dog and help you stop them from eating its poop.
- Clean up after them
A simpler thing you can do to prevent your dog from eating poop is to clean up after them. The concept is simple. They can’t eat pop if it isn’t there.
- Train them to avoid the waste
The healthiest way to stop them from eating poop is by training them. Teach them the “leave it” command. This may take a long time, patience, and consistency, but this is the best solution to the problem.
- Make their poop unpalatable.
Another thing people do is by making their dog’s poop unpalatable by putting pineapple in their food or sprinkling hot sauce on their poop. However, there are risks if you go this way. Even if they stop eating their own food, when they meet other dogs or animals, they may still eat their poop. And it is more dangerous if they eat other animals’ poop because the risks of getting parasites and illnesses increase. They may get roundworms, hookworms, and toxoplasma gondii if they eat from the cat’s litter.