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Eating their own or other dogs’ faeces (called coprophagia) is an unpleasant but common problem with pet dogs, especially puppies. Contrary to widely held belief it doesn’t indicate a dietary deficiency, though there are some causes that can be corrected.

When a litter of puppies are very young, mum will lick them around the back end to encourage toileting, and ingest their faeces during the process. The most effective way of going about this is to physically prevent the dog eating faeces; primarily being prompt about picking up any mess as soon as it’s produced. As above, if you dog is eating another animals’ faeces, use the distraction technique to encourage them away for a tasty treat or play with a toy.

Dogs are no stranger to eating their own poop, though this behavior never fails to be disgusting and mildly concerning — especially when your pup continues doing it well into adulthood. Many pet parents have found themselves wondering why their dog is eating poop, and have been unable to find a solution. Fortunately, though there are several ways to curb this fecal fondness — you just have to be patient and have a strong stomach.

Whatever you call it, so-called “normal” coprophagia happens for a variety of reasons: For mother dogs, eating their puppies’ poop is a way to keep the “den” clean. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs who eat their own poop may have a parasite, either in their intestinal tracts, liver, or brain. Signs of weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or other behavioral changes that accompany the coprophagia should be answered with an immediate trip to the vet. According to the AKC, one of the best ways to stop your dog from eating poop is to ensure that their area is free and clear of temptation at all times.

Of all the repulsive habits our dogs have—drinking from the toilet, rolling in swamp muck, licking their butts— nothing disgusts most owners more than pondering why dogs eat poop. Their motivation may not be to gross us humans out, but it certainly does. So much so, in fact, that poop eating is often a reason people try to rehome a dog or even opt for euthanasia.

In a 2012 study presented at the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior annual conference, researchers led by Dr. Benjamin Hart, from the University of California, Davis, found that: Hart wrote, “Our conclusion is that eating of fresh stools is a reflection of an innate predisposition of ancestral canids living in nature that protects pack members from intestinal parasites present in feces that could occasionally be dropped in the den/rest area.” Translation: It’s in a dog’s DNA to eat poop. Dogs evolved as scavengers, eating whatever they found on the ground or in the trash heap, so their ideas of haute cuisine are somewhat different from ours. For some species, such as rabbits, eating fecal droppings is a totally normal way of obtaining key nutrients. Mother dogs will lick their puppies to urge them to eliminate, and clean up their feces by eating it, for about the first three weeks after birth. One bizarre fact: Dogs will rarely eat soft, poorly formed stools or diarrhea. If your adult dog starts to dine on dung, you should consult with your vet to rule out health problems like: Parasites Diets deficient in nutrients and calories (your vet may suggest supplements ) Malabsorption syndromes Diabetes, Cu shing’s , thyroid disease, and other conditions that might cause an increase in appetite Drugs, such as steroids In many cases, dogs start to eat their own poop because of some kind of environmental stress or behavioral triggers, including: Taste-aversion products: The theory is that certain tastes and smells are as disgusting to dogs as the idea of stool eating is to us, so adding a poop-eating deterrent to food or treats will make the poop that’s being produced less appealing. Work hard on the commands “ leave it ” and “ come .” One simple exercise is to teach your dog to come to you for a food treat as soon as he has eliminated. That way, the dog will develop a habit to run to you for a tasty tidbit, instead of reaching for the revolting one on the ground.

Ah, yes. Coprophagia. Otherwise known as the act of eating feces, whether its one’s own or another creature’s. It’s common, it’s gross, and it can be harmful to dogs. So why do dogs eat poop?

According to the AKC , “Eating their own poop is harmless, but consuming that of other animals may cause health problems if the stool is contaminated with parasites, viruses, or toxins.” Symptom of disease or illness – Pica is a condition that drives dogs (and people) to eat non-food items like hair, drywall, dirt and stones, paper, stool, and more. If your dog’s poop-eating behavior has suddenly started, our experts recommend giving your veterinarian a call. Boredom or isolation – Puppies and dogs left unsupervised or alone for long periods may simply investigate, play with, and eat feces. “Consider adding some extra challenge to your dog’s life in the form of environmental enrichment and increased physical activity,” says Just Right Behaviorist Dr. Annie Valuska. A study conducted by Dr. Hart from the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of California, Davis found that: It can be tempting to leave poop in the yard (especially on cold days when the last thing you want to do is go pick it up), but this gives your dog the opportunity to chow down on his backyard deposits. It will take some gentle, consistent guidance, but we have all the confidence in the world that you’ll be able to help your dog stop eating poop. A great place to start is by making sure your dog’s diet is a complete and balanced blend of food that’s tailored for their nutritional needs and preferences.

How To Stop Puppies Eating Poo

Eating their own or other dogs’ faeces (called coprophagia) is an unpleasant but common problem with pet dogs, especially puppies. Contrary to widely held belief it doesn’t indicate a dietary deficiency, though there are some causes that can be corrected.

