by Chris Smith
Although a dog eating poop is probably a natural behavior it's still a disgusting habit to have! I mean, why would your dog eat his poop when you are feeding him perfectly good food?
When you're out enjoying a walk with your dog it's not a good look if he's got a face full of poop.
Apart from being an embarrasment to you, it could also be damaging your dog. Diseases and worms can be passed on when dogs eat the feces of other dogs.
And what about your dogs breath!
As is the case with all dog behavioral problems, the sooner you stop your dog eating poop the better. If you allow this filthy habit to establish itself, it can be difficult to put a stop to it.
There are many theories as to why dogs eat their poop (feces). It is thought that dogs perform coprophagy for two main reasons:
1. It could purely be a behavioral problem.
2. It could mean that your dog has an underlying medical problem.
- Bitches with a young litter of puppies often eat the puppies droppings to keep the area clean. Also in the wild this act by the mother could hide the presence of her puppies from predators.
- Your puppy may have a vitamin or mineral deficiency and believes eating poop will be nutritious to him.
- A puppy may begin to eat feces as a result of watching his owner clean up his poop. He just copies his owners behavior.
- If a puppy is punished for eliminating (pooping) in the house he may eat his poop to hide the evidence in future. He may associate the punishment with any time he poops, rather than just when he poops inside the house.
- It simply tastes good - I know it sounds disgusting but this may well be the reason you see dogs eating poop.
- Could be the result of anxiety or boredom.
- Could be that your dog is cleaning up his area. This should be you the owner's job.
- Some dogs have been know to start eating their poop when on antibiotics.
- If you are over feeding your dog he could eat his feces because he hasn't digested all the food properly. Therefore his feces still smell and probably taste the same as his dinner.
There are lots of proven methods you can employ to stop dog coprophagia. One thing to keep in mind is to always have your dogs vaccinations up to date, and worming must be done regularly.
- Feed a well balanced and nutritious meal.
- Try feeding twice a day - keep it to the same amount though. Your dog may just be hungry.
- Always keep the dogs living area clean from feces.
- Teach him the "off" command. This is a basic obedience training command, if you have established yourself as the alpha dog your dog will respect this command almost immediately.
- Add a bit of Pineapple, Spinach or Pumkin to your dogs meal. Not sure why but apparently these things taste horrible in the poop.
- You will find a few products in your Pet Store that address this common problem. Forbid and Deter are a couple that I have known to produce good results with poop eaters.
- Use the power of "negative association" through the use of a choke or prong collar. Every time your dog goes to eat any feces say No! and immediately give the lead a short sharp tug. This provides a correction to your dog, he will soon establish that trying to eat poop is not a pleasant experience! It is crucial that you are consistent using this method, it has to be applied every time not just some of the time.
- As soon as you see your dog eliminate provide a distraction to him. You can run away from the area or maybe just call him over to you and offer him a treat.
- Some owners have found that by putting a foul tasting substance like tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper directly onto the feces will be enough to break the dogs habit. I'm not convinced by this one but it may be worth a try.
Of course if there is an underlying medical problem which is contributing to your dogs poop eating problem, then none of the above methods will be effective. In such cases you should get your Vet to give him a thorough examination.
One last thing - the good news is that most dogs grow out of this habit eventually.
About the Author.
Chris Smith is a dog owner and creator of http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com
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