This disgusting habit is common among the canine community. Pet owners often ask, “WHY is my dog eating his own poop?!” Here are a few reasons why you may find your dog consuming their own feces and actions you can take to stop them from continuing.
Starting early in life, puppies tend to eat stool out of curiosity. They usually grow out of this behavior, but if they were to have a worm or intestinal parasite, eating their stool again could reinfect themselves. A puppy who is potty training may consume their stool out of shame if they went in an area they were punished for going potty in previously. Also, consuming the stool of other animals in the house could pose the same outcome. Make sure you keep a close eye on puppies and provide them with safe toys in an area that will keep them busy and not bored.
Dogs who are stressed can have a bigger interest in their own feces to relieve tension. Stress can come from many things such as being in a kennel for extended amounts of time, other pets in the house, or an event (like vet visits). This could also be a situation where your dog is seeking attention if they were left alone for too long. Nothing gets them more instant attention than us running toward them asking, “What is in your mouth?!” By enjoying daily activities with your pet, like walks, playing in the back yard, or lounging on the couch after work, it gives them reassurance that you are there for them. Watch for other signs of stress such as destructive behavior, excessive shedding, panting, drooling, aggression, intestinal upset, or withdrawal.
There are also medical issues that could cause your dog to take up this behavior. Having a nutritional deficiency can create a decreased absorption of other nutrients. Your dog will eat its’ own feces as a natural way to try to reabsorb the nutrients expelled with the bowel movement. They may not be digesting their food properly, or the diet they are eating is not providing enough nutrition. If your dog is being underfed, they could turn to their own self made treat to supplement for the lack of calories. Even some medications can cause an increase in appetite making your dog seek out their stool if no other food is available.
Routine exams with your Veterinarian and fecal tests can rule out parasites and health related problems. Behavioral habits of stool eating can be deterred with natural enzymes, supplements, and keeping a watchful eye on your dog. Keeping a clean backyard and being mindful of areas where other animals potty can also save you the worry of your dog eating stool. Supplements such as Coprophagia: Stool Eating Deterrent made by NaturVet is a chewable given to the animal who’s stool is being eaten. Contact your veterinary office if your dog is guilty of being a stool sampler to get more information!