Why Dogs Eat
Feces and How To Stop It
Why do dogs eat feces?
For reasons that are still fairly unknown to
scientists, some dogs seem unable to resist the tasty treat of
their own or another animal’s feces. Amongst a group of dogs a
decent sized lump of excrement is less safe than an errant
Twinkie at an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting. If dogs ran the
world the finest restaurants would serve big steaming plates of
the stuff as an entrée and the doggie version of T.G.I. Friday’s
would serve it as an appetizer, cleverly fashioned into a flower
shape. We don’t even want to guess what would be served as a
It was once thought that the tendency some dogs
have to eat
feces stemmed from a nutritional need of some kind. Poor diet
and poor health were considered to be the motivation for this
seemingly bizarre and definitely disgusting (to humans)
behavior. Vets and animal health specialists now say that isn’t
the case as research shows no connection between canine dietary
or nutritional needs and the phenomenon. At this point,
scientists are stymied. No one knows why some dogs do this.
In the case of a mother dog that has recently given
behavior is completely normal. Mother dogs will teach their
pups to urinate and defecate by licking their hindquarters. The
pups respond to the stimulus by doing what is expected and the
mother will eat the results instinctively. For dogs in the wild
this behavior served two useful purposes. It kept the whelping
area clean and eliminated the odors of the pups’ waste that
could attract predators. The puppies often learn this behavior
from their mothers and mimic it. Most puppies stop doing this
by the time they are weaned.
It is more curious when non-parent adult dogs eat
it is their own or that of some other animal. Some scientists
suggest that this is scavenger behavior and natural for dogs
who are traditionally scavengers. The theory doesn’t explain
why some dogs do it and some do not, however.
As natural as it may be, it is not a good idea to
dog to engage in this behavior. Eating of feces can expose a
dog to internal parasites and bacterial infections, as well as
raise the risk of viral infections like distemper and parvo.
The best way to prevent a dog from engaging in this behavior is
to remove the temptation. Keep the yard free of feces by
disposing of it promptly. Owners can also train the animal
early, before it becomes too habitual. Other methods that have
been employed with varying degrees of success are feeding the
dog things like garlic and pumpkin which are believed to make
the feces less appealing and spraying the feces with a foul
smelling solution (most dogs despise citronella, for example)
that will make the dog not want to eat the excrement.
Editor's Notes: The text book name for this
behavior is called COPROPHAGIA. You can find some more information on
the consequences and prevention of this behavior from a veterinarian's
view by clicking HERE.
A safe and effective food additive that we recommend is called,
appropriately, Stop Eating Poop (SEP), by Solid Gold. The active
ingredient in S.E.P. is Glutamic Acid. When Glutamic Acid is mixed with
the stomach acids, the stool becomes bitter to the taste, which deters
the dog from eating the stool. Find details HERE.
About The Author: Kirsten Hawkins is a dog lover
expert from Nashville, TN. For more information on dog health, the care
of dogs, and dog
travel visit http://www.doghealth411.com.