Yeah, we don’t want to discuss it either, but it needs to be talked about.
Why do dogs eat poop?
Eating feces, also known as coprophagia, is a common behavior among dogs, although not all dogs exhibit this behavior. There are several reasons why dogs may eat poop:
- Nutritional deficiencies: If a dog is not getting enough nutrients from its regular diet, it may resort to eating feces to fulfill its nutritional needs.
- Instinctual behavior: Some dogs may have inherited this behavior from their ancestors who would eat feces in the wild to avoid attracting predators.
- Boredom or stress: Dogs may engage in coprophagia if they are bored or stressed, as a way to occupy themselves or relieve anxiety.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as malabsorption syndrome or pancreatic insufficiency, can cause dogs to eat feces.
- Cleaning up: Mother dogs may eat the feces of their puppies to keep their environment clean and reduce the risk of infection.
Dogs may eat feces if they are not getting enough nutrients from their regular diet. Some of the nutritional deficiencies that can cause this behavior include:
- Protein deficiency: Dogs require adequate amounts of protein in their diet to maintain their muscle mass, immune system, and overall health. If a dog is not getting enough protein, it may resort to eating feces to obtain the missing nutrients.
- Enzyme deficiency: Enzymes play an important role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. If a dog is deficient in certain digestive enzymes, it may not be able to digest and absorb all of the nutrients from its food, leading to a feeling of hunger and a tendency to eat feces.
- Vitamin deficiency: Vitamins are essential for a dog’s growth, development, and overall health. If a dog is not getting enough vitamins, it may develop deficiencies that can lead to a variety of health problems, including coprophagia.
- Mineral deficiency: Minerals are important for a dog’s bone health, muscle function, and overall health. If a dog is not getting enough minerals, it may resort to eating feces to obtain the missing nutrients.
It is important to provide a balanced and nutritious diet for your dog to prevent nutritional deficiencies and to discourage coprophagia. If you suspect that your dog may be deficient in a certain nutrient, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian to develop an appropriate dietary plan.
In the wild, dogs are scavengers and may eat feces as a way to survive. This instinctual behavior may still be present in domesticated dogs, causing them to eat feces. Here are some reasons why this instinctual behavior may cause dogs to eat feces:
- Survival instinct: In the wild, dogs may eat feces to obtain nutrients that are not available in their regular diet. For example, they may eat the feces of other animals to obtain undigested food particles or to consume the nutrients from the feces of herbivores.
- Hygiene instinct: In the wild, dogs may eat feces to keep their den clean and avoid attracting predators. This instinct may still be present in domesticated dogs, causing them to eat feces to keep their living area clean.
- Social behavior: In some cases, dogs may eat feces to imitate the behavior of other dogs in their pack. This is more common in puppies who may learn this behavior from their mother or littermates.
If your dog is exhibiting coprophagia, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions and to develop a behavior modification plan to discourage this behavior.
BOREDOM / STRESS
Stress can cause dogs to engage in a variety of behaviors, including coprophagia or eating feces. Here are some reasons why stress may cause a dog to eat feces:
- Anxiety and boredom: When dogs are stressed, they may become anxious and bored, leading them to engage in repetitive and compulsive behaviors like coprophagia.
- Lack of stimulation: Dogs that are under-stimulated may resort to eating feces as a way to occupy themselves.
- Fear and insecurity: Dogs that are afraid or insecure may eat feces as a way to cope with their emotions or to seek comfort.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal problems, can cause dogs to experience discomfort or pain, leading them to engage in coprophagia as a way to alleviate their symptoms.
It is important to identify the underlying cause of your dog’s stress and to provide appropriate management and treatment. This may include increasing exercise and mental stimulation, providing a safe and comfortable environment, and working with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to develop a behavior modification plan. Additionally, it is important to discourage coprophagia and to prevent access to feces to avoid health problems and the spread of infections.