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COPROPHAGIA – THE ACT OF EATING FEACES

This is probably one of the most revolting behaviours a dog owner will have to deal with and we are often asked why some dogs, particularly young dogs do this. So here are some explanations.

CURIOSITY KILLED THE………..

It could just be inquisitive behaviour!

All dogs discover the world around them with their noses and territory mark along the way. Smells are important, as they give your dog a lot of information. Faeces is strong smelling (something that is not at all off-putting to your dog) and may even give off the odour of previously digested food. This may be enough for your dog to investigate further!

  • Small puppies may be influenced by their mother, who constantly licks and cleans her pups. But this behaviour is soon forgotten.

Scavenging

Most dogs, if given the opportunity, will steal food, dig up and eat the cats poop, roll and ingest the Hadada droppings and basically roll  in, chew and eat things that we would find disgusting! This is normal dog behaviour.

Punishment

If a dog is punished repeatedly for soiling in the house or in an area that isconsidered inappropriate, it may resort to faeces eating to avoid getting into trouble.

Medical conditions

There are some medical conditions that can lead to coprophagia, so if  poop  eating is a relatively new behaviour for your dog , it is a good idea to get him/her checked out by your veterinarian who can,  if necessary , run tests to  rule out any underlying cause.

  • Malabsorption, malnutrition and certain gastro intestinal problems are just some conditions that could contribute towards this behaviour.

What can you do?

“Coprophagia can best be corrected by preventing access to stools, by thorough cleaning of the pet’s property, and by constant supervision when the pet is outdoors.”

Start with the basics.

  • Make sure that your dog is eating a well balance diet
  • Get him checked by the vet and keep your vet informed as to how he is getting on
  • Wait with your dog while he poops and clean up straight away
  • Discourage your dog from investigating other dogs poop by distracting him with a treat or a pull on the lead.
  • Never punish your dog for this behaviour, he will not understand. Rather use commands such as ‘leave it’ or call him to you and give a treat.

Some dogs never learn and will always have their noses (and mouths)  in the wrong place! If you don’t want to keep your dog on the lead during those forest walks and are at your wits end, consider the use of  a box or cage muzzle. A box muzzle enables a dog to drink and pant but not to pick up and chew any undesirable items!

Speak to your vet for more information.

 

“You wouldn’t think training your dog would include teachings to stop eating poop, but this relationship is full of all sorts of adventure.”

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