Why do dogs eat poop?

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The coprophagia or the ingestion of feces, whether their own or from other animals, is common both in dogs and in other species and, although it is a common behavior, it usually creates rejection by the caregiver. In addition, you should know that if your dog eats feces, he is exposed to various health problems that can promote the appearance of bacteria or parasites in the intestine, among many other problems. It is not only a behavior that we dislike, it can also bring serious consequences for your health.

If what you want is to definitively solve this problem, keep reading this AnimalWised article to know why do dogs eat poop, the most common causes and the solution to apply to correct this behavior once and for all. In some cases, a visit to the vet may be necessary.

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  1. My dog ​​eats poop, is it normal?
  2. Why do dogs eat poop?
  3. Puppy eating his feces: causes
  4. My dog ​​eats the feces of her puppies, is it normal?
  5. How to prevent my dog ​​from eating poop?

My dog ​​eats poop, is it normal?

Coprophagia is a habitual behavior carried out by many canids, including wild wolves, however, is something that many first-time owners are unaware of. Although it is a behavior that we dislike, we must understand that on some occasions it is totally normal and acceptable, as occurs in lactating bitches, who ingest their puppies' feces to keep the nest clean. Likewise, in other situations, it will not be considered normal behavior and that is when we must act.

But, ¿how to know whether or not this behavior should be repressed? And the most important, ¿how to prevent a dog from eating feces? The first thing we must do is know the causes more common that explain the appearance of coprophagia, rule out an organic problem by visiting our trusted veterinarian and, finally, if we cannot solve it ourselves, go to a behavior modification specialist, such as an ethologist, canine educator or trainer.

Why do dogs eat poop?

In order to really determine the cause of this behavior, it will be essential to pay attention to several factors, such as animal welfare, the hours spent alone, their health and when do you swallow stool. If you do it in your absence, it may be advisable place a camera to observe their behavior and thus determine the real cause of the problem.

Here is a list of the main causes that explain why dogs eat their feces, those of other household dogs, and even the feces of other animals. All these causes are thought to explain this behavior in adult dogs, in puppies and lactating bitches, we justify it in the following sections.

For illnesses and health problems

Some pathologies can cause adult dogs to ingest their own or third party feces. The behavior may be caused by the intestinal malabsorption syndrome or by the exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, among other problems. It is important to note that before considering that this behavior is due to a behavioral problem, we must rule out organic causes by visiting the veterinarian. We can know that we are facing a health problem if we observe problems digesting food (flatulence, vomiting or diarrhea).

Due to poor nutrition

Sometimes it can also be caused by a poor quality food, as a feed with a percentage of cereals too high. Remember that in order to properly digest cereals, the body needs an enzyme called amylase, which is responsible for assimilating the starch in this food, however, the dog does not produce a large amount, so it is not able to digest a high amount percentage of cereals. For this reason, if the dog eats feces, it finds the necessary enzymes and trace elements to be able to synthesize amylase from its diet. Do not forget that, in addition, a high percentage of cereals leads to obesity and causes our dog to suffer from behavioral problems related to hyperactivity, as well as an excess of sugar and cortisol in the blood.

For call the atention

Although it may seem strange, it is one of the most common causes that explain why dogs eat "poop". The lack of socialization with its caregivers, especially if a situation of subsequent punishment occurs, can explain this behavior: the dog eats feces with the sole objective of being paid attention, even if a punishment occurs later. It can occur inside the home or when we visit a pee-dog and ignore the dog.

For lack of stimulation and loneliness

If your dog spends many hours it is only likely that out of boredom and loneliness decide to eat your own feces. Ask yourself if you spend enough time with him or if his environment is adequately enriched (he has toys and stimuli) and if not, take action on it. Remember that a dog should not spend more than 6 or 8 hours alone at home and that it should go for a walk at least twice a day. Likewise, you must also socialize, play and practice physical exercise.

For use of punishment by the owner

If we use punishment regularly with our dog when he defecates at home or we bring his muzzle to the feces by scolding him, the dog can eat them to avoid our anger. It is a very negative situation for the dog that, in addition, weakens our bond with him, so we must completely avoid punishment in these situations.

For stress and anxiety

If you have observed any of the 10 signs of stress in the dog, you may need to review the situation of your dog in relation to the hours of solitude, physical activity, confinement, other behavioral problems or excessive use of punishment. Anxiety and stress often lead to various behavioral problems, including coprophagia.

Due to lack of hygiene at home

If your dog is especially clean, he may decide to eat his own feces in order to prevent his habitat from being dirty. Ask yourself if you take enough walks with him and if not, start modifying your walking habits to prevent him from pooping at home. Spend time cleaning the house and garden on a regular basis.

Dogs that eat feces from other animals

It is common for dogs to ingest feces from other animals such as: cats, rabbits, rats or horses among many others. For them, the feces of other individuals they can be especially appetizing and tasty. However, while horse feces do not usually cause digestive disorders, cat feces can be harmful, as it is considered a form of contagion of some pathologies and parasites..

