Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?
Why Does My Dog Eat Poop? (And HOW can I get him to stop?)
There’s nothing more revolting than seeing your adorable little Frenchie chow down on poop. What often makes it worse is when they nonchalantly stroll over afterwards looking for a great big kiss and a cuddle! The practice of poop eating (or coprophagia) is a rather large, disgusting mystery to many Frenchie owners – most of the time, we just want to know how to make it stop. Let’s take a look at why this habit is so attractive to some dogs, and what can be done about it!
In certain situations, poop eating by dogs is actually a normal behavior. Mother dogs ingest their puppies’ feces to keep the nesting area clean and disease free. Puppies (like human kids) also tend to go through a stage where they explore everything with their mouths – grass, toys, your favorite socks, and yep, you guessed it…even poop.
As time goes by, most puppies eventually learn that poop doesn’t really taste all that great, and they grow out of the habit as they mature. There are a few pooches that just don’t get it, however, and among these, a number of them develop an almost addictive or compulsive habit of constant poop eating. Some of the factors that dog behaviorists think might contribute to this are:
- Irregular feeding schedules or not enough food
- Learning the behaviour from other dogs or the pup’s mother
- Understimulation (otherwise known as ‘boredom’)
- Not enough supervision
- Constant contact with feces
To add to the issues that Frenchie owners have when trying to solve this problem, some dogs are also (blech) selective poop eaters – they only eat other dogs’ stool, or prefer frozen poopsicles, for example.
So what are some ways to stop the poop-eating train, here? Although many people swear by home remedies like doctoring poop with Tabasco or adding Forbid powder to their pup’s food, these solutions are usually quick fixes that don’t solve the problem in the long term. What has been proven to be more effective is a combination program of several different strategies:
- Picking up all feces from all dogs immediately
- Accompanying your persistent poop-muncher into a ‘clear’ area to have a movement, and then removing him from that area right away before he has a chance to eat it
- Increasing your pup’s diet to include more fiber, and increasing the frequency of meals each day – this can change the texture of your pup’s poop, often making it less appealing to them
- Making sure your Frenchie has lots of exercise, attention, and mental stimulation every day. Playing to your pup’s natural instincts to chase, fetch, hunt, climb and investigate is a perfect way to avoid boredom.
- Train your Frenchie to follow a ‘leave it’ command consistently (ok, sometimes easier said than done, I know)
- Embrace the issue, by making your dog “poopie treats“, like Chef Alton Brown
It’s really ideal to start a program of prevention as soon as you can after you notice your Frenchie’s poop preference –to really nip the habit in the bud, continue the program consistently for at least six months. If you feel that your pup’s behavior is not improving over time, however, it’s never a bad idea to talk it over with your vet. In rare cases, your Frenchie might be trying to tell you that something else is going on.
What’s the weirdest thing our Frenchie Fan’s dogs have eaten, besides poop? Find out here: