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Your dog might be a wonderful companion, but like all other canines, he probably has his share of bad habits. Dogs do a bunch of gross things, like drinking toilet water, licking themselves inappropriately in front of guests, and rolling around in the mud. Of all these habits, the most disgusting one has to be eating poop.
Dogs are a whole different species, so it’s natural we do not understand all the things they do. Their intention with eating poop is not to gross us out. There are several reasons why your pet is eating excrement and understanding them can help you stop him from continuing with this nasty habit.
What causes your dog to eat poop?
Coprophagia, or the act of eating poop, is common among puppies. It is their way of exploring their surroundings and everything in it. If your dog is consuming poop, then a visit to the vet is advised to rule out health issues such as:
- Nutrient deficiency
- Malabsorption syndromes
- Health conditions like thyroid disease or diabetes that may cause a spike in appetite
- Influence of medications like steroids
Apart from these reasons, dogs can be influenced to eat poop due to environmental triggers or behavioral issues. These include:
- Keeping your pet confined for long periods in small spaces can induce this habit
- Dogs who are left alone in basements or kennels typically eat their poop
- Some dogs eat poop as a way to get attention from their owners
- Anxiety and stress can trigger your pet into developing this habits. Harsh punishment can cause dogs to become afraid and eat their own poop as a way of eliminating evidence so they are not punished more
- Keeping your pet’s food in close proximity to its excrement can confuse him. He may find it hard to differentiate between the smells of food and poop
How to stop your dog from continuing this habit?
Once the vet has inspected your dog, they will give you strategies on how you can stop him from eating poop. The most common cause is vitamin deficiency, so the doctor will prescribe some vitamin supplements that may help. Enzyme supplements may also be given if it is known your dog’s diet is low in fats and proteins and has high carbohydrate content.
At home, the best way to get your dog to stop eating poop is managing his environment and through training.
- Keep your home clean so your dog has no access to poop whenever the urge rises
- While on walks, pick up his poop immediately after he is finished
- Teach your dog to follow commands like “come” or “leave it”
- Give your dog plenty of healthy, tasty treats so he loses interest in eating poop
- If you also have a cat, keep the litter bow away from your dog’s reach
The habit of eating poop is revolting, but it is important to treat your dog with love and compassion while training him to stop.