They’re just copying mum…

When a litter of puppies are very young, mum will lick them around the back end to encourage toileting, and ingest their faeces during the process. This serves a dual purpose in the wild as it helps to keep the den clean and prevent predators being attracted by the smell. This normally stops around the time the puppies start weaning but some puppies will pick up the behaviour and copy mum. It’s very important that faeces is cleaned up promptly in the first few months of life to prevent puppies having the opportunity to eat it.

Try changing their food…

If your puppy persists eating his or her faeces as they grow, it’s worth considering their diet. If a poor quality diet is being fed it may be that it contains a high proportion of non-digestible material. This can make the faeces smell and taste very similar to the food going in; switching to a higher quality food with a greater digestibility may help. Consider also the amount being fed – puppies grow quickly and often burn a lot of energy running around and exploring. Make sure you’re providing sufficient food to match these requirements, especially in large breed dogs. If in doubt, your veterinary practice can advise you.

Attention seeking…

Both puppies and adult dogs may eat faeces for attention, as it often provokes a dramatic response when done in front of their owners. Although it may be difficult, try not to over-react.Accompany your dog to toilet, on the lead if necessary. When they have finished encourage them to move away from the poo – distract them away with a tasty treat or toy. Do not worry about picking up the poo immediately as you do not want to build up any desire for your dog to “get to it before you do”. If there is someone else with you, ask them to pick up the poo once your dog is distracted, or if you are at home or alone on a walk with your dog, scatter some treats on the floor or hide a toy for them to find whilst you go back and pick it up.Similarly, older dogs can suddenly start eating faeces due to stress. Consider the household and routine; could anything have changed to upset your dog? Try and add in some extra walks and one-on-one time.

Here’s Why Your Dog Is Eating Poop, and How to Curb this Behavior

May. 3 2021, Published 3:56 p.m. ETDogs are no stranger to eating their own poop, though this behavior never fails to be disgusting and mildly concerning — especially when your pup continues doing it well into adulthood. Many pet parents have found themselves wondering why their dog is eating poop, and have been unable to find a solution. Fortunately, though there are several ways to curb this fecal fondness — you just have to be patient and have a strong stomach.

Why do dogs eat poop?

According toWhatever you call it, so-called “normal” coprophagia happens for a variety of reasons: For mother dogs, eating their puppies’ poop is a way to keep the “den” clean. When it comes to eating the poop of other animals, like cats or horses, dogs do it because… it tastes good to them. It sounds like a stretch, but according to

Why do dogs eat their own poop?

When dogs start eating their own poop, the reasons could be a sign of abnormal or worrying behavior. Some dogs eat poop when they are young because they think it’s a game, though most dogs grow out of it.Dogs might eat poop because they are anxious — either from being separated or from being confined in a crate. Without toys or other enrichment opportunities, dogs may just wind up finding another, far more disgusting way to occupy themselves. If your dog is commonly yelled at for pooping in the house, eating their poop could be a way of getting rid of the evidence. No poop means no yelling.

Should I worry if my dog is eating poop?

Coprophagia could be harmless or behavioral, but it might also be a sign of some underlying health conditions in adult dogs. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs who eat their own poop may have a parasite, either in their intestinal tracts, liver, or brain. Their body might not be absorbing all the necessary nutrients, so they are going back for a second chance at anything their digestive system might have missed.Signs of weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or other behavioral changes that accompany the coprophagia should be answered with an immediate trip to the vet. They will likely check for nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal diseases, parasites, or underlying medical conditions like diabetes.

Poop Eating Is Normal for Dogs and Puppies

For some species, such as rabbits, eating fecal droppings is a totally normal way of obtaining key nutrients. In fact, if you prevent rabbits from doing this, they will develop health problems, and young ones will fail to thrive. Fortunately, dogs do not need to get nutrition this way. It is, however, a normal, natural behavior at some canine life stages. Mother dogs will lick their puppies to urge them to eliminate, and clean up their feces by eating it, for about the first three weeks after birth. Puppies will also naturally engage in this behavior, eating both their own poop (

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

When it occurs in puppies, coprophagia is generally considered part of the process of exploring the world around them. Most puppies will be satisfied with a sniff, but a few will want—like human children—to put everything in their mouths. One bizarre fact: Dogs will rarely eat soft, poorly formed stools or diarrhea. They appear to be attracted most to hard stools. Frozen poop, in particular, is gulped down with relish! (There is a reason why dog owners have coined the term “poopsicle.”) In his study, Hart made some other observations about why dogs eat poop:

The Scoop on Eating Poop

Ah, yes. Coprophagia. Otherwise known as the act of eating feces, whether its one’s own or another creature’s. It’s common, it’s gross, and it can be harmful to dogs. So why do dogs eat poop?Believe it or not, the jury’s still out on what drives dogs to eat stool. However, there is an endless number of theories as to why your dog might be doing it:Do you think boredom or attention-seeking is to blame for your dog’s coprophagy?“Consider adding some extra challenge to your dog’s life in the form of environmental enrichment and increased physical activity,” says Just Right Behaviorist Dr. Annie Valuska. “This could not only significantly reduce the unwanted behavior but strengthen the bond between you and your dog as well!”