Of all the embarrassing past times in the canine day, scoffing down a little fresh faeces could be the most disturbing for dog owners. This dirty dinner habit is not only gross but can also be confusing for owners.
So why do they do it?! and what can you do to stop them?
Let’s start with the physiological and behavioural reasons…..
Well a curious chap named Dr. Benjamin Hart, from the University of California, Davis – put in the research in 2012. He sent a survey to about 3000 dog owners in the USA and concluded that ‘….eating of fresh stools is a reflection of an innate predisposition of ancestral canids living in nature that protects pack members from intestinal parasites present in feces that could occasionally be dropped in the den/rest area.’ In short – dogs’ have a natural desire to eat poop, which dates back to pack life of wild dogs, protecting the pack from parasite infection. It has also been concluded this behaviour may be one of several survival mechanisms that have evolved in dogs to cope with starvation. In other words, when you’re starving you can’t be picky. It is also normal behaviour for a mother and her pups, this is all part of cleaning up and parasite control.
However, even though this all is part of normal dog behaviour, if your adult dog begins to dine on dung you should get it checked out just like any other change in behaviour. Your vet can rule out health problems such as:
- Malabsorption Problems
- Diet deficiency
- Diabetes, cushings, thyroid disease and other conditions that might cause an increase in appetite
- Medication side effects.
In many cases dogs begin eating faeces because of a behavioural trigger, stress or anxiety. Some causes may be:
- Dogs living in isolation or restrictive confinement
- Incorrect house training
- Feeding the dog too close to it’s toilet area
- Living with a sick or elderly dog – the pack instinct may encourage the dog to clean up after the invalid dog.
How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop…
Once you have figured out why your dog is exhibiting this behaviour you will be much better equipped to try and stop it. Your vet can give advice where relevant or an animal behaviouralist may be helpful.
Diet supplements + keeping the yard very clean of poop + working hard on the LEAVE IT command is a recommended approach. But what works best for your dog will depend heavily on the motivation for his or her poop eating.
At Vet24 we recommend Kalmpets for your dog training requirements.
You can get more information on Kalmpets Here.
If you are concerned about any sudden change in your pet’s behaviour please contact Vet24 or your local vet for an appointment.