Posted 7 months ago ago
Our doggies are cute and adorable but there are some habits they have which are rather disgusting.
At the top of that list, pooches eating their own poo has to be the most unsightly of their off-putting behaviour.
As gross as it may be to us humans, watching your dog eat poop is a reality you’ll need to get used to as a dog owner.
Whether it’s their own, horse manure, cat poo, or even from other dogs - they love it.
Not uncommon among dogs, the technical name for it is coprophagia, the eating of faeces.
Want to know why this disgusting habit is prevalent among our canine friends? From behavioural to health, here are nine reasons why dogs eat poop.
1. Medical conditions
There is a common misconception that dogs eating poop is linked to them having a nutrient deficiency or a medical problem. Although not common, if this is a new habit and out of the ordinary for your pooch then you may want to take them to the vets to get checked out.
2. Curious puppies
Puppies might be cute but they’re curious little creatures too. They’re finding their way in the world and will try and eat everything, unfortunately this also means eating their own poop.
It’s an important part of their development and something that most puppies eventually grow out of.
3. They enjoy it
It really is the most simplest explanation as to why dogs eat poop - they like the taste. It may be hard to understand but it is one of the most common reasons and isn’t usually a cause for concern.
It could also be a sign of boredom. If your dog senses that doing this will gain a reaction, they’re likely to carry on. They’re clever little things and they love attention, even if it is negative.
Make sure your dog is getting enough stimulation. Take them for lots of walks, play with them and generally make a fuss of them often. Dogs can get bored too.
5. Separation anxiety
Have you been leaving your dog for longer periods than usual? Are they displaying signs of stress or anxiety? This could be another explanation as to why your dog is eating poop. Eating something they shouldn’t, whether or not that’s poop, is a way of channeling their anxiety.
Your dog might simply be hungry so is filling up between meals on whatever they can find. Make sure you’re feeding your dog enough food and not leaving it too long between meals. Increased exercise and certain medications can increase appetite, speak to your vet if you need some advice on what and how much you should be feeding your dog.
Eating poop is a sign of cleanliness, especially with mothers trying to clean up after their puppies. This is completely natural and shouldn’t be discouraged, the mother is simply caring for her litter.
If your dog has an accident around the house and is regularly punished for it, they may eat their poop as a way to hide it from their owners. Try not to make a big thing of accidents so that they don’t feel inclined to hide the evidence.
9. Learned behaviour
If you have older dogs in the house, it’s likely that this could be a habit that has been picked up by watching other dogs do the same.
How to stop them eating poop
Eating poop should be discouraged as it could be bad for their health - it could contain parasites or in horse manure there could be traces of worming medication that is harmful to dogs.
There are ways you can stop your dogs from eating poop, they include:
- Remove temptation - if your dog is not yet house trained or they’ve made a mess in the garden, clearing it up straight away will help to remove temptation.
- Distract them - if you’re out on a walk, keep them entertained and distracted. If they are about to indulge in something nasty, call them over and keep them distracted.
- Reward them - dogs respond well to rewards, whether that's a treat, a game or just lots of love.
It’s important not to punish your dog for eating poop, it’s unlikely to work and they’ll simply try and hide their habit from you.
Did you know that your dog's poo can also reveal signs of poor health. Find out more here.