Humans find the thought of dogs eating poop (called coprophagia) disgusting, but the unsavory fact is that some dogs find eating their own feces or the feces of another animal, pleasurable.
A dog may eat her own stool or that of another animal simply because she likes the taste. For example, cat poop is high on the list of tasty treats because of its high protein content and smell, but dogs consider deer and rabbit poop pretty scrumptious, too.
Although coprophagia is sometimes the result of a variety of medical conditions (including pancreatitis, intestinal infection or food allergies), most cases are behavioral in nature.
Some Facts About Coprophagia
- Some people think that dogs eat their poop because the dog instinctively knows when the food she is fed lacks a certain nutrient, but even dogs that are fed high quality diets packed with nutrients will eat their poop or the feces of other animals.
- Dogs will play or eat their poop if they are bored or have no toys to play with. The poop becomes a substitute toy that is played with before being eaten.
- Dogs are creatures of habit so poop eating can become a pleasurable habit that is hard to break.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Poop?
- The only really effective treatment for a poop-eating dog is to be vigilant and remove the feces as soon as the dog has toileted so there is no chance of reinforcement.
- As much as you can manage it, remove the poop as soon as it hits the ground so that your dog can’t indulge in the behavior.
- There are some foods that you can add to your dog’s meal such as pineapple which apparently makes the poop taste unpleasant, but some dogs won’t eat their food with pineapple added to it. There are some substances that can be purchased from a veterinarian that can also be added to food and make the poop taste unpleasant, but this only works for some dogs.
- If your dog eats the poop of other animals, keep her on leash outdoors to prevent her from practicing her unpleasant habit.