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Dog Eating Poop Problem & Its Cure

Learning why do pet dogs eat poop, what causes a pet dog to eat poop, and best tips to stop poop eating in dogs — answered by Dr. Annie Spencer (a certified Dog Health Expert Veterinarian)

Dog Eating Poop

There is nothing that can be more disgusting for the owner than his dog eating poop. It is such a bad idea that one would not even like to discuss it but, it is important to discuss for the good health of your dog.

People find poop eating so much gross that they end up kicking their dog out of the house or even go for euthanasia to get rid of a dog with such a bad habit.

The poop eating problem can be triggered by behavioral or health issues. If your dog is having a similar problem, no need to go on such extremes. There are many ways to stop your dog from eating poop.

Also read: Why is my dog eating grass?

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Poop eating is a normal habit of dogs that can be initiated due to some behavioral and physical issues. If you have caught your dog eating poop, try to figure out the actual reason behind it.

There can be the following reasons if your dog finds poop tempting.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Many nutritional deficiencies in the dogs urge them to poop eating. The lack of proteins and vitamins take the dog towards poop eating habit. If a dog goes through enzyme deficiency, the dog cannot absorb the food nutrients properly and the food gets passed through without getting digested.

Some dogs have Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency EPI, in which the dogs cannot produce digestive enzymes in their pancreas. As a result, dogs cannot digest food and start starving. Poop eating is a common symptom of EPI.

Diabetes and Thyroid

There are some health problems like diabetes and thyroid in which a dog feels hungry even right after having its food. If the dog does not find anything to eat, it agrees to eat its poop or the stool of some other animal.

Parasites

Parasites are a great problem for pet animals especially dogs. All the nutrients in the food are absorbed by the intestinal parasites and to get more nutrients, a dog starts eating poop. As the parasites mature, the dogs require more nutrients, and this bad habit gets intensified.

Malnutrition

A dog may develop this bad habit if it is not getting enough feed. If you find that your dog is losing weight, getting lethargic, weak, and getting attracted to poop, immediately increase the amount of its feed.

Change the meal schedule. Start feeding the dog more than twice or thrice a day and keep an eye on your dog to find if this trick works or not.

Behavioral Issues

Poop eating can be a result of some kind of behavioral issue. For example;

  • Poop eating is mostly a habit of puppies that they learn from their mothers. The female dogs lick the butt of puppies and eat their poop to clean them. Puppies often develop this habit that stays no longer than 9 months.
  • When the puppies start exploring their surroundings, they investigate everything. Poop eating is also a part of their exploring that can end up sooner.
  • Dogs can start poop eating when they are left alone and have nothing to do. They find poop eating as a new way of entertainment.
  • When the dogs feel ignored, they start eating poop to grab the attention of their owners.
  • Some dogs develop this habit under stress and anxiety. They do it unconsciously and sometimes they get relief from stress.
  • When the dogs are kept in inappropriate and confined places, they develop this bad habit.

Tips to Deal with the Poop Eating Problem

According to Dr. Benjamin Hart, from the University of California, poop eating is in the DNA of dogs and it is a normal act.

Although poop eating is a revolting and filthy habit of dogs, it can be corrected. Consider the following tips and see which one suits you and your dog the best.

Don’t make it a big deal

It is a bad habit but does not make poop eating such a big deal that you end up harming your lovely dog. Never punish your dog for poop eating or go for the extremes like euthanasia. Punishment can make the dog stressed and anxious and it can become stubborn for eating the poop.

Maintain Cleanliness

Keep the dog area as clean as possible. Clean the dog poop right away and keep an eye on your dog if you take it for a walk. Always feed your dog in a clean place, away from where it usually poops. This will help the dog to understand the difference between the odor of food and poop.

If you have cats, keep their litter boxes clean and out of the reach of the dogs. Don’t have enough time to manually scoop cat feces? Invest in any of these best cat self-cleaning or covered litter boxes to prevent your dog from eating cat’s poop.

Best Diet

Feed your dog with the best possible diet that can fulfill all the nutritional needs of the dog. Make sure that your dog is taking enough proteins and vitamins. The dog food often lacks Vitamin –B that can cause a deficiency of Vitamin-B in the dogs. If the dog food is raw, it already contains digestive enzymes to help the dog digest and process food easily. If you use cooked food, you will need to add digestive enzymes in it. We would suggest investing in any of these Best Organic Dog Foods to ensure best health for your dog.

Addition of Supplements

Some dog food might be missing some nutrients that are necessary for the dog. If you find a mineral deficiency, add some sea vegetables like kelp in the dog food. You can give dog multivitamins to your dog if there is a vitamin deficiency.

Hydrochloric acid helps in breaking the proteins and digestion. If there is a deficiency of hydrochloric acid, add apple cider vinegar to the dog food. You can add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 25 pounds of dog food.

Exercise and Games

The dogs are proactive animals. They are sharp and energetic and need some activities to burn this energy. Involve them in exercises and games that keep them engaged and distracted. If you cannot manage to play with your dog, provide them with dog toys that will keep them active, stimulated, and busy.

We recommend investing in cow ears for dogs – a chewy natural treat that satisfies the dog’s psychological needs, his instinctual drive to chew, and also promotes his well being.

Train your dog properly

If your dog has developed this bad habit, you need to spend some time and effort to train your dog not to do so.

For this, you can try the following tricks.

  • Whenever your dog poops, call it for a treat. In this way, whenever the dog will poop, it will run towards you to get a treat, instead of turning towards the poop.
  • Train your dog to dig a small hole in the backyard, poop inside it, and fill the hole again. This activity will keep the dog away from eating poop.
  • Train your dog to learn the commands of ‘leave’. It will help you if you find your dog sniffing the poop on the ground.

Poop eating Deterrent

Dogs find poop smell appealing that’s why they get attracted to it. You can add poop eating deterrents in the dog food or treats. These deterrents contain parsley, garlic, monosodium glutamate, yucca, and pepper-plant derivatives that will make the poop less appealing and the dogs will not find it pleasing anymore.

Final Words

Poop eating is a repulsive habit but does not put all the blame on the dog or start hating it. Your dog might be facing some problems and need your help. Figure out the reason and help your dog to leave this habit as soon as possible.

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Dr. Annie Spencer

Annie Spencer is a certified Dog Health Expert Veterinarian and holds a masters degree in Dog Emotion & Cognition from the Duke University, USA. She owns a private clinic and shares knowledge of her 30+ year experience at PetsBeast.com - helping worldwide people with their queries and recommending them with best dog health care products to purchase.

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