Does your dog prefer your garden's manure fertilizer over the yummy veggies that you're growing? Or perhaps he likes to dine on litter-box offerings or his own excrement? And as if this habit wasn't disgusting enough, wait until he regurgitates his feast onto your carpet later! While his appetite for manure undoubtedly turns your stomach, your dog's behavior -- coprophagia -- is completely natural. This is why he'll need your help in order to change his ways!
Tip #1 - Block his access to the manure using a fence or another barrier. This, by far, is the most effective way to keep doggie from making a dinner out of manure. You can also make sure that your dog is supervised at all times when out in your yard. Gently reprimand him with a firm "No" whenever you catch him in the act, and reward his behavior if he ignores the manure. However, nothing is going to work better (and faster!) than a sturdy, physical barrier.
Tip #2 - Cover the manure in something bad-tasting or spicy, such as Bitter Apple spray or hot sauce. This can be effective on the dog's own feces (if he has the habit of chowing down on his own waste), and a few tastes may cure him of trying any other droppings when he's out on a walk.
Tip #3 - Upgrade your dog's diet. Low-grade dog foods may not allow for proper nutrition absorption as they pass through the body -- and may taste about the same whether they've already been eaten or not. A diet that is higher in the proper nutrients can keep your dog feeling full so he is not compelled to snack on manure.
Tip #4 - Keep your dog distracted after he goes to the bathroom. Have him chase after a tossed ball or enjoy a treat while you clean up his mess. Repeating this behavior each time may eventually help him to forget about eating his feces.
Tip #6 - Keep the cat litter box where the dog cannot access it, if cat feces is an issue. Allow an opening into a room that only the cat can squeeze through, place it behind a baby gate or put the litter box up -- such as on top of the washer -- so that only the cat can reach it easily.
Tip #6 - Keep your dog up to date on his vaccinations and worm medications; this safeguards him in the event he eats contaminated feces.
By Lori Lapierre
Veterinary Partner: Poop! Cleaning Up After Your Dog
Cesars Way: Dog Eating Feces
Veterinary Partner: Eating Feces from Cat Litter Boxes
Animal Planet: Help! My Dog Eats Poop!
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: Why Does My Dog Eat Feces?
Pet MD: The Best Food For Dogs
Web MD: When Dogs Eat Stool (Coprophagia)
About the Author
Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."