You may have noticed a very weird, perhaps inhumane behavior that your pets often do. Maybe you find it eccentric, weird even. Sometimes, it might be even downright disgusting to look at or even think about. However, we have all seen it, and it certainly is happening, no matter how disgusting it may be. Have you observed your furry pets eating poop? As revolting as that may sound, we must first ask: Is it normal for your dog to eat poop? The answer is actually quite interesting.
Scientifically, the poop-eating behavior of dogs is called coprophagia. As weird as it may be for us, this behavior is actually common in our house pets. Of course, this breeds a whole host of problems: parasites, intestinal issues, infections and/or transmission of infectious diseases, medication going toxic, and of course, the disgust we experience as pet owners.
Should you be worried?
Actually, the answer is no, most of the time. Firstly, coprophagia is a totally normal canine behavior. This is just something that isn’t looked at as eccentric or out of the bounds of our dog’s set of tendencies to perform, just like how we may see coffee as something to drink or a basketball as something to dribble and shoot in a hoop. Dogs have a very indiscriminate palette, meaning they eat a much wider set of things than humans do because of their less care for taste.
Perhaps the most common misconception of pet owners, whenever their dogs eat poop, is that their dog might have nutritional deficiencies or their dogs getting hungry. However, this is not the case most of the time. Nutritional deficiencies in dogs nowadays are a very uncommon phenomenon, mostly because of the modern dog diet. Food standards and commercially available dog food in stores have a complete nutritional content fit for your pets. So if you feed your dogs with the usual pet store dog food, you’d have no problems at all.
It is another discussion, however, if you feed your dogs with homemade or home-prepared food that is not well balanced. You should also look out if your dogs are underfed or fed with an incomplete diet for more than several months at a time. It’s also important to note if your dog has a serious medical issue and is having trouble eating the complete diet. With that, eating poop may not be so helpful to your furry friend.
Poop-eating behavior and what to do with it
Dogs are naturally curious and explorative. Your puppies may explore their surroundings with their senses, and this doesn’t only include their nose. Of course, tasting things using their tongue and mouth may be a way for them to know more about their surroundings. Again, this is not an issue you should be worried about, as it is quite a normal behavior for canines. There are notable causes for reinforced poop-eating behavior, however. For example, dogs who are severely neglected and abused develop coprophagia due to anxiety and fear. Another reason is the lack of interaction between the dogs and their owners. Boredom and the absence of mental stimulation may cause dogs to turn to eat their poop.
Stopping the stool-eating behavior, should you really want it to, is possible. Since it is a socially disgusting and downright unacceptable behavior for humans, we must find a way to co-exist with dogs without having them eat poop around people. The first method is to prevent access to poop in the first place. Watch your dog in walks, dog parks, and interactions with other animals whenever possible. Removing stool in its environment would be the best way for the dogs to not attempt to eat it.
Another way would be to teach your dogs the commands “leave it” or recall commands such as “come.” This way, whenever a dog attempts to eat poop, you could either tell it not to or call it back to your side. Another way is to feed your pets in places away from where they poop. This way, the dogs’ natural instinct to separate food from stool would be reinforced. Giving them space to differentiate the two is a way to make sure a poop-eating behavior wouldn’t develop.
The conclusion of Coprophagia: What Is With Dogs And Eating Poop? Food, health concerns, and mental stimulation have been connected to dogs’ interest to and swallowing feces. The most important thing for pet owners to remember is that if their dog exhibits coprophagia behaviors, they should consult their veterinarian. This can rule out severe medical difficulties and determine how to stop the behavior. Additionally, pet owners should ensure that their canine companions receive proper nutrition and adequate exercise in order to keep them healthy and active. Finally, providing toys, games and other forms of mental stimulation can help prevent boredom which can contribute to coprophagia as well.