Dogs are absolutely adorable and perfect—well, except maybe when it comes to their poop-eating habits!
Even though coprophagy (the fancy term for poop-eating) is natural for dogs, we dog owners can’t help but find it strange and unsanitary. Imagine your dog asking for a kiss after having munched on some poo!
And that’s reason enough to dive into why your dog munches on its own (or other animals’) poop and practical home remedies to stop your dog’s odd behaviour.
Why Dogs Eat Poop?
Dietary and nutritional issues
More often than not, coprophagia boils down to your dog’s diet. If their food lacks essential nutrients, they could be seeking those nutrients elsewhere—yes, even poop.
Additionally, certain ingredients in food could make their poop appealing the moment it hits the ground. Hence, the poop-eating habit.
Inherited behaviour from wolves
Nature vs Nuture
Underlying health issues
Sometimes, coprophagia (the practice of eating poop) can be linked to underlying medical conditions such as the presence of parasites, diabetes, thyroid disease, and so on. Especially in older dogs, cognitive decline or sensory illnesses may be the culprit.
The bottom line (pun intended) is that regardless of the reason, one thing is clear – if left unchecked, coprophagia can lead to health issues for your pup. More than that, it could put a strain on your cuddle sessions.
6 home remedies to stop your dog from eating poop
Feed your dog with a complete and nutritious diet
Nutrition works the same for dogs and humans: if we don’t get the nutrients our bodies need, we’re likely to eat more and more junk.
A good diet starts with premium dog food. This means:
- 100% real ingredients, from meat to vegetables
- No artificial flavouring
- Easy to digest
Remember that puppies, adults, and seniors have different energy levels and, thus, nutritional needs. So, adjust the portions accordingly and make sure they get just what they need at regular times—no more, no less.
Avoid overfeeding. Too much food can lead to digestion problems, making their poop still smell and taste like what they ate.
Keep your dog active and "distracted.”
If you’ve sorted out your dog’s diet but still catch them in the act of poop-eating, it could be boredom or stress creeping in.
To keep those negative emotions at bay, keep your dog occupied. These natural remedies are proven to be effective by countless dog owners:
- Use interactive toys, such as treat-dispensing balls, snuffle mats, or any chewing toys.
- Set a “real” exercise routine—regular walks in the park, dog frisbee, and swimming, just to name a few. Regular exercise is said to curb your dog’s appetite.
As experts say, what your dog eats can impact their mood. Simply put, a bad diet equals a bad mood, and a good diet equals a good mood. So, it might be worth looking into your dog’s diet from time to time.
Potty train your dog
Train your dog to go potty by establishing a consistent routine for poop breaks:
- Stick to the same intervals.
- Take them to the same spot.
- Use consistent verbal cues.
- Give rewards, like treats and praises, to encourage this good habit.
Keep a close eye on your dog, especially during the early stages of potty training. Clean up accidents immediately and skip the scolding. Punishments won’t stop poop-eating, and might even encourage poop-eating in private to avoid getting in trouble.
Limit access to poop
This is simply keeping your pet physically away from poop as much as you can. Hide the poop from sight and let the cravings take flight.
When doing so, take note of the following:
- Identify common areas where poop might be lurking. These can include your backyard, litter boxes, or even the neighbor’s yard during walks.
- Establish a routine for regular cleanup, particularly in areas where your dog frequents—the balcony, backyard, or communal spaces. The less poop is available, the less opportunity there is for your curious pup to indulge.
- When out for walks, keep your dog on a leash to prevent them from wandering into areas where poop might be present.
- Use dog fences to keep your dog within their designated activity space.
- Simply close the doors or gates after opening.
Use the ‘leave it’ command
Make ‘leave it’ (or any other similar verbal cues) a part of your arsenal of basic commands. Doing so requires more or less the same principles of training your dog to follow’sit’ ‘sit’ and ‘stay – patience and consistency.
You can try putting your dog on a leash during your regular park walks. When you spot poop, say ‘leave it’ and gently guide them away. Then, reward them immediately when they comply.
Consider dietary supplements
Especially with home-prepared meals, your dog’s diet might not cover the most necessary nutrients for them. After all, humans and canines have different nutritional requirements.
Here’s what you can add to your dog’s diet to help with the nutritional deficit:
- Digestive enzymes
- (Pure) Pumpkin
Enzyme supplements make it easier for your dog’s tummy to break down and soak up the nutrients from their food. This is particularly useful for older dogs who may need a little extra support.
Pumpkin is good at keeping your dog full thanks to its fibre-rich profile. This way, they are less likely to overeat and indulge in ‘poop treats’.
Raw pineapple is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as digestive enzymes that support the gut. Moreover, anecdotal evidence suggests it might even alter the taste of their faeces – a good way to stop your dog from eating their own poop.
Although supplements can be useful, choosing high-quality dog food is best for your dog’s overall diet. It’s also more convenient for you as a dog owner, as you won’t have to fuss with extra supplements.
What happens if your dog continues eating poop?
It can make your dog very sick
Other dogs may follow.
You might feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.
The habit becomes a lifestyle.
You know what they say, ‘old habits die hard’. The longer your dog treats poop like a daily snack, the harder it is to break.
Yes, training your pup to say no to poop is hard, but remember that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. With that said, the sooner you fix your dog’s poop-eating habit, the better chance you have to actually stop it.
Start with what works best!
Out of the tips shared earlier, investing in top-notch dog food like Blackhawk Dog Food stands out as the most effective and beneficial for your dog’s well-being.
By providing your dog with such high-quality food that supports a good diet, you help your dog become more healthy, active, and content – a happy, poop-craving-free life for your furry friend!