As wonderful as dogs are, they sure have some disgusting habits – drinking from the toilet, licking their own behinds, and eating literally everything (just to name a few!). However, eating poop may top the list of unsavory canine quirks. Honestly, could anything be worse?
Dogs eat poop for a variety of reasons, most of which are totally harmless. However, while this habit may not be cause for concern, understanding the basics behind coprophagia (poop eating) can help you curb the behavior.
Why Do Dogs Eats Poop?
A dog may eat the feces of another pet, wildlife, or their own droppings. When they do this, it’s generally for one of the following reasons:
- Attention-seeking behavior
- A territorial response to the presence of other pets in the home
- Lack of or malabsorption of key nutrients
- The presence of parasites
In most cases, coprophagia is a normal behavior, particularly in puppies. After all, dogs explore the world through their nose and mouth, so eating feces may simply be an expression of this.
Is Coprophagia Dangerous?
Poop eating, especially eating the feces of other animals, can expose a dog to parasites. Make sure your pet is protected with year-round flea, tick, and heartworm medications, and stay current on all necessary pet vaccinations.
Getting it Under Control
If you have a poop-eater on your hands, don’t panic! Your first step should be to call the team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital to have your dog evaluated for any underlying health issues. If we don’t find any medical reason for why your dog is eating poop, there are a variety of steps you can take to minimize the behavior:
- Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise each day. After all, a tired dog is a better behaved dog!
- A lack of mental stimulation may be to blame, so keep plenty of interesting toys, games, food puzzles, and other forms of enrichment at the ready. Obedience training and agility classes are other great ways to keep your dog active and engaged.
- Limit your pup’s access to poop by taking them out on their leash and moving the litter box to an inaccessible location.
- Talk with your veterinarian about possible changes to your pet’s diet that may provide additional nutrients.