Top 10 Reasons Why Dogs Eat Feces
If you’ve ever asked yourself why dogs eat poop, you’re not alone. Dog owners worldwide have struggled with the same question, and many veterinarians find themselves answering it regularly. If you want to keep your dog from eating their feces or someone else’s, read on to learn the top 10 reasons why dogs eat poop, plus how to prevent it from happening again.
#1 They smell it
As humans, we understand that poop smells. It’s not pleasant, and nobody wants to sniff it all day long, let alone eat it. But dogs don’t have a keen sense of smell as we do; in fact, studies show their noses are about 1/100th as good as ours.
Without a sensitive nose telling them eww, stop! They might keep going until they get every last morsel out of those feces.
(Plus, there may be something they love in there—such as protein or undigested treats.) If you notice your dog eating his feces or other animals’ droppings, check his butt for signs of redness or irritation.
#2 It looks like food
Poop looks like brown rice, chicken, or even chocolate. One dog had eaten his poop so many times that his colon swelled, and he had to have emergency surgery to remove a 2-pound ball of poop that was blocking him up. They could only find it with an x-ray machine, and they still almost lost him during surgery.
It would help if you were very careful when you clean up after your pet so you don’t feed them anything they may mistake for food again. Make sure you get rid of any leftovers your pets could eat and keep your kitchen clean at all times!
If you want to stop your dog from eating its feces, change his diet. Feeding certain dog foods and treats can encourage them to eat stool. Try switching to high-quality food with no byproducts or corn in it.
– Change things up: Try changing what time of day your dog eats and make sure it doesn’t eat too quickly. If possible, feed him at a different spot each day and provide food rewards for eliminating outside, so he doesn’t do it in front of you as a reward for being let back inside.
-Exercise: Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise throughout the day, both mentally and physically; tired dogs are less likely to go sniff out stools or eat ones they find on walks.
#4 Digestive problems
While most poop is odorless, a high-fat diet can lead to stool with a greasy sheen and an unpleasant scent. What’s more, some dogs have trouble digesting certain ingredients in their food—especially wheat and corn.
This leads to excessive flatulence (which your dog may express by eating his stools). A diet change can solve both issues; consider feeding your dog some canned pumpkin or another fiber supplement.
#5 Low blood sugar
This can happen with active dogs and those with diabetes. If a dog has low blood sugar, he may eat poop to get back to his usual level.
This is especially common if your dog’s diet is high in carbs or sugars, which can cause higher blood sugars than average. Make sure you watch out for diarrhea and vomiting along with signs of low blood sugar like weakness, staggering, yawning, and depression when it happens, and adjust your dog’s food accordingly.
#6 Instinctual behavior
If a dog does something instinctual, such as eating his feces, it’s likely because he doesn’t have a proper outlet to satisfy that behavior. For example, your dog may eat poop if he is not getting enough exercise or left alone all day without any toys to chew on.
This should never be considered normal behavior; there is almost always a reason for it, and more often than not, it means that there are some things you can do to improve your dog’s quality of life.
That said, keep in mind that many dogs will continue to engage in undesirable behaviors even when their basic needs are met.
#7 Psychological problems (separation anxiety)
When dogs can’t find their owners, they turn to eat their poop as a form of comfort. By ingesting their feces, dogs experience an alleviation of anxiety and a reminder that there is someone out there who cares for them.
The smell is comforting because it reminds them of home. (reference)
When dogs have nothing else to do, they turn to eat poop. Boredom is a common reason why some dogs eat poop, and boredom can stem from various things.
From not enough toys or mental stimulation to too much alone time, boredom is often a reason why dogs might eat poop.
Keep in mind that lack of exercise is also connected with heightened signs of anxiety, so make sure your pup gets plenty of quality playtime with you and your dog friends when he’s not busy at home.
#9 Poor diet quality, too many treats
Too many dog treats can be a bad thing, and it’s common for dogs that eat too many to also engage in coprophagia (the scientific term for eating poop).
