First time dog owners, are often shocked to hear about coprophagia. They are even more shocked when they find their own dog actually eating dog poop. Let’s face it – it sounds gross, it looks gross, and it is gross.
If your dog does start eating poop, you need to first determine if it is a behavioral issue and a medical one. A quick trip to the vet will help you to know if this is medical in nature. Also, if your pet is eating poop you will want to make sure that all of his vaccinations and worming treatments are up to date. Various diseases and parasites can be passed through dog feces.
- vitamin deficiency
- a change in your dog’s diet
- seperation anxiety
- your dog just likes it
- dogs sometimes try to hide their poop by eating it
- trying to clean up the area
- learned this behavior by watching other dogs
- side effect of medication
- mineral deficiency
- mistakes feces for food
Now that you are familiar with some of the causes, here is how to prevent this unwanted doggie behavior.
- ensure that your dog has been checked over by the vet
- makes sure that vaccinations and worming treatments are up-to-date
- feed your pup a nutritious diet
- make sure your dog has a healthy supply of water each day
- teach your dog the command “Leave It”
- clean up your dogs poop with a plastic baggie
- feed your pup twice a day
- keep your dogs living space clear of feces
- do not allow your dog access to the kitty liter box
- try to distract your dog
- use a muzzle when you take your dog out to go to the bathroom
Thinking outside the box to prevent coprophagia:
Add 2-4 TBS of canned pumpkin to your dogs while. While many people think that Pumpkin tastes very good, it has been tested to taste horrible when expelled in feces.
Try adding a TBS of pineapple juice, meat tenderizer, MSG, or a little spinach to your dogs food. This should have the same effect as the pumpkin.
If you are looking for a more direct approach because your dog’s stomach won’t tolerate the additional food items, you can poor lemon juice or hot sauce on the stools following elimination.
Also, check your local pet store for products designed for this problem. Solid gold S.E.P., Deter, Deterrent, Potty mouth, are just a few products which have proven to help some dogs stop eating poop. These products are also sold online at retailers such as Amazon.
As long as you stay on top of your pup about breaking this habit, you will see results. Most dogs outgrow this pretty quickly, but it may seem like an eternity to us dog owners!
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image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/3865714423/