Eating poop is a common and disgusting problem for many dog owners. Who on earth would like it when their doggy frantically rushes to the woods to have a feast of excrement, or when in the countryside, they have fresh cow manure for lunch? Your dog may also come to your cat’s tray to eat fresh poop or even eat their own poop right in the middle of a walk. So why do our lovely pets have such “specific” tastes and what can be done about it?
Why do dogs eat poop?
Alas, there is no single correct answer to this question. There could be many possible reasons, both mental and physiological.
First, let’s take a look at the most evident case when females eat their newborn babies’ poop. This is a case where there’s nothing to worry about – this happens for the natural hygienic aim of keeping the lair (in our case, a room or a playpen) clean and free of any unpleasant smells. This is the legacy of wild dogs when the smell of a puppy’s excrement could attract predators to the lair.
While it is clear why females eat excrement after their babies, other cases are much more confusing. If your dog eats poop, analyze their diet carefully. Very often, the lack of energy results in eating poop. Even dogs which were never spotted doing that, can eat poop in winter, during pregnancy, or when feeding puppies.
Eating excrement can be the evidence of an unbalanced diet. Even if a dog is slightly overweight, and there’s no chance of a lack of energy, there is a risk that the pet has a shortage of some particular nutrients. This deficiency can be associated either with low digestibility of individual substances by a particular organism or with a disease that does not give the animal an opportunity to absorb the necessary amount of nutrients.
One more reason for a dog’s interest in excrement may be a helminth infestation.
Dwelling more on the matter…
If a puppy eats their own excrement, most likely they have some dysbacteriosis. In this case, adding enzymes or a course of probiotics can help solve the problem. But sometimes, when it comes to puppies, eating poop can be the result of the punishment for uncleanliness in the apartment.
Most often our pets (dogs and cats) eat excrement if their body misses some microelements. By the way, if you have a dog and a cat and your dog eats poop after the cat, it is strongly advised to check not only the dog’s health but your cat’s health as well. Probably, cat’s poop has a very attractive smell because the food hasn’t been digested fully due to low acidity or other physiological matters.
Eating manure (cow, horse, etc.) is almost considered to be a norm. There is even a trend, according to which it is advised to let your dog eat fresh and ecological manure when possible. Most often, if the dog likes to eat the manure of herbivores, it is caused by a lack of fiber and enzymes. High interest in manure is eliminated by adding uncleaned (black) rumen to the dog’s diet.
The worst case is eating human excrement. No one can define a single reason for that. There are several widespread versions. This can be caused by worm infestation or by the lack of microelements, enzymes or energy. There’s also an opinion that dogs simply find human excrement tasty because of a rich diet. However, all these versions are quite disappointing.
Apart from physical reasons, eating excrement can have a psychological background. It can be a “bad habit” or a response to punishment, stress or a lack of attention.
What should you do if your dog eats excrement?
- The first thing is to consult a veterinary nutritionist to analyze the existing diet.
- It would also be great to have a biochemistry and feces analysis.
- Give your dog an anthelmintic, then pass a course of probiotics, coupled with a vitamin and mineral complex.
- Don’t forget to diversify the dog’s diet.