Does your dog often have a poop snack? I know that it sounds gross, but it is a common problem that dog owners face.
Even so, some people think that you should just let your dog eat poop because it is natural for them to do so, but this can actually cause many health issues for both you and your pup.
It is important to know how to stop your dog from eating poop so that you can keep them healthy and happy. So, let’s look at some ways you can stop your doggo from eating feces.
Why do dogs eat poop?
Coprophagy is the act of eating feces. It may be caused by boredom or attention-seeking behavior. However, there are many other reasons why dogs indulge in poop eating.
Overall, dogs eat poop either due to behavioral habits or psychological reasons. Apart from this, your puppy might also do so because of the following:
1. Anxiety, boredom or Lack of Exercise
It is not uncommon for dogs to eat their stool. They may do this because they are stressed or anxious. If your dog is in the basement or kennel alone, they might develop this habit compared to puppies that people usually surround.
Some dogs, especially dogs that seek attention, may eat stool to get any reaction from their owners, and it does work, but it’s best to avoid it in such scenarios or else they will continue doing it.
I think it has to do with dogs being pack animals and craving attention from their owners. Furthermore, when a dog is not getting enough mental stimulation by training or physical activities, they are bound to get bored.
Thus, it becomes very important for pet owners to make sure they take them out for a walk often and train them appropriately.
2. Lack of nutrients
Another common reason can be that your dog might have a dietary deficiency, and the poops contain nutrients that it needs to consume.
Any missing component in their diet might make your puppy have a craving for it since their bodies require it, and so they look for it in feces.
Other reasons why dogs may consume feces can be due to:
- A dog may have a parasite, and its feces will contain parasite eggs which the dog will consume to get rid of them.
- The dog may have a stomach disorder, and the poops will contain enzymes that will aid in digestion for the dog.
- Habit formation, especially in the case of puppies who have not been trained properly
- Coprophagia can also be a symptom of a medical condition such as intestinal obstruction or parasite infection.
How do I get my dog to stop eating poop: Home remedies & products
Now it might be unsettling or terrifying for many of you out there, but dogs do indeed eat their poop at times. While this isn’t always the case, if we take the opinion of vets, it is quite normal for dogs to be chewing on their stools.
According to a study on coprophagia, 85% of dogs who munch on stool tend to do it on others and not on their own ones. If your dog tends to steal food off the food table during lunch and dinner time, there’s a good chance they will have a habit of chewing up on poop too.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to every dog out there. No matter why your dog’s grown a habit of eating poop, stopping this habit is vital for you. Bad breath is only the starting point; parasitic diseases through coprophagia are the main matter of concern.
So here is the real question, how can dogs change their behavior of eating poop? We have listed it all for you but remember that it’s crucial to identify why your dog is eating poop before using a remedy.
1. A proper diet
It is important to ensure that your dog’s diet is complete and balanced. This will provide them with the nutrients they need to grow and maintain a healthy weight.
The first step in helping your dog stop eating poop is to make sure that they are not hungry. Dogs will eat anything if they are hungry, so it’s important to keep their stomach full of nutritious food.
The next step is to find out what triggers their behavior. If you can figure out why they are eating poop, you can then work on resolving the issue.
For example, if your dog eats poop because of boredom or anxiety, you should give them more exercise or more attention during the day.
2. Meat tenderizers
One way to stop your dog from eating poop is by adding a meat tenderizer to their diet. This will reduce the number of digestive enzymes in your dog’s stomach, which eventually change the taste of the poop.
In short, sprinkling a meat tenderizer over your dog’s food will change the taste of the poop after it is expelled, creating an unpleasant flavor. This can be done to deter dogs from eating their own feces.
It’s quite an effective method to make your dog stop having a fecal snack craving. However, some people insist that the meat tenderizer should have an ingredient named MSG that could harm your dog, so it’s best to consult a vet before doing so.
3. Dog Multivitamins
Coprophagia is most commonly seen in dogs who have a deficiency in certain nutrients, especially the water-soluble vitamin B.
Such vitamins and nutrients are found in meat-based diets, and so it is possible that these dogs are not getting enough of these vitamins from their food alone.
Vitamin supplementation is often used to treat coprophagia when the dog has a deficiency of one or more of these nutrients.
You can give your dog vitamin tablets depending upon their weight and breed. For example, a ¼ tablet is suitable for a 30-60 pound dog.
4. Cooked Grain
Adding rice to your dog’s food can help reduce their desire to eat poop. You can add a small quantity of overcooked grains like rice to stop their poop eating habit. This can help as sometimes dogs get attracted by feces with seeds or undigested grains.
5. Apple cider vinegar
Hydrochloric acid is a substance in the stomach that helps digest food. Hydrochloric acid deficiency can be caused by a poor diet, aging, or other health conditions.
If your dog eats poop, it could be due to a lack of hydrochloric acid in his stomach and intestines.
You could supply it by adding AVC, which is apple cider vinegar, to their diet to tackle this. This will ensure your doggo will digest and absorb the nutrients their body needs.
6. Green vegetables
If your dog’s diet lacks fiber, they might consume feces to fulfill their need. Thus, introduce fibrous green vegetables such as broccoli or spinach. As a result, your doggo will not have to seek fiber from any other source, such as poop.
Pineapple is rich in an enzyme called bromelain that breaks down protein. This makes it a great addition to any dog’s diet, as it can help with digestion. So, simply putting a few pieces of pineapple in dog food is effective to break the habit of eating poop.
It’s important to note that if your pup eats too much pineapple, they may experience diarrhea or vomiting.
If you consider adding pineapple to their diet, make sure you monitor their consumption and adjust the amount accordingly.
In a nutshell, there are many different reasons why dogs eat poop. The most common reason is that they are lacking something in their diet. They could be lacking vitamins, minerals, or enzymes. It could also be that they are not getting enough fiber or protein.
However, the issue can be mostly solved by introducing a healthy diet and proper training. Regardless, in some cases, your dog still might indulge in coprophagic behavior; in such cases going to the vet will be the best solution for you. Comment below and let us know what you think!
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.