Are you tired of your dog eating poop and looking for ways to solve this smelly problem? You’re not alone, as coprophagia, or poop eating, is a common and frustrating issue faced by many dog owners.
There are several reasons why dogs indulge in this undesirable behavior, ranging from boredom and hunger to stress, health issues, or even instinct.
As a veterinarian, I’ve come across this tricky issue many times and understand your concerns. In this article, I’ll share some practical and natural solutions to help you deal with your dog’s poop-eating habit.
Not only that, but we’ll also delve into what to avoid and when it’s vital to reach out to your vet. So, let’s help your furry friend kick this unhygienic habit.
- Understand the common reasons why dogs eat poop and strategies to address the problem.
- Explore natural solutions to discourage your dog from ingesting feces and keeping them healthy.
- Know when it’s important to seek professional advice from your veterinarian.
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
There are several reasons why your dog might be eating poop, a behavior known as coprophagia. Let’s delve into some common causes:
Habit: Some dogs learn to eat poop from their mother or littermates or develop the behavior as puppies and never grow out of it. This habit can happen in the early stages of life while they’re exploring their surroundings.
Hunger: If your dog isn’t fed enough food, has an increased appetite due to medical conditions or medications, or finds undigested food particles in feces, they might resort to eating poop to alleviate their hunger. Ensuring a proper diet is essential to prevent this cause of coprophagia.
Boredom, stress, or anxiety: Just like us humans, dogs may exhibit peculiar behaviors when they feel down, lack stimulation, or are lonely. Eating poop might serve as a way for them to cope with these emotions.
Attention: If your dog feels ignored or has been punished for eating poop before, they might repeat the behavior to get a reaction from you. Take care not to accidentally reinforce this behavior by giving them too much attention when they indulge in coprophagia.
Medical reasons: Some dogs might resort to eating poop due to underlying health problems that affect their digestion, nutrient absorption, or metabolism. Possible medical causes include internal parasites, malabsorption syndromes, diabetes, or side effects of medications. If you suspect a medical issue, consult your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Mothers and puppies: Did you know it’s actually pretty normal for mother dogs to eat their puppies’ poop? It may sound gross, but it’s their way of keeping their little ones clean and safe from predators and parasites. Puppies might even join in on the fun, out of curiosity or imitation as they explore their surroundings.
How Can I Stop My Dog from Eating Poop?
So, your dog has developed a habit of eating poop, and you want to put an end to it.
Don’t worry; you’re not alone in this struggle. I see many owners with the same concerns. As with any behavior change, breaking a habit takes time, but with persistence, you should be able to put an end to your dog eating poop for good.
Below is my step-by-step recommendation to stop your dog’s poop-eating behavior.
How Do I Stop My Dog from Eating Dog Poop Naturally?
- Evaluate your dog’s diet. Sometimes, a deficiency in their nutrition can lead them to seek what they need from poop. Ensure you’re feeding your dog high-quality food. If needed, consider adding a multivitamin to make sure your furry friend gets all the essential nutrients.
- Keep your environment clean. Regularly cleaning your yard and picking up your dog’s stool immediately after defecation limits their access to fresh poop. When walking your dog, keep them on a leash and steer them away from any feces they might stumble upon.
- Training is key. Teach your dog the “leave it” command, which helps them understand that they need to ignore the poop and focus on you instead. Always use positive reinforcement and reward them when they successfully avoid eating poop. Patience and consistency will pay off in the long run.
- Address emotional issues. Anxiety, stress, and boredom can all lead to poop-eating, but there are solutions to this. Ensure your dog gets enough mental stimulation, physical exercise, and attention from you. Remember, a happy dog is less likely to turn to such behaviors.
- Muzzle Training. If all else fails, you can consider using a muzzle when taking your dog out for walks or potty breaks. It prevents them from eating feces while under your supervision.
- Regular health checks. Lastly, always keep your dog’s health in check. Regular visits to the veterinarian help prevent issues like diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive problems, which could be encouraging their poop-eating behavior.
Poop Eating Deterrent Products
If natural solutions are not enough, there are several products available I’ve found effective in helping:
Taste deterrents: Products like NaturVet Coprophagia Stool Eating Deterrent and For-Bid can be added to your dog’s food or water. They contain natural ingredients such as yucca or parsley, which make their poop taste bitter or unpleasant to discourage them from eating it.
Behavioral training: You can teach your dog to leave the poop alone by using positive reinforcement or making the poop aversive with the help of products like PetSafe Remote Trainer.
It’s crucial to use these products safely and effectively, following the instructions and your veterinarian’s advice.
What Not to Do If Your Dog Eats Poop
When trying to stop your dog from eating poop, it’s important to avoid making common mistakes that can actually worsen the issue or harm your dog’s health and well-being. Without knowing it, you could actually be making the problem worse or reinforcing the behavior.
So, what are some things you should not do if your dog eats poop?
- Firstly, do not punish your dog or yell at them for eating poop. This can increase their stress, anxiety, or confusion and make them associate poop with negative consequences. Instead, try positive reinforcement techniques to teach and encourage good behavior.
- While it may seem obvious, it’s best to avoid making your dog eat or smell poop. Not only is it ineffective, but it’s also considered cruel and counterproductive. Your furry friend won’t understand the lesson you’re trying to teach, and it could harm the trust between you and your pet.
