Why is it that our dogs decide to eat the most revolting things, when we provide them with an excellent diet, devised by experts, and costing plenty? Of all the choices they could make, the most unpleasant one seems to be dogs eating poo. Their own, or that of other creatures, seems to be a tempting delicacy and can be very hard to understand.
Also known as ‘coprophagia’, it might be worth checking your dog’s health with their Vet first of all. This is because their own food may not be properly digested before it reappears at the other end, meaning it may still resemble the original food. There may be other health reasons such as infections or allergies or more serious conditions, so do get your dog examined by the Vet. Your Vet can also advise you on keeping your dog’s worming and other treatments up to date to ensure they are not at risk from harmful parasites.
This behaviour is very common in dogs and other species, particularly in puppies. Dogs are natural scavengers, meaning that should a food opportunity arise, they will take it and eat it, regardless of what it is. They may be a little hungry, and consider it a snack. If this happens, work on calling your dog back to you as soon as you notice them beginning to sniff. Always reward them for coming back, with a tasty piece of food (meat is best, not their usual biscuit) so that your dog doesn’t feel like you are going to spoil their fun.
Some dogs learn that you will try to take their prize away and will gobble it quickly. This is a hard pattern to stop, and you may need behavioural help. Avoid shouting or making a fuss, and instead teach your dog to stay close to you in areas where this may happen, rewarding them for doing so with food and games.
You can add certain substances to your dog’s food to aid digestion or to deter them from eating their own leavings, but never do this without a Vet check, first.
If you have unwittingly punished your dog for toileting in the house, they may learn to eat the ‘evidence’ before you return home. Seek professional help for ways to assist with housetraining to ensure the problem does not become unmanageable.
Finally, do try to relax a little, since your dog is clearly doing something they enjoy, no matter how revolting it appears to us. If necessary, change the route that you walk, or keep your dog on the lead in areas where you know it is likely. Scavenging can cause blockages if the dog ingests something they cannot digest, so it is worth the additional caution. Reward your dog well for coming back to you, leaving the poo behind, and everyone will be much happier.
Karen Wild, CCAB
Dorwest say: To ensure your dog is receiving all the nutrition they require in case that is the reason for the poo-eating, it can be useful to add a natural all round supplement such as Keepers Mix. This is a natural way to give your dog easily utilised minerals and herbs to benefit digestion and other parts of the body.