Coprophagia – Dog Eating Feces
Does your dog eat his or another dog’s feces or stool? This behavior, although quite unacceptable and embarrassing to humans, is quite natural and acceptable to dogs. In nature, nursing mother dogs eat the feces of their puppies in order to keep the den clean. Also, eating feces utilizes undigested material and can be viewed as a food source to most canines.
Research has pointed to several reasons for this behavior including nutritional deficiencies, boredom and habit. No conclusive reason has ever been found and it is believed that this may just be a normal behavior found distasteful by a dog’s human companions.
Feces should be picked up immediately from the yard to remove the opportunity to consume it. Bored dogs who are inactive or alone for long periods can become coprophagic. Exercise and stimulation are called for in these cases. Some veterinarians have suggested that the behavior may be cause by a deficiency of B vitamins and vitamin K which can be found in feces. Meaty diets often times result in aromatic stools so dry kibble is recommended. All such dogs should be fed a consistent, balanced diet in two or three short meals a day.
Several remedies have been tried to help treat coprophagia and different methods work on different dogs. One easy remedy is to add plain yogurt to your pet’s food. Yogurt contains live cultures of acidophilus , a beneficial bacteria, for a healthy digestive system. Acidophilus may also help with gas, bloating, diarrhea, dry skin, dull coat and bad breath.
There is a real danger of your dog picking up disease and parasites from eating feces of other dogs and animals such as rabbits. Simple aversion therapy can be done by letting the dog approach the stool on a long lead. If he starts sniffing it, give a strong leash check. If he passes by, praise him.