- Do not ignore the problem or hope that it will go away on its own. This can allow the behavior to become ingrained and harder to change, exposing your dog to health risks. Address the issue as soon as possible, using the appropriate measures.
- If your dog does eat poop, steer clear from using human cleaning products that are not safe or suitable for dogs. For example, do not use human toothpaste, mouthwash, or Listerine, as these can contain toxic or harmful ingredients to dogs.
Focus on understanding the root cause, and consult with a veterinarian for guidance on proper techniques to help your dog break this habit. Remember, patience and consistency are key as you work together with your dog to overcome this challenge.
How Can I Make My Dog’s Mouth Clean After They Ate Poop?
Okay, so your dog ate some poop. Unfortunately, what’s done is done – but you’ll probably want to wash out your dog’s mouth as soon as possible!
But cleaning your dog’s mouth after they eat poop isn’t just for your benefit – it’s actually really important! It helps prevent the spread of bacteria, parasites, or diseases, and it also gets rid of that unpleasant odor.
Here are some steps to help you clean your dog’s mouth effectively and safely:
- Wear gloves and remove any leftover feces from your dog’s mouth with a clean cloth or a dental wipe. Doing so will help in starting to remove the offensive odor and bacteria.
- Rinse your dog’s mouth with water or use an oral antiseptic that is safe for dogs. Adding dental additives to their water bowl is one way to freshen their breath.
- Brush your dog’s teeth. Use toothpaste that’s specially formulated for dogs and a dog toothbrush or a finger brush for this task. Never use human toothpaste, as it can be toxic to your furry friend.
- Next, use a pet-safe mouthwash to swish their mouth out and remove any lingering bacteria. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure the proper dosage and safety for your dog.
- 5. Dental chews or treats can be given to your dog to help clean their teeth and mouth. These products promote good dental hygiene and keep your dog’s mouth occupied and away from consuming any more poop!
- Let your dog’s saliva naturally disinfect their mouth by allowing them to lick themselves or chew on a toy. Saliva has natural antibacterial properties that can help in minimizing germ spread after your dog has eaten poop.
Products like Fresh Dog Clean Mouth Water Additive and Solid Gold Stop Eating Poop Chews can help with the task of cleaning your dog’s mouth. For more solutions, or if your dog suffers from bad breath generally, see our article on how to freshen your dog’s breath.
By following these steps, you can make sure your furry friend’s mouth stays clean and fresh after they’ve indulged in a poop snack. Keeping their mouth squeaky clean not only helps maintain their overall health, but also makes your cuddle time extra enjoyable and odor-free!
My Dog Eats Poop – When Should I Contact My Vet?
While poop-eating is usually just a bad habit, I have seen cases where it indicates a problem that needs addressing, such as a dietary imbalance and a problem with digestion.
So, when should you contact your vet about your dog eating poop? Here are a few signs and symptoms that warrant a visit to the veterinarian:
- If eating poop is a new or sudden behavior that is out of character for your dog.
- If eating poop is accompanied by other signs of illness, such as weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, or changes in appetite or coat condition.
- Eating poop does not stop despite trying various methods of prevention and intervention for several weeks or months.
A vet can perform a physical exam and run some tests to rule out any medical causes of coprophagia and prescribe appropriate treatment if needed.
How do I stop my dog from eating cat poop?
One way to stop your dog from eating cat poop is to supervise your dog when they are around the litter box and redirect their attention to a toy or treat. You can also try placing the litter box in an area that is inaccessible to your dog. Additionally, you can train your dog to “leave it” or “drop it” on command to discourage them from eating things they shouldn’t.
Why is my dog eating rabbit poop?
There are several possible reasons a dog might eat rabbit poop such as curiosity, instinct, coprophagia, or nutritional deficiencies.
Why does my dog eat poop in the winter?
One possible reason why your dog may eat poop in the winter is because of the smell. The cold weather can make the poop more aromatic and appealing to your dog’s nose. Another possible reason is the texture. The frozen poop can have a crunchy or chewy consistency that your dog may enjoy. A third possible reason is curiosity. Your dog may be intrigued by the different appearance or taste of the poop in the winter and want to explore it with their mouth.
Does pineapple stop dogs from eating their own poop?
No, feeding your dog pineapple is not an effective method to stop them from eating their own poop. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
So, how can you stop your dog from eating poop? It’s all about understanding the reasons behind this behavior and finding solutions that work for your furry friend.
First, consider whether your dog might be eating poop due to nutritional deficiencies. If you suspect this might be the case, consult with your veterinarian and make sure your dog is on a balanced diet. You can also try adding probiotics to your dog’s diet to support proper digestion and intestinal health.
Next, think about using positive reinforcement and redirection. Whenever your dog shows interest in poop, redirect their attention to a more suitable activity or use a treat as a reward for not engaging in the behavior.
Keep your dog’s environment clean by picking up their stool as soon as possible after defecation. This will help reduce temptation and the opportunity for them to engage in coprophagia. When walking your dog, keep them on a leash and train commands like “look” or “leave it” to help manage their focus during walks.
By combining these steps with patience and consistency, you can help your dog overcome their poop-eating habit. It might take some time, but with perseverance, you can help your canine companion lead a healthier, happier life.