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Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Dog Nutrition Dogs
Dogs have long been known to ingest their own - or someone else's - waste trails. This habit has generally been attributed to canines being scavengers, but recent science has provided greater insights into this odd behavior. Finally, you may be able to understand the reason behind your pup’s coprophagia, the scientifically appropriate way to say your dog eats poop.

Insufficient Nutrients

poo Dogs and other animals will seek nutrients from other sources if their current diet isn't cutting it.  If you're feeding your pup food low in essential vitamins and minerals, your pup’s instincts will keep it searching for better food. Trying a dog food made with all-natural, high quality ingredients may prevent your pooch from hankering for a more nutrient dense meal. If you are unable to afford higher quality brands, you can also add enzymes and probiotics to your pup’s diet. Dogs can also lack the ability to absorb nutrients if they are hosting a parasite. A bi-annual vet visit can help determine whether or not your pup has intestinal worms.


Behavioral Issues

sled-dog-363821_1920If pups were raised in spaces which were neglected, they could have easily accessed their poo after doing their business. This, in turn, can lead to a lifetime habit. However, if your dog is a mother, it’s natural for her to remove poop from her den to deter predators from being led to her litter. If your pup isn’t pregnant or nursing, or isn’t even a mama pup, chances are there are other behavioral issues at hand. Stress, anxiety and boredom can also coax dogs to eat feces. Many dogs exhibit symptoms of stress and anxiety in other ways. Talk to your vet about the cause of such behaviors to see how you can make your pooch more comfortable. Also, try interacting with your dog in a way that stimulates brain activity. This can be achieved through teaching new tricks, taking long walks, or even playing fetch. The best way to prevent your pup from resorting to poop purging is to remove poop where your dog walks, plays, or goes to the bathroom.


Unintentional Training

Have you ever chased your pup frantically around the house for a shoe or another prized possession? Many times our reaction to situations like these can be the reason pups do it in the first place. Do you yank the leash tightly? Do you say “no” in a stern tone? Our tone of voice and body language may communicate excitement to our pups. Over time our pooches view acting out as a game and will repeat their misbehavior. If you’re out on a walk and your dog points its nose to a rather unappetizing “snack,” be aware of how you’re communicating your response.


Because They Can

Of course, we can’t forget the most basic reason behind your pup’s stool-loving madness: just like people, each pup comes with a personality. In other words, some dogs just enjoy the taste! This is precisely why some ingest dung while others aren’t the least bit interested.

Bottom Line (no pun intended):

Resolve the issue with these quick and not-so-dirty tips: pick up poop, and add enzymes and probiotics to your pooch's diet.

Craig Davis

Craig is a lifelong pet owner and dog advocate with a special interest in animal and human longevity. He founded Vet Organics to develop an affordable, all-natural, safe and effective ear infection remedy for his dog, Lucy, whose chronic ear problems could not be solved by the vet.

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