Eating feces in dogs, also called coprophagia, gives us humans a hint of disgust. For the dog, on the other hand, droppings, regardless of whether their own, that of other animals or even humans, are in no way disgusting. On the contrary, due to the volatile fatty acids in the feces, this smells very attractive for dogs. Occasional manure eating is normal due to evolution and is nothing to worry about.
For dogs who have just given birth, eating their puppy’s droppings is a normal behavior to keep the litter camp clean. This behavior is not worrying for puppies either, as they use the faeces to build up their intestinal flora.
But why is your dog eating the feces and what can you do about it?
The causes of feces can be varied. So you should think carefully about what could be the cause of the feces. Once you have found the cause, you can eliminate it consistently.
It is an advantage if the dog masters the command “Off” and immediately releases food and toys. This not only helps prevent the dog from eating feces, but is also helpful in many other situations. This command goes hand in hand with clarifying who is the alpha animal in the relationship. The dog should know clearly that he will not touch feces or other foods without permission.
To stop your dog from eating feces, you can sprinkle the feces with hot spices, such as cayenne pepper. After a while, the dog combines eating feces with an uncomfortable burning sensation in the mouth and refrains from eating feces.
But sometimes the causes are completely different. Here are some triggers for feces eating.
Keeping dogs in the kennel can lead to frustration due to excessive populations and poor hygiene in the dogs. The dog tries to clean its surroundings by eating feces.
It can help to clean the dog kennel more often and to give the dog no more opportunity to “enjoy” the manure eating.
Dogs that are often left alone and therefore have poor contact with humans, or where the family hierarchy has not been clarified, tend to eat faeces. They hope for more attention because the owner or mistress usually starts scolding when the dog goes to the feces. This quickly becomes a bad habit to draw attention to.
The dog should be encouraged according to its developmental status. A lot of movement and preoccupation with the dog can usually improve the bad habit of eating feces.
- Physical strain
Dogs that are under a lot of physical strain, such as sled dogs or greyhounds, try to quickly compensate for their energy loss by eating feces.
After your work is done, provide your dog with enough food for energy.
Mostly the reason here is an underactive pancreas. The pancreas produces too few enzymes so that the body can no longer utilize the nutrients from the feed. The dog may become hungry and look for another source of energy for energy, which is often the manure that is fragrant for the dog.
In this case, you should visit the vet with your dog. They can determine whether the pancreas is actually underactive. If your dog has this disease, it has to be treated and the missing digestive enzymes have to be fed through the food.
- Worm infestation
Infestation with worms disrupts the dog’s digestive processes, which can trigger feces to eat. Remember to deworm your dog regularly.
- Wrong feed
In principle, you should only give wholesome and highly digestible food that is adapted to the needs, stages of life and the activity level of your dog.
If your dog still does not get the necessary nutrients from the food, you can add nutritional supplements, such as the “NoShit against manure eating” from Tierarzt24. This supports intestinal health and provides the dog with vitamins A and D and the trace element cobalt.
Some chemically produced additives in low-quality feed can make feces even more attractive to the dog in terms of taste. Keep your eyes open when choosing food!
Some dogs have a very strong instinct to defend their territory. If there is now feces from other dogs in their own territory, it can happen that the dog eats the feces of the supposed rival to remove its marking.
Why do you have to do something about eating feces?
One should prevent manure eating from hygienic and health aspects. The dog can ingest worms and other parasites when eating foreign faeces. The excretion of medication through the droppings and the subsequent eating of this droppings by your dog can put a heavy load on its body.