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Like us, dogs each have their own motives for their individual behavior. Dogs eat poop for various reasons, based on their age, their training, their living conditions and their diet. There are basically 5 different classifications or reasons that your dog may be eating poop.
That is How Dog’s Were Made
Before dogs were domesticated they were scavengers, living off of whatever they could find. Dogs commonly fed on the waste of other animals (and other dogs) thousands of years ago. Poop eating may just be a remnant of dog history.
In certain situations, as with a newborn litter of puppies, eating poop is instinctual and completely normal. A mother with pups is wired to keep her den clean so as not to attract predators with scent cues. Thus, she quite often will clean up after her young by consuming their poop.
Dog’s Doo What You Tell Them Not To
Dogs pick up things quickly and will often learn things that you don’t want them to. For instance, consider a dog that is punished for a housebreaking accident. If he is punished by having his nose rubbed in poop (which is absolutely not a good way to deal with the problem) he may try to “dispose of the evidence” the next time around.
Your Dog’s Health Issues
If your dog eats poop, you should make sure it’s not because of a health issue. Some dogs will start eating poop when they aren’t absorbing enough nutrients, they have parasites, or they have issues with their pancreas. All coprophagic dogs should be examined by a veterinarian. Please read my other post on coprophagia and dog health.
Why Your Dog Sometimes Prefers Poop to Dog Food
A dog’s digestive system is dependent on a specific mix of enzymes to break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. There is some evidence that suggests that dog digestive systems haven’t quite caught up to modern diets that include less animal protein and far more carbohydrates and plant proteins. Some veterinary nutritionists have suggested that dogs eat stool to replenish enzymes so that they are better prepared to digest their food.
In many cases, a dog’s behavior can be linked directly to the owner’s behavior. Many dogs will eat stool simply for the attention that they get from their owner. Negative attention is still attention, and owners who scold their dogs for the behavior will quite often only reinforce it.
Dogs that are bored and lonely may play with and eat stool as a pastime. And, some dogs may resort to eating stool because they are not getting enough real food. If a dog’s living area is not kept clean, some dogs will resort to their own “housekeeping” efforts by eating stool.
Solving The Problem
There is plenty of coprophagia information on this website to get you started on getting rid of your dog’s habit. It usually takes a specific combination of dietary and behavioral changes and takes quite a bit of experimentation.
Our suggestions are to call Doo Care Dog Waste Removal. We are Chicagoland’s #1 dog poop pick up service. Have us come 1X or even 2X per week to come to pick up your dog’s waste. Hire us as your own personal pooper scooper.