Dogs are adorable. From seeing them wander around the house to taking a nap, everything seems cute. However, when dog owner sees their dog eating their own poop they get shocked, especially the new owners, they tend to panic.
So, if you are a dog owner and wondering why do dogs eat their own poop? this article will provide you with the necessary answers.
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Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poop?
The short answer: they are curious about the taste. Also, the technical term for eating poop is Coprophagia. But, there is nothing to get worried about. Eating poop will not hurt your dog. The only concerning aspect of this situation is, that it’s not a good habit and the dog may catch some parasites.
So, why do dogs eat poop after all? Here are some reasons why:
- They picked it up as a habit from their mum
- Poop tastes good to them
- Are bored or stressed
- Extremely hungry and looking for something to eat
- To pick up some nutrition from the undigested matter
- May be suffering from a medical issue
let’s get more insights into why dogs eat their own poop.
Insights into why dogs eat their own poop
We saw some of the reasons why dogs eat their own poop. Now, let’s use them to get more clarity on why your canine friend eats poop and see how to stop a dog from eating poop.
- Imitating their mothers’ behaviour
In general, puppies pick up the poop-eating behaviour from their mothers. The mothers eat the poop of their newly born puppies to keep the place clean. Puppies start imitating this behaviour and eat poop.
- Taste feels good
Dogs’ smell and taste senses are quite different from ours. They might simply enjoy the taste and find the smell delightful. In addition, they also like the texture of some faeces and favour firm, fresh or the one which is a couple of days old.
- Bored or stressed
It’s possible that your dog is facing some stress, anxiety or just bored and eating poop is a coping mechanism. They may continue eating poop if they are feeling bored or lonely. In such situations, you need to accompany them.
- Extremely hungry
At times your canine friend will get extremely hungry and if they find poop they’ll definitely start eating. This mainly happens because they are not getting enough food or the one you feed is not tasty enough.
- Medical issues
There are many medical conditions that can encourage a dog to eat poop. Issues such as indigestion, diabetes, thyroid issues, mental illness, or any other medical condition, might alter the smell of the poop and make it more appealing.
Additional Reasons why dogs eat poop
You may get surprised that there are some abnormal reasons why dogs eat their own poo.
#1 Seek the owner’s attention
At a young age, some dogs tend to think that eating poop is a game. They grab the poop and play with them. While playing with the poop, or eating, the dog is also seeking your attention to join them and play. And as an owner, it’s hard for you to ignore seeing your dog eat poop.
If the dog gets a sense that their owners are coming each time they eat poop, then this habit evolves. In fact, the dog will continue to do this even after being an adult.
#2 Scared of the punishment
Often dogs are scared that they might get punished for pooping around the house. As a result, they get anxious and develop the habit of eating poop to clean up their act.
Stop Dog From Eating Poop
In this section, we’ll check out different methods for – how to stop a dog from eating poop. Following are some basic points you can consider while initiating the process.
#1 Supervise the dog
Watch your dog, and figure out the time spent outdoors. Be with them while they are in the garden or just going for a quick toilet. This is the simplest way to ensure your dog doesn’t end up eating poop.
#2 Command Phrase
Train your dog to follow your command while they approach poo. For instance, you can use ‘Stop’ or ‘Leave it’ commands to prevent them from eating the poo.
#3 Use treats
Instead of shouting or punishing them for pooping in the house or eating the poop, give them a tasty treat. This will shift their behaviour and make them feel joyous and create a positive impression in their mind.
So, the next time, the chances of avoiding poop will increase. And who knows they might completely avoid eating their poop.
#4 Distract them
To distract your dog, use toys, balls or anything which facilitates chewing activity. You’ll observe a significant change in the dogs’ behaviour, they will get distracted and not eat poop.
#5 Get rid of the poop
This is probably the most effective way to make sure your dog doesn’t eat their own poop. If you get rid of your dog poop then there is no scope for them to eat poop at all.
#6 Use muzzle or lead
Normally, you won’t have to use a muzzle or lead. However, if your dog is not able to resist the temptation of eating poop, using a muzzle or keeping on lead becomes crucial. You can use a basket muzzle, as it doesn’t cover the entire mouth.
#7 Consult a Vet
At some stage, you may feel that your dog is eating too much poop. The tricks or methods you use to stop them from eating the poop are also not working. If this happens you must immediately contact your vet and address this situation.
Things owners must avoid if the dog eats poop
Now, even after you successfully manage to redirect your dog from the habit of eating poop, in near future, there is a possibility that the dog ends up eating the poop. As a dog owner, this behaviour can make you angry and instinctively make you do things which may not be in your dog’s best interest.
So, here are some things you don’t want to do:
- Punishing the dog
Punishing the dog for eating the poop, will make him scared. Also, if you shout at them chances are it will worsen the situation. For instance, if you shout while they eat the poop, it will make them eat it faster.
- Muzzling the dog
You must absolutely avoid muzzling your dog if you solely plan on using it to stop them from eating poop. We say this because this may work for a short period but, won’t stop the dog from wanting to eat the poop.
Yes, it’s normal for dogs to eat poop. Eating poop is referred to as coprophagia and is a normal behaviour trait for different animals. This behaviour is approximately seen in 25% of the dogs.
As per the article published by well-known publisher John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Terriers, hounds and shetland sheepdogs are some of the breeds of dogs that tend to eat their own poop.
Puppy eating poop is not abnormal, people are seeing 9 week old puppy eating poop. They pick up this habit by observing their mothers who eat their poop to keep the place clean. However, it’s also possible that they are suffering from anxiety, feeling attention isolation, confinement or improper association with the food.
So, if we have to summarize the answer for why do dogs eat their own poop, the answer is – they just like it. Also, we hope that the article was able to provide you with the necessary information as to why dogs eat their own poop and how you can stop them from eating poop.
While eating poop may not cause any fatal issues it’s always good to shift your dog’s behaviour from such activity to avoid any potential health issues.