12 Reasons Your Dog Eats Poop
Thursday, October 13, 2016 6:53 PM
Years before dogs became domesticated, they were scavengers � they feed on waste of other creatures. So, poop eating somehow can be linked to the history of dogs. �Here are several reasons for coprophagia in dogs.
- Cat litter appeal. Your dog vacuums up the litter box as soon as your back is turned, eh? Mine used to do this too, and it was pretty gross. It’s thought that dogs do this either to replace supplemental nutrients that they are lacking or because they are not being fed enough. To them, kitty poop smells good and they want to eat it.
- Conditions causing increased appetite. Certain diseases like diabetes and thyroid issues, as well as steroids, can make dogs ravenous enough to eat stool (honestly many dogs don’t need much of a push).
- Appetitive inoculation. In some cases, puppies will get confused by sniffing fecal odors on their mother's breath after she has cleaned them. Also, sometimes mothers may regurgitate food that is mixed with puppy fecal matter
- Attention seeking. Our dogs love us and want our attention. If they’re feeling a little ignored, even getting in trouble will please them, because, well, they have our attention.
- Isolation. Studies have shown that dogs who are kept alone in kennels or basements are more likely to eat poop than those dogs who live close to their people.
- Underfeeding. Make sure you are feeding your dog enough food at regular times. If your dog is losing weight on a fresh, whole diet, then feed him more! And keep to a schedule, a hungry dog will look for other food sources you may not like.
- Motherhood. When a dog gives birth and is raising her puppies, she will lick them around the anal area to encourage them to poop. She may also eat their feces. Yeah, I know� gross, right? This is instinctual behavior � not only does it keep the area clean, but removing the feces lessens the likelihood of attack by predators.
- Learning experience for puppies. For puppies, eating feces may simply be a learning experience. Puppies learn things by putting nearly everything that comes in front of them in their mouth. Most puppies will develop a distaste for poop in fairly short order.
- Punishment. Dogs that were punished for pooping in the house may start to think poop is bad and eat the evidence, so to speak.
- Backyard buffet. If you pick up feces in the backyard only once a week or even less, you’re creating a minefield of poop bombs for your dog to eat.
- Malabsorption. Any other condition that may lead to poor nutrient absorption can in turn lead to stool eating. Not only may your dog want to eat his stool, because of those tasty undigested nutrients, but he may find your cat’s stool even more delightful.
- Harsh methods of housetraining . this often cause anxiety.
- Scavengers. As mentioned earlier, dogs are natural scavengers that are attracted to scent. They are not repulsed by feces as are us humans. And if the opportunity presents itself, they might just take it.
- Loneliness. Some dogs react to loneliness by eating poop.
- Parasites. Intestinal parasites that absorb the nutrients your dog should be getting from his food could be another reason your dog is craving stool. Some parasites in a dog’s body will leach away nutrients that the dog needs. Tapeworms are a good example. Sensing this, a dog may eat poop to try to replace the nutrients she is losing to the parasites.
- Living with old or sick dog. Sometimes a healthy dog will consume stools from a weaker canine member of the household, especially in cases of fecal incontinence. Scientists hypothesize that this may be related to the instinct to protect the pack from predators.
- Stress. Dogs who are stressed (is he in a kennel all day?) may relieve stress by eating poop.
- Drugs such as steroids.
- Cleanliness. This is when a female dog cleans up after her puppies to keep the nest clean . This drive for cleanliness could also account for other dogs that “clean up” stool.
- Poor diet. Like underfeeding, the diet your dog needs will change throughout his lifetime. Puppies need puppy food, adult dogs need adult food, senior dogs need senior food, and many dogs have various health conditions or breed requirements that necessitate adding or adjusting types of food.
- Inappropriate association with real foods. Dogs who are fed in close proximity to their feces may make a connection between the odors of food and those of poop and will be unable to tell the difference.
- Boredom. If your dog is home alone all day with not much to do, and there happens to be some poop within his reach, he may just find a new way to entertain himself and get a little treat in the process.