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WHY DOES MY DOG EAT POOP?

NetPlaces Network Science & Advisory Board © TheDogPlace.org

 

Dogs eat feces because instinct prompts carnivores to seek biological nutrients missing in commercial dog food but here is a simple, free do-it-yourself cure…

 

First of all, The technical term for stool eating is coprophagy, which sounds like co-prof-a-gee. Secondly, forget all those youtube videos purported to “stop your dog from eating poop.” Most are just selling useless bad tasting stuff. We didn’t find a single one that contained helpful, practical, and factual information. Thirdly, until you change his diet, you'll find it easier to stop your dog from sniffing butts than to stop him from eating feces!

 

One site suggested sprinkling a few drops of hot sauce on the pile. Note: you would have to be 100% consistent on every stool as soon as he poops.

 

University of California at Davis surveyed thousands of dog owners in 2018 and reported that “16 percent of pups consume other canines’ feces frequently”.  But what struck our staff as significant was Director Benjamin Hart, DVM's observation that dogs preferred “feces no more than two days old.” Hold that thought because it is very significant.

 

All canids are programmed to gulp and gorge whatever food is available. (if you have a picky eater, see link below). Dog breeders, trainers and attentive owners have always believed poop eating occurs because something is missing from the dog's diet or there was a chemical attractant in the dog food brand that entices him (or actually "addicts" him) to eat that low-nutrition, wheat/corn based junk.

 

There is some truth in both rationalizations for poop-eating in domestic dogs but now there is another primitive, protective reason. In a recent Washington Post interview, professor Hart offers an intriguing observation on stool eating as instinctive parasite prevention.

 

He points out that wolves don't have pooper scoopers... but they do have intestinal parasites. Instinctively they don't want to expose cubs to excessive contamination but cub caretakers (which may be also be aunts and uncles) have to poop when on duty. In order to prevent parasite proliferation close to the den, they instinctively eat the poop!

 

Stool Eating Common In ii Carnivores

Dr. Hart cites a study wherein 1 out of 6 dogs were considered “serious” stool eaters and 1 of 4 dogs had been observed eating feces at least once. Of course, strays and “outside” dogs are unlikely to be noticed eating feces.

 

The best thing you can do to prevent stool-eating is read on... Have you changed dog food brands within the last few weeks? If the answer is yes, then indeed, there may be some tantalizing, appetite-stimulating, scent-ingredient in the new dog food. Worse, it could be a primary missing ingredient that’s causing coprophagy. Cheap dog food is often deficient in critical digestive enzymes but laden with fillers no carnivore needs.

 

No matter what the dog food label says, nutritional deficiencies and digestive problems occur when a carnivore is forced to eat "food" that it would never seek or consume naturally. Wheat, corn and soybeans, are a prime contributor to excessive gas which can lead to bloat or deadly gastric torsion.

 

Wild carnivores literally stuff themselves on meat and never bloat. Think wolves or lions... That is reason enough to avoid grain-based dog food and stick to real meat.  Steer away from (no pun intended) "meat meal" which translates to horns, hooves, tails and other "waste" products a well-fed carnivore would leave for scavengers.

 

 

If your dog occasionally eats poop it may simply be boredom or curiosity but regular consumption of feces usually indicates that his dog food does not contain the active probiotics all meat eaters require. It the wild, carnivores get those beneficial probiotics from the intestines of their prey. Obviously your dog eats from a bowl instead of a carcass so he may instinctively seek to maintain gut health by getting good bacteria from coprophagy.

 

What causes loss of good intestinal bacteria? Has your dog been on an antibiotic regime? Often used in human and veterinary medicine are clindamycin, levofloxacin, (Levaquin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and penicillin.  All are anti-biotics, i.e. they kill bacteria, good and bad.

 

Human Fecal Probiotic Transplants

Did you know that probiotics are so critical to our health that transplanting human fecal matter into patients is done by inserting fecal matter into a deficient colon through colonoscopy or endoscopy? Fecal Material Transplant, politely called FMT, is not new science. Medical practitioners found the answer to many digestive and immune system problems in ancient Chinese Medicine.

 

So... while poop-eating is disgusting to us humans, it is the dog’s instinctive way of restoring vital digestive organisms. There are products to stop poop-eating – I cannot resist pointing out the irony here, create a problem, then come up with a solution.

 

A less costly and healthier (!) solution for poop eating is to add natural yogurt and/or whole buttermilk, both of which contain the good bacteria. It will take a week or more to break the habit after the dietary need for good bacteria has been resolved.

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