What To Do With Dogs That Eat Poop
Okay, we know that this is a gross subject… so we hope you’re not reading this before lunch! But like it or not (most likely not), this is a subject we need to talk about. Believe it or not, there are many dogs out there that like to eat their own (or other dog’s ) poop. It is as disgusting as it sounds, but it is what it is. Many pet parents have had to go through horror of seeing their pooch grab the forbidden snack and try to stop them from eating it – and not to mention the poor souls that figured out that their pet is eating poop by smelling it on their breath while the dog was licking their face. Yikes! But, this is not just a nasty habit – even if it is a horrifically disgusting one – and it can signal that your pooch has an underlying issue that’s causing his weird eating habits. In other words, dogs that eat poop may be trying to tell you something is amiss. So before we move on to ways you can stop it, let’s talk about a few of the reasons why it could be happening.
There are many different reasons why dogs eat poop. This is a common problem that many dog owners encounter. Sometimes it has to do with a nutritional deficiency, while other times, it smells too good to pass up! Many dogs love the taste of goose and duck poop – to them, it’s like caviar. Remember that their scent is endlessly more acute and stronger than our own. The smells from the poop might be too hard to resist! Other times, it’s because they are receiving negative attention from its owner, and are bored or hungry. Perhaps he is cleaning up his living area and doesn’t want you to find the evidence. Despite what you may think, there are plenty of reasons for your pet’s horrible habits- and knowing what’s driving your pooch to this can help you break the habit once and for all. So without further ado, let’s see what you can do to put a stop to your pet’s poop eating practice!
A Healthy, Balanced Diet
It all starts with the gut. By feeding your dog a high quality and well balanced diet, you’re ensuring that his digestive system is healthy and his overall immune system properly supported. The so-called gut flora needs to be balanced and in check – otherwise things might go awry. Still, what does all that have to do with the fact that your nasty little gremlin is eating literal crap – and not the metaphorical one? By providing dogs that eat poop with the nutrients they need, these dogs will be less likely to nosh on poop. Make sure that any food you give your dog has enough protein from meat. Stay away from kibble that has too much wheat or that contains gluten, which has been known to cause digestive issues. So, a balanced and rich diet with all the needed vitamins, proteins, fibers, and nutrients is an imperative for building a strong digestive system and healthy gut. Also, you can rely on those healthy dog probiotics. Serving as healthy treats, they can revitalize and rebuild that gut flora and work towards minimizing the need to eat poop.
A Stress-Free Lifestyle
Anxiety and stress make us all do weird things, your pooch included. Your dog may be eating poop because he is stressed out. Even if you can’t send him out for a relaxing day at the spa, there are other ways to make your dog’s life less stressful. For starters, you can be more relaxed. Dogs are intuitive and pick up on our moods. If you’re stressed or depressed, your dog can become stressed too. Not only will your dog’s life improve, so will yours – it’s a win-win situation! Another reason for stress in a canine’s life is changes in his routine. Pets love routine and knowing how their day will look like – so make one for them and stick to it. Schedule feeding and walks at the same time, and organize your grooming chores accordingly. What is more, a neglected doggo might resort to poop eating from that inner turmoil: if you are too hard on your pet, or resort to neglect – the result might be poop for food! A pupper from a loving and caring environment will be less likely to resort to this foul practice.
Clean Up That Poop!
If your dog does most of his poop buffet eating in your yard, clean it up. If there’s no poop for your dog to eat, you won’t have to worry about chasing your dog around, trying to get him to drop that nasty business. It’s simple math! After all, cleaning the poop immediately is the best solution for you as well – no one likes to have a stinky minefield in the backyard. To avoid nasty surprises at the bottom of the shoe, clean it up as soon as the deed is done.
The same goes for the park or walks. If your dog doesn’t find a poop to consume in their own backyard, they might find one in the park or on the sidewalk. This is because some other, irresponsible owner left their dog’s mess straight out in the open. To ensure this issue does not appear, you should always pick up after your pet. Simple poop bags or scoopers are easy to carry, quick to use, and do the trick in an instant. That way the chances of eating foul things is kept to a total minimum.
Keep Your Dog Busy
If boredom is the key factor in your dog’s poop eating habit, plenty of exercise will keep him busy. Take your dog for daily walks, hikes or runs. Schedule lots of play time and sign your dog up for obedience and skills training. You’ll find that once a dog has been properly exercised, there will be less poop eating due to boredom. Similarly, you can try occupying his active mind with interactive or puzzle toys for dogs – these will keep any smart cookie entertained for hours on end. A dog that is left to “exercise” and “play” in a neglected and cramped yard, without any company or supervision, will quickly get bored and sad. And when that happens, munching on poop becomes such an attractive and fun idea – in the mind of a doggo. Be the company your dog needs. And if you have a small backyard that is not fit for playing, take a walk to a nearby park – it will be good for both of you!
Teach The “Leave It” Command
If you can’t completely prevent your pet from craving doodie, the best thing you can do is to stop it on spot. By teaching your dog the “Leave It” command, you’re telling him what is and isn’t appropriate to put in his mouth. This works for a host of items you don’t want your dog chewing on – including those new designer shoes you just bought. With early training, a strict and assertive voice and positive reinforcement, you can train your dog to not consume poop, and to avoid it altogether.
Using A Muzzle
Sometimes, there’s no way to make your pooch stop putting nasty stuff in his mouth unless you physically restrain him from doing so. This can happen during the period of fixing the origin of the issue. If your dog picks up some poop to snack on during a walk or at an off-leash dog park, a muzzle can help break this habit. If he can’t open his mouth, it’ll be hard for him to eat the offending treats left behind by other dogs. So, if the issue got out of hand and you are in the process of fixing it, a muzzle can help keep things civil until the need to consume poop stops.
Bad Tasting Poop
Although we think that poop would taste horrible, our four-legged besties seem to think that it’s a yummy treat. Luckily, there are ways to make it less appealing to our dogs. If your dog is eating his own poop, try mixing in pineapple, pumpkin or store-bought deterrent supplements with his food. That way, once he sniffs out his own waste, he won’t be tempted to munch on it. Be sure to check with your vet to make sure your dog isn’t allergic to these foods before you give it to him.
Enzymes to the Rescue
Oftentimes, the reason why your pooch is craving poop snacks is that his gut flora is not in the right balance- the bad bacteria are overtaking the beneficial microorganisms in his gastrointestinal tract. The body is signaling that something’s amiss and he’s turning to his own (or other dog’s) waste to up the count of the good bacteria in his gut. The reason for this might be a weakened immune system, bad diet, or a course of antibiotics that left his intestinal flora depleted: either way, a quality supplement that has enzymes and improves general digestion is needed for your pet to regain bacterial balance again. Increasing the enzyme’s in your dog’s diet can help break food down and allow them to absorb more of the nutrients for better digestive health.
What do you do with dogs that eat poop? Are there tricks or tactics that have proven to work for you? Share them with the rest of the community – leave your tips in the comment section below.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
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