4 Ways to Stop Your Dog from Eating his Own Poop
Do you get slobbering kisses from your dog every day? You might want to rethink this, especially if your dog has a tendency to eat his own poop. As gross as it is to us, coprophagia (feces consumption) is actually a fairly common behavior among dogs and puppies.
Why Dogs Eat their Own Poop
According to a 2012 study by researchers at UC Davis, they made several observations about dogs that eat their own poop. For example, they noticed that poop consumption was more common among multi-dog households, and females were more likely to eat poop than males.
Coprophagia can be caused by both health and behavioral reasons. You should talk with your vet or pet behaviorist to see if any of the following problems are affecting your dog.
Your Dog is Underfed
Your dog could be consuming poop because he is underfed. Some articles will state that dogs may also eat poop if they lack certain nutrients in their diet or are looking to replenish the good gut bacteria, but according to petMD, there has yet to be any concrete studies that prove this to be a common cause.
Intestinal parasites like hookworms and roundworms may indirectly cause your dog to consume his own stool by making it difficult for your dog’s body to absorb important nutrients and minerals.
One way of identifying whether your dog has intestinal parasites is by observing his stool. Diarrhea and white specks in the dog’s poop is a good indication that your dog is affected by intestinal parasites.
Health Conditions that Affect Appetite
Your dog may have developed a health condition that affects his appetite. For example, diabetes can affect a dog’s appetite by lowering the dog’s blood sugar level. While it’s rare among dogs, thyroid disease like hyperthyroidism may also cause your dog to have polyphagia (the medical term for excessive hunger).
Isolation and Loneliness
Dogs may eat their own poop out of anxiety and stress if they spend too much time alone. According to AKC, studies have found that dogs that are isolated from others and kept in kennels are more likely to develop a poop-eating habit.
Ways to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop
For obvious reasons, eating poop can cause problems for your dog’s health because the poop (especially if it is from another dog) may contain harmful bacteria and parasites. Here are some steps you can take to discourage your dog or puppy from eating his own poop.
1. Pick up the Poop ASAP
The first step is to get rid of the poop as soon as your dog defecates. Don’t give your dog an opportunity to take a nibble. Redirect your dog’s attention by throwing a ball or by giving him a toy. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to rehearse undesirable behaviors.
2. Squirt the Poop with Hot Sauce
You can make the poop undesirable for your dog by squirting some hot sauce, such as Tabasco or sriracha, on it. It may take a few tries but your dog will eventually realize that eating his own poop will only lead to an undesirable experience.
3. Use the Leave it Command
This is useful for dog owners that encounter a lot of poop when they take their dog out for a walk. When your dog tries to sniff a poop, gently tug his leash and say a command like “leave it”. Walk the dog away then give him a treat and plenty of praises.
4. Add Canned Pumpkin to their Meals
This is a hit-or-miss but adding a spoonful of canned pumpkin to your dog’s meal may discourage their poop-eating behavior. The pumpkin supposedly makes the poop taste bad for the dog. Adding a small amount of pineapple or meat tenderizer may also have the same effect.