Other problems that cause your dog to eat his poop

There are many problems that, directly or indirectly, cause the ingestion of feces. For this reason, if you have not been able to identify the cause of this behavior in your dog, it might be interesting to visit a veterinarian specialized in ethology..

Puppy eating his feces: causes

¿Is it normal for a puppy to eat his poop? There are many puppy dogs that carry out this behavior and it is usually due to a age-appropriate exploratory behavior which usually subsides over time. In these cases, we can observe that they ingest their own feces or those of other animals.

It is also common in puppies found in very impoverished environments (lack of toys, loneliness or abandonment, deficient stimuli ...) and in puppies that have passed their stage of socialization in pet stores or away from their mother and siblings. We must consider this behavior abnormal after three or four months.

My dog ​​eats the feces of her puppies, is it normal?

Once again, this is totally normal behavior. Lactating females ingest the feces of their cubs to keep the nest clean And it is not something bad or negative that we should avoid. Although we can help her to keep the area clean, it is advisable to let her manifest this behavior so as not to cause stressful situations for her. Remember that, especially in the first stages of life of the little ones, excessive manipulation of the little ones and the nest can cause rejection towards the little ones and even high levels of stress.

If you have already managed to identify the cause that explains why your dog eats feces, keep reading, we will give you some tips and tricks so that you can start working to solve this problem.

How to prevent my dog ​​from eating poop?

Before showing you the possible solutions to this behavior problem, it will be essential to highlight that there is no single, foolproof treatment, Because each case is unique and the guidelines to follow must be adapted to the specific dog and the causes that are causing it. Precisely for this reason, a visit to a veterinarian (to rule out organic causes), ethologist or canine educator may be so necessary to work this problem properly..

As we have seen in previous sections, why a dog eats the feces of another dog or its own is not the same as why a dog eats cat poop. Anyway, if your dog eats feces we show the solution for each case.

¿How to prevent a dog from eating poop or excrement? - 8 tips

Here is a small list of useful information that can help you remedy this behavior and fix this problem once and for all. Take note and apply the tricks that we show you below to prevent your dog from eating poop:

  1. Prevents him from eating feces supervising him regularly (especially if he is a puppy), cleaning with enzymatic products and teaching your dog to urinate and defecate outside the home. Remember that it is a self-reinforcing behavior, that is, when eating feces the dog "rewards " itself, so the more feces it can eat, the worse the case will evolve.. ¡Prevent you from having access to them!
  2. Check your dog's diet to ensure that the percentage of cereals is low and the percentage of protein is high If you think that it is a low quality product, do not hesitate to bet on some of the best natural feed on the market, since they are the most advisable, or start a new style of nutrition with your veterinarian, such as the barf diet. for dogs.
  3. More walks, exercise and wellness. Especially if you think that your dog suffers from a behavior problem or has a lot of accumulated stress, it will be interesting to take more walks, between two and three a day, as well as dedicate a few hours to different games: going to look for an object, intelligence games, smell ... All of this will help them to distract themselves and improve their well-being, essential to treat the problem and prevent your dog from eating their feces or those of others.
  4. Avoid punishment, because the dog may be associating the punishment with a response to the attention that he demands or he may eat feces to avoid precisely the punishment before your arrival at home. In any case, it is preferable to take all the necessary measures to prevent it from ingesting feces than to punish it, as we will also be generating extra stress and anxiety in the animal, thus aggravating the condition. Finally, it should be noted that the punishment (understood only as a "No ") is only effective when it is applied right at the moment of the action, not after. Although the dog shows you signs of submission, he is not being aware of his misbehavior, but adopts this position so that you end the punishment.
  5. Keep your area clean. Obviously, hygiene will not only help solve this problem but will also make it less prone to suffering from some type of disease or infection. The hygiene of your space, in the feeder and drinker or in your bed is essential for the life of any pet. Remember to use enzymatic products and completely avoid the use of bleach or ammonia.
  6. Offer pineapple or zucchini treats. Pineapple and zucchini are excellent foods that are also popular with many dogs. Instead of applying positive reinforcement with regular treats, try offering these foods. If you accept them, they will cause the taste of your own stool to be altered and it is common for them to stop eating the stool..
  7. Improve home enrichment leaving various toys within reach, such as the classic kong, balls, teethers or dental bones. In addition, we can create a relaxed atmosphere with music, lights and other elements so that you do not feel so alone and start showing this behavior out of boredom..
  8. Divide your daily ration of food in several doses so that you feel more satiated and for longer, in this way you will avoid the feeling of hunger, which favors the appearance of coprophagia.

Remember that ingesting feces, both yours and other pets (dogs and cats) or animals is a dangerous, unhealthy practice that entails risk to your dog's health. This behavior can be the cause of a disease or disorder of the animal itself. Avoid this behavior at all costs by spending time with your dog and going to the vet or canine specialist if you cannot find a solution.

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