A dog eating poop is distressing for the dog owner. It seems so disgusting, unhealthy, and unnatural. If you own a dog that does this you’ll know what I mean. But you should know that you’re not alone. Coprophagia, as it is known, is a fairly common behavior that often points to deeper anxiety or nutritional issues.
Why do dogs eat poop?
Your dog may be eating poop for a number of reasons. Most often the explanation is that he is simply hungry. This does not necessarily mean that you are not feeding him enough, it could just be that he is not getting enough nutrients from the dog food you are feeding.
It could also be a sign of a more serious problem – worms. These parasites suck the nutrients from whatever your dog eats. Another simple reason for your dog eating poop is that he is tidying up his space. It may sound weird when discussing an animal that eats his own excrement, but dogs are actually very clean animals. He may simply be keeping his area clean, and removing the poop in the only way he knows.
Coprophagia is also related to canine anxiety, so an anxious dog may develop the compulsion to eat his own poop. There are even studies that suggest it is a form of imitation. He may have seen you picking up poop and is trying to mimic your behavior. Or he is copying other dogs who he has seen eating poop. Whatever the reason, it is a problem that can be solved relatively easily.
How to stop a dog eating poop
To stop your dog eating poop, you need to find the root of the problem. First, check for any health issues. Have your vet check him over and if necessary treat him for worms. You should also discuss with your vet the food you are feeding your dog.
If you are feeding a budget-priced brand, your dog may not be getting the nutritional intake he needs. If your vet gives your dog a clean bill of health, you need to address any other problems that may be leading to your dog eating poop.
Start by making it a habit to clear your yard of any dog poop at least twice a day. This removes the cause of the problem and is the quickest and easiest way to solve your dog’s coprophagia problems. However, this only works while your dog is in your own home. When you take him on walks or to the dog park you need to watch his behavior. You may want to arm yourself with a water pistol or water bottle. Spray him and use a sharp “No!” if he tries to eat poop.
One last thing – if your dog suffers from the coprophagia habit don’t let him lick your face. But I’m sure you already knew that if you have a dog eating poop!
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