I'm sure every dog owner has experienced this scenario. You're outside with your dog and you notice your canine, who licks you with doggie kisses every day, is eating poop! Nooooooooo! The name given to this negative doggie action is called 'Coprohaga' and it is a difficult habit to break.
My dog prefers rabbit poop to his own because the earthy grassy overtones aren't overpowered by the aftertaste of processed dog food on his palate! But seriously, dogs ingesting poop may stem from a latent medical problem that could lead to a more serious condition. Let's first examine where this action originated, then we can better understand how to lick this problem.
A long, long time ago before dogs were domesticated, they were scavengers feeding off the remains and waste of other animals. So dogs eating poop could be a carryover from that period of their doggie evolution.
Another case of a dogs 'wild times' is when a mother dog ingests her pups poop to rid their living area of scents so predators aren't attracted to them. It's a matter of instinct.
If you have more than one dog in your household, poop eating may result from the your dog's 'pecking order.' A submissive dog may resort to eating the poop of the more dominant dogs.
Poop eating also could result from your dog not having enough nutrients absorbed into their body. Dogs lacking vitamin B may resort to this behavior. An overfed dog may react in the same manner. If the dog can't absorb all the nutrients in their food, searching for nutrients may end with a taste for waste.
Pay attention to your dog! They crave for and need attention. Eating stool is a way some dogs could get their owner's attention. And remember, a dog will consider bad attention the same as good attention, and thus by scolding them, you could reinforce their negative habit.
Coprophagic behavior in dogs should not be ignored. Underlying health problems such as intestinal parasites may be the cause. Dogs that ingest the feces of large animals like that of a horse, can develop vomiting , diarreah, and even toxicity from any medications the other animal may have taken.
Other ailments like that of the pancreas, diabetes mellitus, and hyperthyroidism can also be the cause.
In a few instances, a sickness called 'malabsorption syndrome' gives the infected an insatiable appetite for stools in an effort to gain calories.
A trip to the vet is warranted for any of the above actions and ailments, and may be the very thing needed to ease your mind on the health and well being of your dog.
If you have a litter of puppies, eating poop is a common, instinctual behavior. Pups tend to put everything in their mouths, but you need not worry too much. Puppies learn from experience. Just don't use the old method of training by sticking their noses into their urine or feces if your dog has an 'accident.' If you do, you may force 'fido' into an alternate method of accident disposal.
Finally, a number of additives to your dogs food like meat tenderizers, sulfur, crushed pineapple, sauerkraut or pumpkin may aid in making stools unappetizing as well as in improving digestion but the effectiveness of these ingredients haven't been tested scientifically, although some claims have been positive. A product called 'Forbid' is also available which is made with alfalfa. I've read both pro and con reviews of this product. Some consumers say it works while others say not. In the long run I would try anything safe to end my dog's bad habit. I'm just lucky my Cockapoo's love for dining on the poo has waned!
By Tom Matteo