I could not believe it when I saw him do it. But sure enough there he was with a mouthful of his own poop, how disgusting it was! So I did what I always do, I Googled it and here is what I discovered. The act of eating poop has a technical word; coprophagia and means simply that dogs eat poop and that it is a natural thing too.
Why dogs eat poop
- They do not have the social considerations that people do, this means that they do not look at poop as something bad. To them it is just another taste sensation.
- Mom dogs eat it to keep the den clean from their puppies waste.
- Puppies may see their mom doing it and so they do it too
- Puppies eat it because it has the same texture of the food they eat
- Your dog may not be getting the right vitamins and minerals in his diet and is eating to get them.
- Some dogs eat poop to hide something they feel they should not have done, this is especially true for the dog that has been disciplined poorly for any pooping mistakes he has made in the past.
- Boredom is a good way for dogs to start playing and then eating their poop
- Dog may have worms and simply feel hungry all the time
- Dog may be seeking attention. Like children any attention is better than no attention
- Dog may be lonely and feel stressed or anxious. If you dog is locked up alone for long periods of time poop eating can become a habit and a way they de-stress.
- Dogs are notorious scavengers and will eat
- Some foods do not break down in poop and so they eat it again.
- Dogs will eat cat poop because it is more nutritious. Cat food contains many higher nutrients and more protein that the dog is missing.
Now that we have discovered that eating poop can be done for a variety of reasons, it can also indicate a health issue, such as starvation, pancreas problems, nutritional deficiencies and lack of certain enzymes in the digestive system. It is true that a dog can starve even while consuming great amounts of food if he cant digest the right nutrients so do not just chalk up poop eating to boredom, see a veterinarian if you have any concerns.
So as natural and even common as this little habit may be, it is not a good thing to allow it to continue. No one wants poopy breath kisses. Besides that the act of eating poop can expose your dog to wormy parasites, bacterial infection, tonsillitis, stomach upsets and a higher risk for parvo and distemper.
A little side note, while researching this lovely topic, my neighbor told me that her pug had surgery because he had been eating cat poop. She went on to explain that it was not the poop but the kitty litter that was the culprit. Dogs can not digest kitty litter and their bellies will swell and they will vomit and have masses of diarrhea. In my next article we will be discussing ways to get your dog to stop this most disgusting habit.