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Poop-Eating Pooches

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Isn't your beloved doggie just the cutest thing ever? He is sooooo adorable and sweet... except for that tiny little habit of eating his own poop! YUCK! WHY ON EARTH does he do it and how in the world do you get him to stop!?

This charming behaviour is (thankfully!) usually associated only with young dogs and is something they often grow out of. However, some adult dogs acquire a taste for poop too and their habit is much more difficult to break. This habit is very rarely associated with medical conditions such as liver or gastrointestinal disease, and there is also no scientific evidence to support that it is due to a nutritional imbalance. Your vet will be able to check your poop-eating mutt and decide if any medical conditions need investigating.

The scientific term for poop eating is coprophagia and it's often associated with long periods of understimulation or boredom, coupled with access to faeces (obviously). Some dogs may even regress in their house training and develop this habit as a result of changes in their routine or environment, or in response to anxiety from separation or noise phobias. Other dogs simply just like the way poop tastes (believe it!)... cat litter box "candy" is often a favourite, as are frozen "poopsicles" in many cold climate countries!

So, what can you do about this? Well, simply... prevention, prevention, prevention. This means picking up poops immediately and keeping the garden as poop-free as possible. Not a very high-tech solution, we know, but here are a few more tips:

  1. Changing to a veterinary prescription diet which is highly digestible and low in fibre will decrease faecal volume and may be helpful.
  2. If your dog is still on puppy food, switching to adult food will make the poops less palatable.
  3. Feeding twice daily, always at the same time of day, will help regulate toileting behaviour; and regular exercise helps keep your dog tired so that he is... uhhh... less easily distracted.
  4. Teach your dog the command "leave it!" You may laugh, but if this becomes well-entrenched, you can easily stop Rover from poop snacking by telling him to simply "leave it!" Furthermore, distracting him from eating his poop with some other ACTUAL treat may give you the time you need to clear the poop away first.
  5. Adding meat tenderizer or pineapple to the food may help as they aid in digestion. This is because it's believed that the more undigested the food is, the tastier (really?) the poops are for dogs! There are certain products on the market that can be tried that work in similar ways and you can speak to your vet to find out more.
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