Many pet owners claimed that their pets especially dogs do weird things like drinking water from toilet, licking their butts, kneading you like bread, chasing their tails, etc. Of all the repulsive habits, eating poop is one of the disgusting behaviours our dogs usually practice. Poop eating behaviour is stranger for many dog owners, however, it’s actually quite normal.
What is Copraphagia?
The scientific term used for the dogs’ behaviour of eating their own or another animals’ poop is called Copraphagia. This habit may often happen in some dogs at some life stages. This habit may start during puppyhood but many dogs keep it up as they get older. Usually, puppies engage in this behaviour when they see their mother lick them to urge them to eliminate and clean their faeces. Puppies start eating both their own faecal droppings and those of other animals as well. This habit may fade in puppies before the age of nine months. There are both behavioural and physiological reasons that why some dogs dine on faeces. So, if your pet is eating poop, don’t despair as there are several ways to discourage the habit.
Why Do Dogs Eat Faeces?
One of the unusual questions most of the pet parents want to know is why do their dogs eat poop. No one really knows the exact reason about this behaviour in dogs but there are many theories that explain the reasons. According to one they may enjoy the taste of poop while according to other they are omnivorous scavengers who love poop because it contains some nutritional value such as undigested fat and protein. For this unappetizing behaviour in dogs, there are underlying causes. It is imperative to first investigate the precise reason behind this behaviour if you want to stop it. In most cases, poop eating practice in dogs is behavioural while in others there are some medical concerns that should be addressed properly before making any decision of how to intervene with it. The reasons of this habit in puppies and older dogs are also differ from one another, so we will look at each age group separately.
Why Puppies Eat Poop?
Eating poop in puppies is quite common because they learned it from their mothers. They mimic the action of their mother until they leave the den to poop and sometimes, they may anticipate with this habit for a while after they are weaned. So it is important for you to clean up your puppies’ poop before they have a chance to enjoy it. Though many wild animals domesticated, still this habit is common and our pets haven’t lost it. In the wild, mother usually eats her pups’ faeces for two reasons:
1- To Clean Them: A mother eats her puppies’ stool to keep them clean and healthy. Though being a pet owner, you can do cleaning job for your pet and her puppies, still your dog practice this to clean up her pups.
2- To Protect Them From Predators: In the wild, predators can approach to the den because of the scent of stools where they can make pups their meal. A mother eats poop to keep her babies safe from any danger, the instinct to protect the young ones still remains in our pets though there is not any danger from the wild predators.
Why Older Dogs Eat Poop?
If you have a puppy or an older dog that eats poop, it’s important to rule out any underlying medical or health concern. There are several medical and health issues that can cause poop eating habit in dogs like:
– Poor Diet: Of your pets are not getting the proper diet with balanced nutrients or they have problems in digesting the ingredients in their food, both issues can motivate your dog to eat poop.
– Underfeeding: If you are feeding your pet with the appropriate amount of food for its size and activity level, he will always feel hungry, this can lead to stool eating.
-Enzyme Deficiencies: If your dog’s body will stop producing the proper type of digestive enzymes needed to digest and absorb nutrients, this can make him poop eater.
– Parasites: If your pets picked up worms that will hang out in their digestive tracts and will consume nutrients from your pet’s food. This can enhance starvation and finally leading to stool consumption.
– Other Diseases: There are other diseases such as diabetes, thyroid malfunction and Cushing’s syndrome that can make your pet a poop eater by causing an increased appetite.
If your pets do not have an underlying medical condition, there are several behavioural reasons such as:
– Stress: If your dog or puppy is in stress, this can drive them to eat their own stool. By giving them punishment for eating their stools, you can induce further stress in your pets.
– Hunger: Worms and other intestinal parasites can drive nutrients from your pet’s intestinal tract and increase his hunger. Growing puppies need to be fed two to three times daily, so when they become hungry, they treat themselves with poop.
– Boredom: If you left your dog at home for long hours, he will start playing with or eating his own poop to get relief from boredom or loneliness.
– Attention-seeking: If you will get upset with poop eating habit, your pet will eat his own poop to get a reaction from you. Your overreaction can make your pet repeat this behaviour to get your attention.
– Restrictive confinement: When pets spend too much time in a small space, this restrictive confinement can cause this habit.
– Living with elderly or sick dogs: Sometimes a healthy dog when live with elder or sick canine members, they start consuming stools from their weaker companion, especially in cases of faecal incontinence. This instinct of dogs related to protect their pack from predators.
How To Stop Poop Eating Behaviour
By practising some of the following ways you can stop or prevent Coprophagia.
– Give proper amount of time, attention, love, treats and exercise to your pets.
– Feed them on high quality, easily digestible diet.
– Clean your dog’s poop as soon as possible.
– Always walk your dogs on a leash as this can keep them away from accessing other animals’ stools.
– Try some useful methods and discouragement techniques with proper praise to stop this habit.