Technically, when your dog eats feces, it is known as coprophagia. For humans, this often causes disgust at their own pets. But it’s worth taking a closer look, because if your dog eats its own droppings – or horse droppings, cow dung, or duck droppings – something is usually wrong. The causes can be varied.
The Most Important Things Summarized
- When your dog eats its own poop, there can be a variety of reasons. In addition to a classic behavioral disorder, malnutrition may also be the cause.
- In order to prevent the behavior, you should of course first know the cause. If necessary, see a veterinarian who can run tests to examine the digestive tract.
- Some home remedies that you add to the feed may be helpful. Cognitive-behavioral therapy only makes sense once you have ruled out all other causes.
Dog Eats Its Own Feces – What are the Causes?
There are many different reasons for this behavior. It’s almost always a behavioral problem that you can identify and fix.
- An acquired behavioral disorder: Do dogs grow e.g. B. in the kennel, it can happen that they have tried and kept eating feces, especially in the formative phase as puppies.
- Your dog may have an attention problem and is demanding the love and attention it wants by eating poop.
- Deficiencies from malnutrition can cause dogs to eat their own poop.
- Another cause can be a lack of digestive enzymes or intestinal bacteria as well as a disturbance of the intestinal flora. A visit to a veterinarian is required to diagnose this.
- Sometimes it’s just chronic hunger, so the dog will eat its poop to get anything in its stomach at all. This can be observed above all in dogs that need energy quickly but there is no food nearby (e.g. in sled dogs).
Completely normal: the mother eats the poop of the puppies
This is not about your own droppings, but that of your closest relatives: bitches that have just given birth eat the puppies’ droppings in the first few weeks of life. Conversely, it can also happen that puppies eat their mother’s feces to absorb the missing bacteria that are important for digestion. However, this should go away on its own after the first 12 weeks of life.
Is it Dangerous if the Dog Eats its Own Feces?
Eating feces is generally dangerous for humans since the dog can transmit all diseases that can be transmitted via smear infections via its teeth and snout. This can be salmonella as well as toxoplasma, parvovirus, or worms. When eating horse droppings, it can be dangerous if dewormers are ingested. B. also drugs.
Irrespective of whether the dog eats its own feces or that of other living beings, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea often occur.
How Do You Stop Your Dog from Eating Your Own Poop?
In order to stop your dog from eating its own feces, you should first find out the cause. Questions like:
- Is he often alone or under stress?
- How varied is the diet? Can there be deficiency symptoms?
- Is the animal possibly attracted by the smell of preservatives and the like?
You may be able to identify the cause from the times the dog is alone:
- Does the dog eat your own dog in the garden?
- Does the dog eat its own feces in the apartment?
- Does the dog eat its own feces when it’s alone?
It is also advisable to visit a veterinarian to eliminate any deficiency symptoms.
Pay attention to a balanced diet
Many finished products do not provide the enzymes needed for your dog to break down fat and protein. The consequences are always digestive problems and sometimes eating feces as an alternative. Here you can take countermeasures and feed them food that contains fermented herbs, wild plants, and spices, for example. The administration of food supplements over a period of 4-6 weeks may also be useful at times. In general, a natural diet is recommended.
Measures in your own home and in the garden
- Keep the dog under observation.
- Always remove piles of excrement in the garden and, if necessary, also in the apartment immediately so that the dog does not even have the opportunity to eat excrement.
- In the case of a kennel dog, you should also remove the feces immediately or, ideally, do it without the kennel.
Measures when walking
Scolding the dog is usually useless. On the one hand, dogs tick completely differently than humans and see the situation completely differently, on the other hand, the attention can be counterproductive. Dog trainer Martin Rütter, for example, advises ignoring the dog and not paying any attention to the situation – even if it is difficult.
It may also help to keep the dog on a leash and, if necessary, put a muzzle on it so that you can always react faster than your dog.
Provide Variety for Puppies
In puppies, the behavior can creep in when the little ones are boring. Here it is important to provide variety through games so that boredom does not arise in the first place. At the same time, you should always make sure that there is no poop laying around in the puppy box that the puppies can just start playing with.
Behavior therapy as a last resort
Before you start behavioral therapy with your dog so that it no longer eats its own feces, all other causes should be clarified. The therapy will be successful the faster the shorter the behavior has crept in. Measures that you can then carry out both in the garden and when going for a walk:
- immediate interrupt signal followed by a polling signal
- If the dog comes, he should sit down and reward him with a particularly great treat.
- If necessary, you can also add bitter substances to the piles of excrement, so that counterconditioning occurs.
- The enzymes in digested pineapple are unpleasant to the taste of many dogs. The consumption of pineapple, however, does not bother them. So feel free to give your dog some pineapple or pineapple juice to eat.