Coprophagia or feces eating is not an uncommon behavior for dogs and some are particularly predisposed to coprophagia. Consuming feces could be nutritional, metabolic or behavioral.
Veterinary Visit and Dietary Guidelines
Talk to your veterinarian about the coprophagia (or in laymen's terms poop eating) as your veterinarian may feel this is more common in dogs fed one meal a day or fed a low quality food. There are also theories that dietary deficiencies or malabsorption (unable to absorb nutrients in the small intestine) could be the culprit. If food is not completely digested, feces may appear to look like food to the dog.
There are commercially manufactured food additives that you can add to your dogs food that may make the feces repulsive to your dog. These additives have received mixed reviews and sometimes home remedies are a good solution. Try adding some canned, crushed pineapple to your dog's food, or adding some canned peas to the food or sprinkling enzymes like a meat tenderizer on top of the food. Before adding anything to the food, you should check with your veterinarian to be sure they are safe for your dog. If this behavior is due to stress, there are training and conditioning exercises you can try.
Prevention is the first step to managing your dog’s “poop du jour” habit. A simple start is to not allow your dog to eat poop and go back to the basics of house training. When your pooch wants outside, only allow that to happen with supervision and you will probably need a leash or kennel lead to start -- breaking the habit can be challenging. As soon as your dog goes to the bathroom take him back inside the house. Then you'll go back outside without the dog and immediately clean up the feces. If your dog is really crafty and smart, be sure he doesn't see you cleaning up and get some entertainment value out of it.
To help you control when your dog needs to go to the bathroom, follow these feeding tips. Ideally, adult dogs should eat at least two meals and young dogs three or more meals in a day. If you are using food as rewards during your training sessions, you can start practicing during meal times. With challenge feedings (specific feeding times and limited access to food) you also are creating a more predictable elimination schedule for your dog. Think about it this way, what goes in on a schedule comes out on a schedule. With this management tool, your dog should show improvement but it may take several weeks and more likely it will take months to see an actual behavior change for the positive. Give your dog time and don’t test too soon or you’ll be right back to square one.
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