Dogs are known as man’s best friend. And while there is no wrong in saying so, they do come with some faults of their own which for us humans could be hands-down disgusting to say the least.
One such habit includes the weird obsession of dogs towards poop. No matter if it’s their own poop, or someone else’s excreta, keeping canines away from this messy stinky affair is a literal headache.
Eating poop in dogs can be linked to many reasons, such as a simple act of getting your attention to not feeling well and even some other weird fetish that many puppers have.
So, if your little buddy also does the same, here’s a breakdown on why they do so and how to stop them from this atrocious act.
Why do dogs eat poop?
Scientifically termed as Coprophagia, a dog eating dung may be due to a plethora of reasons. Unfortunately there has been no reports or studies specifying one single exact cause behind this action and hence dog parents from all over the world refer to these possible theories of the behavior.
Canids are born as pack animals. So, when they were with their pack members, ancestral reports of these beautiful creatures showed that they would often munch down poops left by other animals as a safety step. While the exact reason behind this is unknown, scientists and canine behavioral experts often refer to it as clearing their nesting area from intestinal parasites and other deadly pathogens that could transmit from the poop to other pack animals.
When female dogs have given birth and are in the nursing phase, they generally lick their litter’s excreta clean. This is a motherly animal nature common in almost all kinds of animals and it’s a temporary phase, so there is no need to worry. The canines do this to keep their resting area clean and the puppies safe from any parasites or infections that could make them vulnerable to deadly diseases.
A super anxious pup may also display such behavior when left alone and confined to a small place for long hours. Some pups just don’t do well with the feelings of confinement or being left alone and hence all of this anxiety ends up in small accidents that the pooch cannot control. And while most of these anxious woofers leave the accidents as it is, others may lick it completely afraid of the consequences or simply due to hyper stress hormones.
The same also happens if the pooch is harshly punished everytime it has a little mishap in the house. The fear crowds their mind making them do stupid weird things just so as to prevent their owners from getting angry.
Dogs are our best friends, and as a best friend, they also start picking up our habits. A dog that has been with its owner for a long time, knows perfectly well what their parents like, and dislike and hence they may start eating or licking poop in order to get your attention.
When they pick on these dirts, your obvious reaction will be to dart towards them, which means attention, and therefore they take it as an impromptu action of chasing game. The pup may then run away, causing you to run behind them and to give your full attention. Thus, if your pooch doesn’t actually eat poop, but holds it and runs away, it is majorly because they are needing your attention and want you to play with them.
Now no matter whatever we humans might think about excreta of all kinds, certain dogs have a rather obsessive nature towards them. As all excreta contains some kinds of nourishments, some malnourished pups may be attracted to their smell and hence lick it off the ground.
This is mostly seen in dogs that have an irregular deworming schedule or are suffering from a bad case of intestinal parasites. If the latter is the case, the woofer will slowly start losing its appetite, and lick or drag its rear excessively. So, be on a lookout for that. Moreover, iot could also be a sign of gastrointestinal diseases, liver or kidney problems, etc.
This poop-eating affair can be severely harmful to their health and hence pet parents should invest time in correcting these behaviors.
What can I do to stop my dog from eating poop?
Watching your little boy/girl munch down excreta can be a gag-inducing affair, but fortunately a little house-training and proper attention can bring them back to their previous forms. However, always remember that all the below mentioned steps are rather gradual and can take time. This depends upon the pup’s personality, training method and how long they have been continuing the thing.
- Start with finding the underlying cause
The first and foremost thing for owners to efficiently eradicate this behavior is to understand why their puppy is doing so. Try to make a note of when, and where your dog tends to eat excreta, and roll out any possible causes that might be triggering them to do so. You can also take the help of a vet or a canine behavioral specialist for the same.
- Teach them the Right Cues
Although canines are known to be very intelligent, their curiosity mostly masks their instincts, making them do really bizarre things. So, at times like these, you will need to help them back into the track by training them to do the right things through positive reinforcement training methods.
So, once you have found out the cause behind their weird obsession, it’s now time to teach them essential cues, including, ‘Leave it/Drop it’, and ‘Sit’. Indulging their mind in verbal commands and a delicious treat afterwards will help distract their attention and hence keep them off the wrong behavior. The pooch will soon associate the commands as something good and will mostly leave the excreta as it is.
- Re-run Potty Training Basics
Letting the pooch reminisce potty training basics can also aid reduce this behavior by several folds. The dog needs to understand that ‘dung’ is something that needs to be avoided, although a little sniffing is okay. It is their very breed nature of taking in information, and hence pet parents need to be very vigilant every time their woofer goes in the direction of someone’s poop.
Take the fur baby to a particular location and let them mark the area, by either peeing or pooping. The pheromones will keep other dogs altogether and this spot will instantly become your canine’s favorite to get their bowls empty.
- Perform regular deworming
An irregular deworming schedule or a boring, bland diet could also cause them to act up. And thus pet parents need to be very careful of these minute things to prevent super-expensive visits to the vet.
You could always start with investing in the best high-quality dewormers and feeding them every 3-4 months, or as the dosage needs. Similarly, apart from feeding them regular dog food, you could occasionally add gravies or wet food to make the diet more palatable. Here are a few vet-recommended dog homemade foods you can make within a lot less time.
- Consult a veterinarian
However, in case nothing stated above works, then a certain disease or infection could be outlined as the primary cause of the behavior. And this would definitely require professional interference. When taken to a vet, they will typically initiate with running the pooch through all kinds of tests and then proceed on to a particular treatment. But, if everything is normal in lab tests, the vet may also call in a behavioral expert who would work with the woofer closely until the little one is back to its normal personality.
Almost every parent goes through a phase where they witness their dogs eating poop for ‘x, y, z’ reasons. This is not as cynical as one may think. And therefore understanding the WHYs and HOWs is much more important than being disgusted at your canine’s behavior.