Some habits your pet displays could be weird, disgusting, and nauseating to you, the owner; you should know one thing, there is a reason behind it. One of the weirdest things your dog can do is to eat its poop; some take it to the extreme by eating off a cat’s litter box or eating poops on the way during a walk. However, it would be best to understand that this is quite normal for dogs.
The scientific term for dogs eating poop is “Coprophagia,” there are physiological and behavioral reasons your dog is snacking on poop. Some of the reasons are; the dog is stressed and bored, instincts, the dog has a medical condition, the dog learned it from its mother, and it is hungry.
There is a likely reason scientists discovered that dogs eat poop; they enjoy it. Dogs have a heightened sense of taste and smell; they can detect undigested proteins, fats, and nutrients in the poop.
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
Eating poops is quite normal for some animals. The scientific name for this act is coprophagy. You might either find your dog eating its poop, or sometimes, the poop of other animals like cats and other dogs. Even though poop-eating is considered normal in dogs, certain factors are responsible for this act.
Understanding these acts would help a dog owner handle coprophagy well when he notices his dog doing it. Some reasons dogs eat poops are;
Poop eating is seen to be considered a natural habit in certain stages of a dog’s life. When female dogs deliver new puppies, they clean their puppies’ poop by licking it. This act also helps to keep their area hygienic from diseases. As the pups are growing, they naturally copy this behavior from their mother by eating poop.
They could either eat their poop or other dogs’ poop. With time, as the pups grow older, especially about three to four weeks old, their mother stops this act. At this age, the dogs can feed on other foods. Naturally, they stop this act of poop-eating too.
A Result Of Boredom Or Stress
When a dog is bored, stressed, or anxious, it can eat poop to be calm. Although there has been no scientific proof to back this up, some experts believe that these factors could make dogs eat their poop. When a dog is bored due to being left alone for too long, it could end up eating its poop.
You do not need to punish them in addressing this issue, as this could further increase their stress and anxiety level. So instead, what you should do is stimulate the dog physically and mentally. Also, if you will not always be around to keep your dog occupied, you can get a dog walker to keep them company whenever you are away.
To Seek Attention
Dogs could exhibit certain attitudes and behaviors that you cannot overlook; you will need to attend to them. Their goal is to get your attention. By eating poop, you would certainly want to react to this. For instance, in the past, you might have yelled at your dog for grabbing poop with their mouth.
Most dogs are likely going to stop this act. However, some breeds could see this yelling as a form of play. So, whenever they want to get your attention to play, they will likely grab a poop again.
So, when you see your dog eating poop, you do not need to overreact. They could just be seeking some attention from you. However, if you are not cool with this attention-seeking strategy, you could train them to stop and reinforce other attention-seeking strategies, such as nipping or jumping.
A Result Of Medical Issues Or Medications
When you notice your dog eating poop, it is always best advised to find a way to curb it. However, after several attempts of curbing this habit, if your dog persists, then you should consider seeing a veterinary doctor for medical checkups. Your dog might be suffering from a medical condition.
You need to take an adult dog that suddenly starts eating poop to the vet immediately; it could be some illness such as weight loss, vomiting, and behavioral changes. The dog could also suffer from some medical conditions like gastrointestinal disease or intestinal parasites.
How To Stop A Dog From Eating Poop?
Although, poop-eating is considered to be common among dogs, especially puppies. If your dog is eating its poop, that could be harmless. However, feeding on other animals’ poops could expose both you and your dog to some harmful diseases.
So, it is always best advised that this habit be curbed as soon as possible. In a bid to stop your dog from eating poop, below are some tips you could follow;
Keep reading: Why Is My Dog’s Poop Soft? Should I Be Worried? [GUIDE]
Prevent Access to Poop Around
Your dog is likely to eat poop because it has access to it. Ensure that they are cleared immediately and clean the environment whenever there are feces. This helps to keep your dog away from poops. If other animals can poop around, do the same to their wastes. If you have got a cat, ensure its litter box is cleared after it has pooped or peed. Any other form of waste should be kept away from your dog.
Give Them Proper Training Early
When dogs display certain unwanted habits and behaviors, they must know that such behavior is unacceptable. Whenever you see signs of your dog eating its poop, always correct it immediately, so it does not get comfortable with it. Training dogs does not necessarily involve aggression and physical discipline. Most times, reassurance is the best way to train a dog.
Provide Necessary Care And Nutrition;
If your dog is eating its poop due to a lack of diet or hunger, a way of stopping this is to ensure it gets a balanced diet to meet all its nutritional needs. However, for causes due to medical illness, ensure you take it to a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. You must ensure your dog gets its meals at the proper time and gets a healthy meal in the right proportion.
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Why Do Dogs Eat Other Dogs Poop?
A dog will eat other dogs poop for the same reason it will eat its own. However, scientists have traced this to genetics. They claim that it is part of the genetics of dogs; since dogs are omnivores, they will forage and scavenge around to find stuff to eat and play with. They also love the taste and smell of carrion.
It has been discovered that dogs will eat different things that have no nutritional value because they look interesting or fun. It has been proven in a study conducted in 2018 that eating poop might be a trait inherited from wolves, dogs’ ancestors. Wolves poop outside their dens because their poop was filled with parasite eggs.
If a wolf is injured or sick, it will eat its poop to protect the entire pack from diseases and infections. On some occasions, other wolves will eat the poop; this is where the trait is inherited. This is also why dogs eat only poop that is no more than a day or two days old.
You should never resort to punishment when you find your dog exhibiting weird habits; there is a reason for it. So, no matter how gross it is, you should never hit your dog for eating its poop. It is best to take it to the veterinary doctor for a checkup and analysis.