Eating poop is a potential health issue, but you can still keep your dog healthy
This is one of those underground subjects that everybody sort of knows about and ignores. It just is not a “conversational” topic. As humans, we just can not accept the practice of fecal eating. All sorts of imagery pops up. In fact, you are doing it yourself right now. And you are wondering if you can even finish reading this article. You have already been through the worse, might as well keep going now. It is all in the spirit to keep your dog healthy, right?
Coprophagy Or Coprophagia
Coprophagia is the technical term for the action of eating fecal matter. In the case of dogs, it can mean their own, or any other animals, including other dogs in the household. There would appear that there is a reason for this behavior. In fact, nobody has come up with a conclusive reason as to why dogs do it. Some believe that it is because of the dog lacking something in their diet. But if you think about this for a moment, fecal matter is comprised of non-essential “stuff” that the body could either not digest or not use. It is in all sense of the term “waste” product. So, to eat it does not any sense really, does it? This isn’t to say that a quality food should not be used to make sure that your dog is getting the right nutrition.
It is an unpleasant behavior in your pet. But it is not by any means fatal. Of course there are side effects that go along with your dog eating fecal matter. It goes without saying that the dog’s breath is horrendous and it is going to require you doing more doggie dental care to keep your dog healthy. There are also certain intestinal or internal parasites your dog can catch from practicing coprophagy. These parasites are even worse when your dog is eating other animals feces.
One of the worst offenders are cats. A lot of families have both cats and dogs in their homes as pets. That makes cat’s feces readily available to dogs inside of the home. Just a quick trip to the little box, and dog is in fecal heaven. Nobody can exact explain why, but cat feces seems to be a favorite amongst dogs. If you do have both in the house, to help keep your dog healthy, find a way to separate the litter box in an area of the house that the dog can’t get to. If you have a bigger dog, maybe installing an internal little doggie door to the area so that the cat can go through, but the dog can not fit through it. The best method is to buy one of those cat litter boxes that do self-cleaning after every use. That way if it is even out in the open, your dog does not have access to it. Yes, they are expensive, but then so is a vet bill and meds for your dog.
Some Ways To Try To Eliminate Coprophagy
There are some things you can do to try and curb or stop altogether your dog from eating on the “snacks” of other animal’s rear ends. Below are some things you can try that have been stated to work. But there is really only one absolute way to put a stop to this behavior. It is time consuming and even laborious, but an absolute positive way to stop this behavior is to constantly get rid of the poop as soon as it “arrives” in the lawn, in the cat box, or wherever. It is an obvious thing, but if it is not present to feed upon, the dog can not eat it. As promised, below is a list of possible solutions if eliminating the substance does not seem doable to you.
Supervision. This is as time consuming as cleaning it up at first, but this option you might be able to stop doing after a certain time period where cleaning it up is constant. Just like training the dog on what to chew and what not to chew, you will have to supervise the dogs activity and every time the dog goes in for a “snack” either make a loud noise or shout a stern “No” and immediately give the dog something alternative to put into their mouth. Give them a toy, a chew toy, a raw hide, or a chew bone. This can, over time, re-wire the dog’s mind into thinking to chew on the alternative versus the fecal matter every time that urge comes up.
Flavor the poop. There are certain food items and additives that, after digestive processing, makes the poop taste bad. I know you are currently thinking, “what, it doesn’t taste bad to begin with?” I can not honestly answer that question, and hope that I never will be able to. But you do have to keep a perspective in mind. Dogs have no problem chewing on rotting road kill that has been in the hot sun for days. I can not imagine fecal matter can taste any worse than that, right? So it is rumored that pineapple makes fecal matter taste bad to dogs. You can either pour pineapple juice over the dog food, or try mixing some chunks of pineapple in the food. I believe the fresher, the better. Dogs like the sweet flavor, but apparently some chemical reaction happens during digestion that changes that completely at the other end.
Try a product. There are some products you can get from either your vet or at a pet store that is suppose to eliminate the behavior as well. I am not sure how they work, I would assume they work something similar to the pineapple theory above, rendering the fecal matter tasting bad to the dogs. I can not recommend any particular brand name, as I have not used any. But I am sure your vet or maybe a friend or family member could give you some idea which ones work and they have had success with.
Dogs often are found eating the fecal matter of themselves, or other animals. The technical term for this behavior is called, “coprophagy” or “coprophagia”. Despite rumors and suggestions that the dogs eat the matter because they are missing something from their diet, there is no proof to support it. The reason dogs do it is currently unknown, and anything used for the reasoning at this time should be taken as pure speculation. Cat feces is a personal favorite amongst dogs. If you have both dogs and cats in the house, try to take care to separate the litter box from the dogs so that they do not have access to an instant buffet. The only true way to stop the behavior is to eliminate any fecal matter by picking it up as soon as it is dropped. You can also try to train the dog to no longer eat fecal matter. There are other ways that have been stated to work, although I personally have no evidence to back them up. The other ways require you to feed the dog something with their food that will make the fecal matter no longer tasteful to the dog. Pineapple is rumored to be one of the best deterrents. Another method is to purchase a product made specifically for this from your vet or from a pet store. Eating fecal matter is not deadly to the dog, but can create health issues, especially internal parasites. Stopping the fecal eating not only seems “practical” (no kisses for me thanks) but also helps you to keep your dog healthy and happy.