Why Do Dogs Eat Poop? PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop? Some dogs are known for their unusual penchant for eating poop. In general, they do not limit the consumption of feces to what they themselves produce but also eat those of other animals, including cats and horses. Many dog owners may wonder why their dogs partake in this strange habit.

This habit is known as coprophagia and was thought to be caused by dietary insufficiency which causes the dog to eat the excrement as a way of obtaining whatever nutrient was lacking. More current research has suggested that the original theory is grossly inaccurate. Behavioral specialists have deduced that the act is not performed because of a deficiency but instead is linked to their instinctive nature as scavengers.

This type of behavior is more pronounced in mother dog's who will lick their puppies' behinds to let them learn to urinate and defecate on their own. This produces a tickle like sensation that prompts the puppies to release their waste. This serves a very useful purpose and helps the puppies to develop properly. The mother will also eat the feces that fall from her puppies to promote cleanliness and prevent attacks by predators who may be attracted by the scent. It is believed that puppies will pick up this pattern from their mothers but eventually grow out of it once they are weaned.

However, the reason for adult dogs doing this is less straight forward. It has been suggested that they adopt this behaviour by watching other dogs. Additionally they may do it as a way of gaining the owner's attention or because the dog is simply bored or anxious. In many instances a direct reason is not identifiable.

The habit can be worrisome to owners who realize that their pets put themselves at an increased risk of getting heart worm and other parasitic diseases that may affect their dog. In addition dogs who eat feces have a tendency to regurgitate the portion that has been eaten indoors on carpets and other surfaces. It is therefore important that pet owners know what methods they can use to stop or prevent this awful habit.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

It is possible to prevent pets from eating feces by cleaning up any waste that may be found near the yard area. For some people, this may not be an option thus the next best thing is to keep the dog on a leash with a muzzle on its mouth when it is outdoors. It is not advisable to punish the dog if it has been doing it for years, this will only work at the onset of this habit. Some remedies include feeding the dog pungent tasting foods like pumpkin, garlic or foods with MSG to make the feces taste bad to the dog. In some instances sprinkling other substances directly on the excrement are said to possibly deter the dog from eating it. However, the dog will probably develop the ability to sense contaminated feces and will avoid eating that kind. But in the end all pet owners must learn to supervise their dogs when outdoors so that they will not develop this poor habit.

Now you know the answer to your question, "Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?"