Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
“Coprophagia” is the scientific term given to act of consuming excrement. As pet owners, it is likely you have caught your dog eating a random pile of poop and felt thoroughly disgusted. However, it’s best to keep an open mind because your dog may be trying to tell you something.
“…[M]ore often than not, when animals engage in this behavior, they’re not trying to repulse us – but to communicate something vital about their health and biology.” – Jacob Brogan, writing for Smithsonian.com.
Beyond the disgust factor, many dog parents who catch their dog in the act jump to the conclusion that something is wrong with their pet. This behavior is actually your dog’s way of trying to make things right. By eating poop, their bodies are prodding them to correct an insufficiency or imbalance in the digestive process. Your dog doesn’t think it’s yummy, but rather its body is urging itself to ingest something that may be missing from their diet.
Coprophagia can also be a behavioral issue. Some dogs, especially those in kennel or puppy mill situations, may eat poop because they’re feeling anxious or stressed, or because there are no other options as far as nutrients (puppy mill dogs). Research also suggest dogs who are punished for inappropriate elimination believe that pooping itself is bad, so they hide the evidence by eating it.
Tips to Help Correct Your Dog’s Nasty Habit
- Feed your dog a nutritionally balanced diet containing protein and supplement with probiotics and digestive enzymes to prevent your dog from searching elsewhere for less appetizing enzyme sources.
- Pick up your dog’s waste immediately.
- If your dog favors litterbox snacks, make sure the box is out of reach for your dog.
- Make sure your dog has toys and activities that stimulate the brain and alleviate boredom.
- Consider experimenting with some over-the-counter coprophagia deterrent products. Make sure to avoid products that are toxic or contain monosodium glutamate (MSG).
To read more on poop-eating animals: