One of the most common issues for canines is stool-eating, technically known as Coprophagia. There are several reasons why a dog may eat feces, and no one answer is necessarily correct. Basically it breaks down into two main categories; behavior and nutrition. Stool eating deterrent products, like Only Natural Pet Stool Eating Deterrent or Solid Gold S.E.P. can be very helpful in breaking this habit. However, they should be used as part of an over-all strategy.
As puppies, it's very common for dogs to investigate and play with strong smelling objects in their environment and feces, both theirs and others, definitely fits the bill. This behavior should be curbed and the opportunity to engage in it should be reduced as much as possible. It is especially important to be vigilant in cleaning up after your pets when you have a puppy around. Often this behavior will fade away as the dog gets older, but for some dogs it becomes a habit and then it can be extremely difficult to stop.
Some other behavioral possibilities include something as simple as maintaining their space. Dogs want to have clean space to play and live in as much as you do and their most obvious way to rid the environment of waste is by eating it. Some dogs can be pickier about this than others, so once again, constant vigilance is needed when you have a dog who eats stool. As always, the best defense is to remove the opportunity.
"There are several reasons why a dog may eat feces, and no one answer is necessarily correct. Basically it breaks down into two main categories; behavior and nutrition."
Stress can also be a factor. As above, when dogs are stressed about their environment or territory, they may react in inappropriate ways. If your dog has just begun eating stool, take a moment to think if there have been any recent changes in your dog’s life. Has a new dog been added to the household? A new family member? Has their space been reduced or changed in a significant way? Perhaps it is time to incorporate some anxiety and stress relief or flower essences into your dog's regimen.
If it isn’t behavioral, it can certainly be nutritionally based. Stool eating can be a sign of inadequate nutrition or nutrient absorption. If your dog is seeking out alternate sources of nutrition, then there might be some nutrient missing from their diet. Take a moment to read our article, What You Need to Know About Your Pet’s Food, and look at your dog’s food. Is it full of fillers and grains? Sometimes switching to a different diet is the best way to fix a stool-eating problem.
If your dog is getting a good food, perhaps it is time to add a digestive
aid. The old saying is “you are what you eat” but what it should really be “you are what you manage to digest.” If food isn’t digested and absorbed properly, it just leaves the body as nutrient-dense feces. To your dog this means it is still a viable food source even the second time around. Along those same lines, if your dog is eating the feces of other pets in the household, then their digestion should also be considered.
If the cat’s stool still smells like food to your dog, it only makes sense your dog will want to eat it. The better your cat's digestion, the less their stool will smell like food because more of the real food will stay in their body.
Some dogs may eat stool because of a condition or a medication that increases appetite, like diabetes or thyroid disease, or medications like prednisone. If your dog is constantly hungry, available stool will definitely seem like a food source.
As a quick and simple summary, to complete a strategy that starts with a
stool eating deterrent; remove the opportunity, lower the stress, feed good food and add digestive
support. If you consider all of these issues in your strategy, your possibility of success increases dramatically!
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