Several dogs can eat their own poop, this habit can facilitate the entry of parasites into the animal’s organism, in addition to worms and other diseases. Dog feces are far from being a good source of nutrients and can still be infected with various microorganisms harmful to the pet’s health.
Why do dogs eat their own feces?
There is no single cause for coprophagia, the problem of eating one’s own feces can be related to both physiological and behavioral factors. Therefore, it is always important to investigate the reasons that lead the dog to have this habit.
Lack of Nutrients:
The most common reason for dogs to eat their own feces concerns nutrition. Dogs with inadequate diets can resort to coprophagia as a way to get more nutrients, some animals have excessive appetite, eating their own feces to quench themselves.
In some cases, the habit of coprophagia may indicate poor nutritional absorption, caused by an existing health problem in the pet. Still, in dogs that follow a restrictive diet, they can present this bad behavior.
The stressed and anxious dog can acquire the habit of eating its own feces, this usually happens due to lack of adequate stimuli in the animal’s routine. So does the bored dog, who may adopt coprophagy as an attempt to distract himself.
When it comes to puppies, everything is new and the little animal is getting to know and explore the world. Therefore, it is common for coprophagy to happen out of mere curiosity.
If your puppy eats its own feces, it is important to correct it and show why it is wrong, since still a puppy is the best phase to train the dog and teach it what is right.
Food is a very important point to keep the pet nourished and healthy and balanced well-being. Feeds with a low nutritional quality can cause nutritional deficits, and the dog may try to replace it by ingesting its own poop.
It is always important to choose a dog food with ideal ingredients and rich in nutrients for the pet, according to the size, breed and age of the animal.
Need for attention :
In some cases, coprophagy can be motivated by the puppy’s need to get the tutor’s attention. This can happen both with a small animal that is bored, and with a puppy that still doesn’t know what is right or not.
Be aware of the attention given immediately after ingesting the feces, which can encourage the behavior. By rubbing the dog’s muzzle in the feces or giving verbal scolding, they make him associate the punishment, so the pet can ingest the feces to hide them.
Inadequate space :
If the feeder is very close to the place where the pet does its physiological needs, the chances of the animal eating its own poop are high, because the puppy can associate one thing and another, considering the feces as a “food”.
Genetic predisposition :
Some dog breeds are more predisposed to coprophagy. Thus, there is not much explanation for this behavior, which is simply genetic. Small breeds such as: Shih Tzu , Lhasa Apso, Pug , German Spitz and Yorkshire are usually more affected by this habit.
How to make the dog stop eating feces?
Identifying the causes of coprophagia is the first step to start treating it, as the treatment is directly linked to the reason why the dog ingests feces.
Some behaviors can be perceived by the tutor himself, but it is important to consult a veterinary doctor so that he can guide with the accurate diagnosis and indicate the best treatment.
Check out some tips on how to help solve the problem of coprophagia:
- If possible, collect the feces immediately after the little animal does;
- Do not use negative reinforcement techniques when teaching the pet where to eliminate. For example, use positive training , rewarding with snacks and toys;
- Offer quality feed and ideal for each pet;
- Try not to collect the feces in front of the pet. In some cases, this can lead you to want to “remove” them in your absence.