Have you witnessed your dog eating his own stool? If so, you probably found this practice to be offensive and disgusting. Surprisingly, this practice is actually quite common among dogs. It’s so common that the practice of a dog eating his own stool or the feces of other dogs is officially known as coprophagia.
Why do dogs eat feces? No one knows for sure, but it may be related to his wolf ancestry. A wolf in the wild would want to take every measure to preserve nutrients and vitamins in the event he doesn’t encounter a meal for a while. Thus, your dog may be attempting to make use of every possible source of nutrition available to him, even his own feces. Other causes of coprophagia include nutritional deficiencies and digestive problems. For this reason, you should have your dog assessed by a veterinarian who can rule out intestinal problems and recommend a balanced diet for your dog.
Once medical reasons are ruled out as a cause for your dog’s tendency to eat stool, you’ll probably want to break him of the habit for social reasons. Here are some tips on how to rid your dog of the habit of eating his stool:
Keep Your Dog’s Living Area Free of Feces
If you quickly remove your dog’s feces from the back yard, you remove any temptation your dog might have for eating his own stool. Make it a daily habit to clean the yard each day to rid the area of any feces.
Consider Adding a Safe Deterrent to Your Dog’s Food
One way to reduce stool eating behavior by your dog is to add a small amount of MSG (monosodium glutamate) to his food. This will give your dog’s feces an unpleasant taste which will reduce stool eating behavior. By doing this repetitively, your dog will learn to associate his stool with a bad taste.
Make His Feces Unappealing
Another way to eliminate your dog’s stool eating behavior is to add a few drops of Tabasco sauce to his feces. A few encounters with the heat from the hot sauce should be enough to break your dog of this habit.
Keep Your Dog Occupied
Sometimes dogs eat stool out of boredom. Make sure your dog has adequate stimulation each day. A brisk morning walk will help him to expel some of his energy and prevent aimless wandering through the yard in search of stimulation. It also may help to provide your dog with a variety of safe toys such as nylon bones or other chew toy to occupy his time.
Vary Your Dog’s Diet
Since a dog can sometimes eat stool due to a nutritional deficiency, reassess your dog’s diet and make sure he’s getting adequate nutrition and enough variety. Also, make sure he’s getting a sufficient caloric intake each day.
Is it dangerous for your dog to eat his own stool? Unlike humans, dogs have a very powerful digestive system and usually don’t experience any ill effects from this habit. It’s more of a problem for humans who find the habit socially unacceptable than it is for dogs. If your dog has shown a stool eating tendency, give these tips a try and see if you can break the annoying feces eating habit.