Coprophagia for Dogs

Coprophagia for Dogs

November 10, 2022

Coprophagia, which is the term vets use to say “poop eating”, is a common problem in dogs. Some dogs prefer to eat their own, while some prefer the refined produce of another dog, or even another species.

In fact, some dog may find the taste of horses’, rabbits’, and cats’ stool appealing. This is due to the content of their diet, and the undigested portion in the stool still has nutritional values (to the silly dog anyway). Some authors suggested dogs actually find the stool palatable and enjoy eating the excrement.

Some dogs that are malnourished or lack certain vitamins and/or on a low quality diet may eat stool as a way of “self-medication”. On the other hand, some dogs on a high fat diet produce high fat content stool, thus making the stool attractive, and the dog will eat their own (or their housemate’s) stool. This can be an indication of possible underlying digestive problems, e.g. a lack of pancreatic enzymes to fully digest all the fat in the diet. These dogs are usually always hungry, would eat anything, and yet remain thin. Intestinal worms can also have similar effect. If the problem persists even with a change of diet, better seek veterinary attention and also try ordering a pet prescription diet for your dog online.

However, some dogs have no physical reasons to eat stool, but psychological ones. Since we cannot speak Doggienese, we can only speculate as to the reasons of their behaviour.

It is suggested that coprophagia can be a mimic behaviour as mother dogs lick her offspring’s bottoms in the beginning of their lives to induce bowel movement. Some dogs just learn that behaviour and keep doing in after they grow up. Some dogs do it because it has been punished for inappropriate defecation, and eating the stool is a way of eliminating evidence, so to avoid scolding from the owner. Coprophagia can also be a sign of dominance/submission pack behaviour. Smaller and younger dogs may eat the stool of the alpha dog as a sign of submissiveness.

After all, what’s a better way to show allegiance by eating your alpha’s poop?

All the above behavioural problems will take time and close observation for us human to figure out the underlying cause, and when we do, re-training and re-establishing the pack order are the only things we can do to (hopefully) stop your dogs from consuming poop.

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