Although it may seem a strange habit, the truth is that canine coprophagy is much more widespread than it may initially seem. There are several ways to prevent your dog from eating feces, but they would be useless if we did not locate the origin of the problem, to give it a solution.
I am going to show you the methodology that I use to prevent my dog from eating feces, either their own or from other dogs and / or animals. Although the most important thing of all, is to know the reason why it does it, so we are going to give a quick review of the possible reasons and of course to their respective solutions.
Dogs that eat feces due to lack of nutrients
Lack of nutrients or enzymes is the most common reason why dogs eat feces, thus complementing their lack. The reasons why a dog may have nutritional or enzymatic deficiencies are several:
- Feeding our dog with poor quality feed, or failing that with poorly balanced food.
- Liver or digestive disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Intestinal parasites
Poor quality feed can cause our dog to have serious nutritional deficiencies, which it tries to replace by eating its own feces or those of other animals. To solve this problem we simply feed our dog with quality feed and in a few weeks its deficiencies will have disappeared.
We must also watch that our dog is taking the right amount of food, because although we use a good feed, if the quantity is not correct, we will cause deficiencies.
If, on the other hand, it is a disease, we must locate it in order to provide it with adequate medication and thus prevent our dog from continuing to eat feces. Some diseases such as pancreatitis cause our dog to have digestive enzyme deficiencies, something they look for in their feces or the feces of other dogs.
Other diseases, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, for example, cause our dog to not absorb all the nutrients from the food it is digesting. This produces deficiencies that our dog tries to cover by eating the feces of other animals or his own.
Only a veterinaryn can determine if our dog suffers from any disease that instinctively feces him. Some tests need to be done to confirm these diagnoses.
It is also possible that it is not a disease but intestinal parasites, which also absorb nutrients, leaving our dog with significant deficiencies. Intestinal parasites can be eliminated in a simple way using pills that are administered quarterly with food.
But there are also some intestinal parasites like Giardias, capable of surviving these pills. This type of parasites must be eliminated with an antibiotic treatment prescribed by the vet. To determine what type of parasite it is, it is enough to carry out a stool analysis (very cheap in veterinary clinics).
Although these are the main reasons, there are others that are also common and that can be easily solved at general levels.
Dogs that eat feces due to hunger or anxiety / stress
Another reason why a dog eats feces is simply because of hunger, there are many people who, due to time need or because they are misinformed, wrongly feed their dogs.
A dog of less than three months must eat between four and six times a day, this does not mean that we should inflate it to eat, but that we must ration the daily amount of food in four or six feedings.
A dog of three to twelve months should eat three to four times a day, a dog of twelve months to eight or ten years should eat three times a day and adult dogs over ten years old usually indicate to us if they prefer three, two or just one take a day.
Spreading your food in several meals throughout the day will prevent you from being excessively hungry, in this way your desire to eat feces will also decrease.
When it comes to loneliness, anxiety or stress we must change the way we deal with the problem. Before leaving our dog alone at home we must go out with him for a walk and exercise, in this way we guarantee that he will take a good nap.
It is also a good idea to have it entertained, we can use some toys in which to put food inside, so that our dog is entertained trying to take out the food. These types of toys are called Kong Toys.
They are actually simple tricks to avoid separation stress that our dogs suffer when they are left alone at home, something that is even classified as disease. It is much more common than many think and responsible for our dog eating his feces or blunt things, for example.
Dogs eating feces out of imitation or fear of punishment
Everyone knows that dogs are very intelligent and that is why from very puppies they begin to imitate us in many things, many more than we imagine. One of them is to see us collect their feces, they can appreciate in our faces or gestures that it is not something that we like and consequently they will try to collect them by themselves (and their only way is to eat them).
To avoid this unhygienic and healthy misconduct, we must try to prevent our dog from seeing us cleaning its feces at home, or even if possible, avoid seeing us pick them up on the street.
On the other hand, there are people who when they get home and see that their dog has relieved themselves inside, they get very angry and even yell or punish their dog. This is something we should never do, because some dogs are able to eat their own feces simply for fear of punishment or making us angry.
If we get home and our dog has done his needs inside, it is possibly because he has not been able to take it anymore or because we have not taught our dog to relieve himself outside the home: Teach a puppy or adult dog to relieve itself outside the home.
We should never scold him or even look at him badly, we should simply assess if he is sick and has not been able to hold on, if we have left too much time between departure and departure for him to do his things outside or if we have simply not taught him well.
Dogs that eat feces due to hygiene or lack of space
As strange as it may be for us on certain occasions, our dogs are actually very clean animals that try not to urinate or defecate near where they sleep. Sometimes when we have a puppy and we can not take it out because it does not have its compulsory vaccinations yet, we have the bad habit of making room for it in the kitchen, terrace or living room.
In these cases, the dog has no option to relieve himself outside the house, so when he does them indoors, sometimes he eats them simply for hygiene, as they do not have them near his bed or play area.
The same happens with adult dogs that spend a lot of time locked up at home or on a terrace, there are many occasions when they end up eating their own feces to maintain relative hygiene.
Solving this type of behavior is as simple as avoiding our dog or puppy to relieve himself near where he sleeps or plays, programming a routine outing to the park so that he learns to relieve himself outside the home.
If my dog eats feces is it dangerou
s for his health?
Although it is very common and probably our dog has eaten feces on occasion and nothing has happened to it…. The truth is that if it is danger, it can even be said that it is very dangerous for a dog to eat feces.
When our dog eats its own feces, it is introducing back into its body, the waste that its digestive system has not wanted to absorb. It is a form of intoxication based on toxins from your own body. It is also a totally unhealthy way of eating that can lead to other diseases.
But more dangerous is even when our dog eats feces from other dogs or animals. Most intestinal parasites, some as serious as the giardias themselves, are transmitted mainly by eating contaminated stool. If our dog eats feces from a dog that has parasites, our dog will easily catch it.
Even other much more serious diseases, some of them capable of ending the life of our dog, are transmitted or can be transmitted through feces.
How to prevent my dog from eating his feces or the feces of other dogs / animals?
Obviously, depending on the origin of the dog’s problem, we can act more or less correctly. IF our dog has nutritional deficiencies, as we have explained, it will be enough to correct them and wait a certain time that sometimes becomes a month or a month and a half.
If the reason is that you have a disease or parasites, only a veterinaryn will be able to diagnose and prescribe the correct medication to solve the problem.
When it comes to imitation, fear, hunger or stress, in addition to solving the problem from the source, we can also use a homemade trick to prevent a dog from eating feces.
It consists of giving our dog something that makes his feces smell different or have an unpleasant taste for him. This is achieved by adding pineapple chunks to our dog’s food for several days. We will begin to notice the effect from the third day and we will see how our dog stops eating his own feces.
If we do not have pineapple, veterinary clinics also sell products that are added to food so that the taste of the stool is different (unpleasant for the dog).
Preventing our dog from eating feces from other dogs or animals is more complicated,some dogs eat human feces Not to mention that most of them love it. We must locate the feces before our dog and sprinkle a little spice on them, this will make them like it much less.
Scolding them right on the spot can also help them understand that this is wrong, if we do it sooner or later it won’t do any good. And in impossible cases … the best recommendation we can offer is that you go to a professional trainer.