Coprophagia (Oh Yuck!)
COPROPHAGIA (OH YUCK)
QUESTION: We have an adult dog that has a small run beside the house to go to the bathroom in. Every time we let him out to the bathroom, he eats his old droppings. In fact all of them. This is disgusting so how do we stop it?
ANSWER: This problem occurs quite a bit actually. It often starts out of boredom, not enough free exercise and playtime. AND FAILING TO KEEP THE DOGS DROPPINGS PICKED UP EVERY DAY. Once the dog develops the habit it can be very hard to break. 3 things must be done to stop it. Change to another brand of dry dogfood that does not taste as good coming out as going in. RULE OF THUMB is most CHEAP brands of dogfood are big culprits in "COPROPHAGIA" which is the correct term for a dog eating stool. Getting in the habit of picking up his droppings each and every day is very important. And purchase from a Vet Clinic a product that you put on the dog’s food that once passed through the digestive system makes the stool taste awful. I recommend a product made from Alfalfa. The products that work cannot be purchased at pet stores, only Vet Clinics.
He must be dewormed on a regular basis as he is continually reinfesting himself with worms by eating his stool.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: A recent study is showing that sometimes an existing medical problem may be the cause of this. Only a thorough and complete examination by a Veterinarian on this problem will show the results. Primary among them are Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, Pancreatitis, Intestinal Infections, Malabsorptive Syndromes, and over feeding a diet excessively high in fats. Other signs will be prominent, particularly diarrhea.
A dog desperate for attention from its owner may do this as an Attention Seeking Behavior. Any attention, no matter how bad is better than none at all. They do it, the owner turns their attention to the dog, even though it is not loving attention, the dog doesn’t care, at least he/she is no longer being ignored.
LEARNED BEHAVIOR. Dogs are intelligent creatures. They see one dog doing it and think it is a good thing and start doing it too. Quickly becomes a habit, hard to break.
Feeding times. Many people feed their dogs only once a day (may happen with twice a day feedings too) The dog may even be fat but bored in-between meals so it is snack time. Instead feed several small meals a day if this is the reason why.
ADDING MEAT TENDERIZER to the dog’s food. There are some reports this works as the additional Enzymes break down more of the nutrients in the dogs digestive system, meaning the stool is no longer only partially digested, thus still attractive as a food item. The question is, is this safe for the dog? No studies have been done extensively enough to prove it is safe for a dog to consume Meat Tenderizer???
FORBID™® This is a powder added to the dog’s food, which makes the resulting stool taste awful. Often works well. By Vet prescription only. Works only for dogs eating their own stool, not another dogs.
DETER™® This is a pill given to the dog. Can be purchased off the shelf. Same thing as Forbid though. Often works well but only for the dog eating his own stool.
ADDING things like hot sauce to each pile of stool. Taking the time to sprinkle or pour something on each pile. Does not often work but here is a question for you? If you have the time to run around putting something on each pile, why don’t you have the time to JUST PICK IT UP and dispose of it? That works even better.
NOTE: IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Here if a puppy begins eating it's own stool we switch the puppy to "Royal Canin Gastrointestinal PUPPY Food". It CANNOT be purchased at a Pet Store. Only at a Vet Clinic and has the Veterinary Seal on the bag. Works for us every time. All puppies can stay on it until adults. It has to be the Gastrointestinal type.