Dog’s are man’s best friend; they make lovely companions and/or fierce bodyguards. However, just like humans, dogs have their own individual motives why they behave in certain ways. One of the most unusual dog behaviors in the home is a dog eating poop or that of other animals around.
This is not only disturbing and disgusting to the owners but can also be dangerous for the dog especially if the poop is contaminated with fleas, worms, or other parasites that may host bacteria and disease.
Before you can learn ways of stopping this uncouth and unhealthy behavior, you must first understand the fundamental reasons why dogs eat their own stool.
Why is my dog eating poop?
Dogs eat their own stool for a variety of reasons depending on their age, genetics, training, diet, health, and living conditions. The first common reason is nutritional imbalance; it may be that the stool still contains undigested nutrients and minerals. A second reason is boredom; lack of interaction and activity can lead to your dog eating poop.
Another frequent reason is stress and anxiety, when facing extreme anxiety such as when lonely, a dog may poop and eat his own stool as a displacement behavior. Some dogs will eat their own feces as a way of cleaning up the space especially if they know they will be physically punished. Sometimes, they eat other animals’ droppings out of pure enjoyment.
You can use various approaches to try to combat this harmful trait in your dog. Nevertheless, before you try any of them, you should take your dog to a vet to rule out any health complications that might be causing the behavior. Some of the most effective ways are outlined below:
1. Cut Off access to poop
Aim to control the surroundings. Clean up the yard thoroughly and avoid access to poop especially if your dog is cleaning up after himself or other dogs. If he dives into his own stool as soon as he excretes it, keep him on leash until he completes his business, and then lure him away with something tasty immediately. If the lure does not work, gently pull him away and try to distract him with a play invitation such as fetch. Clean up the mess once he goes to fetch. Clean litter boxes regularly and keep them out of reach.
2. Provide a balanced diet always
Healthy and balanced foods are essential for preventing your dog eating poop because they supplement all the nutrients he needs. However, you do not have to scratch your head trying to figure out different food combinations to give him. The simplest healthy and balanced meal you can give your dog any day any time is dry kibble, which has balanced nutrients and causes less teeth tartar. When purchasing kibble, make certain you are getting the highest quality with great protein sources and zero unhealthy fillers. You can find a couple of well-reviewed kibble brands online.
3. Have a fixed meal schedule
Along with a healthy, balanced diet, you should always aim to feed your dog at exact times every day. If you have a fixed meal schedule, it will keep his poop schedule steady and predictable. In turn, you will find it easier to supervise you dog and in time prevent your dog eating poop excreted by himself or that of other animals. During meal times and pooping sessions, consider putting the dog on a leash so that you can train him to avoid the feces with ease. This is known as on-leash supervision.
4. Exercise your dog and keep him busy
Dogs suffering from boredom will most likely have behavior issues, display undesirable traits and cause property damage. A simple walk each day will keep your dog’s pulse racing and mind off destructive pursuits. You should also consider regularly providing structured, interesting activities to keep him sharp and engaged.
Try a couple of dog training exercises each week, taking him to meet other dogs to play and reward him when he has been good. The more interesting alternatives you offer the less your dog will be inclined to eat its own poop. When you are too busy to do these things yourself, hire a pet sitter or take your dog to a dog daycare where he will get the attention he needs.