There are many types of poop eaters.
Some dogs only eat their own poop, other dogs love eating cat poop, and some special connoisseurs only enjoy grass-flavored poop, especially from horses and goats. Bird poop is also a delicacy that is in frequent demand by very many dogs.
If your dog is eating poop, you are definitely not alone.
It is actually a very common thing among dogs. Dogs are not humans, and they think and learn differently than we do. What smells good and what tastes good to them, can be very different from what smells good and tastes good to us.
However, for reasons of cleanliness and health (intestinal parasites), it is generally a good idea to stop your dog from eating poop.
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop
The most common reason for dogs to eat poop from other animals is simply because they enjoy the taste.
Other reasons for eating poop include stress, boredom, or a nutritional imbalance. When dogs eat their own poop it is usually because of one of these reasons.
1. Nutritional imbalance.
Poop eating can occur because the dog is lacking certain digestive enzymes. When this occurs, the dog will eat his own stool, to conserve those much needed enzymes. Studies have shown that insufficient vitamin B1 can cause stool eating.
Dogs will sometimes eat their own poop to relieve stress. This usually only occurs under extremely stressful conditions.
This has happened to my Shiba Inu twice; both times at the vet, when he was getting his shots. My Shiba Inu is extremely sensitive to handling, and to pain, so vet visits are always a high stress affair.
Different dogs will have different anxieties, fears and different stress triggers that may result in stool eating. For example, dogs with extreme separation anxiety may poop and then eat their own poop when left alone.
If dogs are left alone all day, with little very human contact, and very little to do; their only choice for self-entertainment may be to play with and eat their own poop.
Imagine if you were cooped up in the house all day with nothing to do; you would go a bit crazy as well. Think cabin fever and The Shining.
Puppies or young dogs may eat poop out of curiosity. Everything is new to a puppy so he may want to explore and manipulate all that he sees with his mouth; including poop. It is best to teach a dog not to eat poop as early as possible, so that it does not become a habit when he grows up.
5. Helping to clean up the den.
Harsh potty training techniques may cause some dogs or puppies to eat their own poop in an effort to appease us or avoid painful punishment. Some dogs may also see us cleaning up their poop in the house (den) and try to mimic that behavior. This is why many trainers suggest that we do not clean up potty mistakes in front of our dogs.
Stop a Dog from Eating PoopHere are some common techniques to stop your dog from eating poop -
1. Feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet.
This will keep your dog's digestive system healthy and provide him with all the nutrients that his body needs. An easy way to provide your dog with a balanced diet is through high quality dry kibble. Make sure your kibble has good protein sources; from meat rather than from grains, which are more difficult for our dogs to digest. Stay away from kibble that contains gluten (e.g. wheat gluten or corn gluten) which can cause intestinal issues and may contain contaminants.
2. Regular feeding schedule and supervision during poop time.
A regular eating schedule will also keep your dog's poop regular. This makes it easier to supervise and prevent your dog from eating his own poop. Scheduled feedings will also help to prevent overeating and obesity issues down the road.
3. Exercise your dog and keep him busy.
Play fun games with your dog, walk him regularly, and do frequent obedience training sessions. A well-exercised dog is better behaved at home and less likely to eat poop out of boredom.
Here are some common techniques to stop your dog from eating poop.
Try to reduce your own stress and keep your dog relaxed.
4. Keep the environment clean.
If there is no free poop lying about then your dog cannot engage in opportunistic poop eating.
5. Reduce stress.
Try to reduce your own stress and keep your dog relaxed. If you are calm, your dog will have an easier time staying calm as well. This results in a better quality of life for everyone, and will stop poop eating as a result of stress.
6. Teach your dog the "Leave-It" command.
This helps you teach your dog what are acceptable things to eat, and what are bad for his health. Some common house plants such as oleander are poisonous to our pets. Some common people food such as onions and chocolates are also poisonous to dogs.
7. Make the poop taste bad.
One of the most common ways to stop poop eating is to make the poop taste bad to your dog. However, this only works when you have full control of the environment. In addition, it only targets the symptoms of poop eating rather than addressing the issue at its source.
Frequently, poop eating starts at puppy-hood as a result of a puppy's curiosity. Therefore, supervise a puppy early on and teach him what are acceptable things to eat and that poop is not an acceptable hors d'œuvre.