This is particularly true of low-quality dog treats with chemical additives like artificial coloring and preservatives. These artificial ingredients can make your pup crave more natural foods (think: anything he comes across!), which often means turning to feces. If you want to stop your dog from eating poop, you may need to cut down on those unhealthy treats.
#10 Not enough exercise
It’s often said that dogs are just like little kids. If a kid doesn’t get enough exercise, she might get rowdy and run around. If a dog doesn’t get enough exercise, he might start running around in your yard, searching for his next meal of feces to eat.
Exercising dogs helps them avoid boredom and can also help prevent health issues. It is pretty gross when your dog eats poop out of boredom when you think about it! It’s important to establish daily walking routines and ensure they have plenty of playtime with you or another friendly animal (like a cat) so they don’t resort to their old food-eating habits.
Why dogs eat poop, and what you can do about it
If you’ve ever watched your dog eat his poop or another dog’s, you might have been disgusted and wondered why they would do such a thing. In this article, we’ll tell you why dogs eat poop, as well as how to prevent it and what to do if it happens again.
Why Dogs Eat Poop
The main reason dogs lick their butts is to keep their anal glands clean. The glands are in your dog’s bottom on both sides of their rectum and secrete a brown substance that attracts flies.
By licking, it cleanses themselves. Dogs also use anal gland secretions to mark territory, like with urine. Just like cats cover their excrement in litter boxes with urine, dogs leave evidence that they were there with a bit of scat so others will know where not to walk.
Why Your Dog May Want to Eat Cat Poop
If you’ve ever been strolling around in your yard with your dog when all of a sudden she finds a turd and starts eating it like there’s no tomorrow, don’t worry: She probably won’t get sick.
Dog experts say that unless her diet is off balance or she has an underlying medical condition (such as a vitamin deficiency), eating feces will not harm her.
A dog would have to consume an extraordinary amount of feces every day to be at risk, says Marty Becker, a veterinarian and author of Your Dog: The Owner’s Manual. So why do dogs eat poop?
How to Stop Dogs From Eating Poop
It’s happened to every dog owner at one point or another: You walk outside to find that your precious pup has been lounging in a pile of its poop.
(Yuck!) While many dog owners might immediately assume their pooch is ill—or plain gross—you may have to look no further than Fido’s food bowl for an answer. Like us humans, dogs are omnivores. Unlike us humans, they are also carnivores.
Tips on How to Train Your Dog Not to Eat Poop
Dogs that eat their stool or other dogs’ feces are either under stress or lacking a crucial nutrient. Either way, your dog needs help! Stool eating may be caused by a disorder of pancreatic digestive enzymes called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). If your pet is always hungry yet never seems to gain weight, consult your veterinarian for an EPI test.
How Can I Avoid Accidents in My Home?
Many dog owners are left wondering why their pets decide to relieve themselves inside. The good news is that there are a variety of things pet parents can do to help prevent indoor accidents from happening.
For starters, make sure your pup is getting enough exercise; since dogs often potty after a workout or when they get excited, more walks might mean fewer puddles on your floors.
If a health issue seems to be causing problems in your home, like an upset stomach or diarrhea, schedule a visit with your veterinarian for a few tests that could give you peace of mind and keep any accidents off your carpets.
Dogs also have powerful senses of smell—even when they’re not using them—and strong scents (like onions) can cause them to go potty indoors.
What If I Don’t Have Time to Clean Up After My Dog’s Accident?
If your dog eats its feces (whether fresh or old), you may be wondering if there’s something wrong with its digestive system. There isn’t—it’s a natural behavior for dogs.
The eating stool is so typical that we have a unique name: coprophagia. So why do dogs eat poop? The most important thing to remember is that there’s no need to panic; let’s dig into exactly why your puppy has developed such a bad habit.
Dealing with Other Dogs Who Are Eating Poop or Feces.
Have a dog that’s eating his own or another animal’s feces? You’re not alone. Dogs sometimes ingest other animals’ feces to round out their diets, or out of boredom, or because they are anxious.
The type of poop-eating will give you an idea of why your dog is doing it. If your dog sniffs at someone else’s feces but doesn’t ingest them, he might be picking up on pheromones that tell him when another dog is in heat—or simply marking territory.