Even more revolting than our dogs' penchant for drinking from the toilet, rolling about in marsh mud, or licking their buttocks, is the thought of our dogs eating their own poop. It doesn't matter if their goal is to terrify us humans, since it certainly is. Actually, that feces eating is frequently used as a reason for rehoming or euthanizing a dog.


If you've ever wondered why some dogs are so fond of excrement, the answer is simple: coprophagia, or "coprophagia" (kop-ruh-fey-jee-uh). Don't give up hope if you're stuck with a poop eater. Discouragement techniques and over-the-counter medications are available. Poop-eating is a prevalent phenomenon, despite the lack of scientific investigation into it. Researchers from the University of California, Davis reported their findings at the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's annual conference in 2012:


If a dog has been caught five times in the act, it is classed as a "severe" stool eater.

In the study, 24 percent of dogs were recorded eating feces at least once (one in four).


A natural instinct of canids living in the wild, Hart concluded, is to guard the pack from intestinal parasites found in the urine and feces that are accidentally dumped in the den or rest area. To keep their dens clean, some domestic dogs will defecate in a remote location; nevertheless, small puppies would have excreted in the house, and their mother would have eaten it to get rid of it!


About 3,000 dog owners were surveyed in two independent studies. Even while eating dog’s poop is unpleasant to human sensibilities, it isn't really all that horrible for dogs. It's no surprise that dogs' tastes in food are quite different from ours because they developed to forage for food from the ground or from the litter box. One of the "appetizing survival behaviors that have evolved to cope with the occasional adversity of famine," animal behaviorist Steven R. Lindsay writes in his Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training. This means that you can't be choosy when food is scarce.


There is nothing unusual that dogs and puppies eat their own feces.

Getting essential nutrients from fecal droppings is quite typical for some species, such as rabbits. Rabbits will suffer health issues and their offspring won't thrive if you stop them from doing this. The good news is that dogs don't have to eat this way. Natural and typical behavior can be observed in different canine life stages. About three weeks after birth, mother dogs may lick their puppies to encourage elimination as well as clean up their waste by eating it. Dogs and other animals' feces (allocoprophagia), as well as their own (autocoprophagia), will be eaten by puppies as a natural instinct. A few canines are particularly fond of horse manure and geese droppings. While ingesting their own feces poses no health risks, other animals' feces may contain parasites, viruses, or harmful bacteria, which can be dangerous to dogs. Most puppies outgrow this tendency by the time it reaches the age of nine months.


Poop-Eating Dogs: Some Interesting Facts

Coprophagia in pups is widely viewed as a normal component of the puppy's exploration of the world. The majority of puppies are content with a sniff, but a handful will be eager to eat everything they come across, just like human youngsters. One strange fact about dogs is that they don't want to eat their own feces. They seem to be especially drawn to solid waste. Particularly tasty is the frozen variety. When a dog defecates, it's called a "poopsicle." Hart made the following observations on why dogs eat excrement in his research:


Multi-dog homes were more likely to experience coprophagia. Only 20% of canines in single-dog households exhibited the practice, compared to 33% in families with three dogs.

It's no more difficult to housetrain a poop eater than it is to train any other dog.

Females are more prone to eat poop, while intact males are the least likely.

Most feces eaters are looking for food that is only a few days old.

It is estimated that 85 percent of poop eaters will only consume other dogs' feces.

Dogs who steal food off tables are more likely to become poop eaters.


Another reason is that it's possible that your dog isn't feeling well if they're eating poop. The veterinarian should be consulted if you notice that your puppy or dog is eating other dogs' poop or his own poop. Coprophagia can be linked to a variety of gastrointestinal and other health issues (liver, brain, etc.).


It is important to see your veterinarian as soon as possible if your adult dog suddenly starts eating his or her own feces and the behavior is accompanied by symptoms of illness such as weight loss or lethargy as well as behavioral changes like vomiting or diarrhea.


To find out if your dog has an underlying medical problem, such as parasites, deficiency, or gastrointestinal disease, your veterinarian will need to do diagnostic testing.


How to stop your dog from eating poop?

Many solutions have been tried by veterinarians and dog owners, such as:


The belief that dogs consume feces because they are nutritionally deficient has been around for a long time, thus providing a dog multivitamin may be beneficial. Vitamin-B deficiency, in particular, has been a primary suspicion, and investigations have substantiated this belief. Thiamine, a B vitamin, was found to be generated by fecal microbial activity in 1981. Nutritional deficiency has also been discovered in other studies.


The current canine diet is richer in carbohydrates and lower in meat-based proteins and lipids than the canine ancestral diet. Enzyme supplementation is needed to counteract this. The enzyme papain has been found to aid in the digestion of canines in some cases.


Adding a feces-eating deterrent to food or rewards will make the poop that's being generated less enticing, according to the theory that certain tastes and scents are as repugnant to dogs as the idea of stool eating is to us. Monosodium glutamate, chamomile, pepper-plant derivatives, yucca, garlic, and parsley are common ingredients in these products. A poop-eating problem should always be addressed across the board in a multi-dog household.


Train Your Dog to Stop Eating Poop

Because they are afraid of punishment, dogs who have learnt to eat poop as a result of being punished for accidents should first be prevented from getting access to the poop. Although it is possible that the dog was punished by previous owners, you must nevertheless restrict access to the dog's waste.


You must be patient and consistent in using positive reinforcement to encourage your dog to conduct other actions other than eating the excrement once you've established the behavior. 

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