By Dr. Andrew Jones
Dogs unfortunately commonly eat their own feces, or another dog’s poop; it’s a very disturbing and frustrating behavioral problem for pet owners. The veterinary term for this is called coprophagia, and you may find some comfort in knowing that this is quite normal. This article will give you an understanding as to why dogs eat feces, along with what you can do at home to stop it.
Feces eating (coprophagia) is common in other animals such as rabbits, rodents, pigs, horses and even primates. This behavior is considered to be a problem in dogs, especially as our dogs now are so close with us, licking our faces. Puppies regularly eat poop. They like to chew and eat anything. The problem is if this becomes an established habit. In some dogs this is secondary to a nutritional deficiency.
Some dogs will benefit from a diet change. I suggest first trying a quality premium food. If your pet is already eating one, then switch to one of the natural diets such as Innova or California Natural. You can also utilize some of the sample At Home dog diets, or try feeding some Raw Food. It is believed that a diet rich in fat, protein, and fiber and low in carbohydrates may reduce the tendency.
Altering the flavor can help. Your dog will stop eating feces if it tastes bad (although you would think that it already tastes bad). Stool in the back yard or in your cat’s litter box can be spiced with Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper.
There are a few things that you can add to your dogs food to alter the taste of their feces. Meat tenderizers can be added to your dog’s food; this will help with digestion and make his stool taste horrible. The dose is 1/4 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight. Another option is to purchase a product from your local veterinarian called For-Bid. It gives waste a taste that your pet will hate.
Many dog owner have found that by supplement the diet, the coprophagia then stops. Add a vitamin and mineral supplement to your pet’s diet, as some dogs eat stool who are nutrient deficient. There are a number of types; a popular one is my supplement, Dr Jones Ultimate Canine Health Formula.
Lastly one study showed that using a citronella spray collar effectively worked for dogs that persisted in eating dog feces. A citronella spray collar reduced the frequency of coprophagia in dogs and that this effect persists after treatment has ceased. This requires you as the pet owner to be watching, and involved, triggering the spray in response to feces eating.
If you have a dog or cat that eats their own feces, then you should be looking at some of my advised at home remedies to finally stopping this very undesirable behavior. Start with changing your dog’s food to one which is higher in fat, protein, and fiber and low in carbohydrates. Consider supplementing with a complete, quality dog supplement, such as Ultimate Canine Health Formula. Then look at adding something to make the feces more adverse tasting, or a citronella spray collar to alter this unwanted behavior.
Heal Your Pet At Home!
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
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