You’ve probably wondered what would inspire a dog to eat poop. This habit is gross, that’s for sure, and it can be unhealthy for your dog. While eating poop, known as coprophagia, isn’t all that uncommon you should seek to discover the causes and provide a remedy.
The Cause of Coprophagia
It may simply be that your dog is hungry and doesn’t know what else to eat. Another easy explanation is that your dog is confined in a tight, messy space and wants to clean it up.
Solving the hunger issue may seem easy – feed the dog more. However, if the cause of its hunger is parasites you’ll need to have a vet confirm this and treat the problem with medication. That will allow your dog to receive the total benefit of its food and no longer resort to eating feces.
Some dogs may resort to coprophagia as a nervous habit. Others may see you picking up poop in the back yard to dispose of it and mimic your behavior in the only way it knows how. Perhaps it witnessed another dog doing it and wanted to give it a try.
Changing Your Dog’s Behavior
If your dog engages in this behavior once or twice simply admonish it to stop and see what happens. If it persists then schedule a visit with the vet to check for physical causes. The animal doctor will test for parasites and poor nutrition and then prescribe medication or a different diet. In most cases your problem will be solved.
If your dog is in good physical health you’ll need to discuss other possible reasons for the behavior. Your job will begin by keeping the dog’s environment poop-free, especially its cage or kennel. When you do the doggy-doo clean up keep the dog inside so it can’t see what you’re doing and won’t be led to imitate it in some way. Simply remove the poop so the dog can’t eat it even if it wanted to.
If you can’t get poop picked up right away, or if you want to train the dog not to eat it so it won’t be a problem when you are at the park, then spray the feces with cayenne pepper or bitter apple juice. This aversion will keep the dog away. Some also suggest feeding the dog a small amount of pumpkin puree which will alter the flavor of other things it eats, making them unappetizing. You’d think poop would already taste pretty bad to them, but who knows? Others use a spray bottle to give their pooch an unpleasant squirt in the face, along with a firm word, whenever the poop eating behavior crops up.
Ending dreaded coprophagia is best accomplished by making sure your dog is in good physical and emotional health and then removing the opportunity to indulge this disgusting habit. Most likely your dog will simply move on and find other ways to drive you crazy. That’s part of its job!