You don’t want your dog to eat poop, and who can blame you? This nasty behavior seems so unsanitary that it automatically raises health concerns.
But actually, eating stool isn’t an unusual thing in dogs, and it may have been used back in the days to prevent parasites.
Yet, here’s the truth:
Normal or not, all pet parents want to know is how to get rid of this bad habit.
The good news is there are natural ways to deal with this issue, whether it’s caused by dietary insufficiencies, behavioral or health problems.
Though if you have any doubt about your dog’s wellness, you should give your vet a call.
In this post, I’ll answer the question: “how to stop my dog from eating poop naturally?”
I’ll also talk about the common reasons dogs eat poop and whether it can be dangerous for them.
Why Is My Dog Eating Poop All Of A Sudden?
Weird as it may be, eating feces (aka coprophagia) is actually common in young puppies up to a year old as they are naturally curious about the things around them, including poop. However, this stage is usually temporary and your puppy should grow out of it on its own.
A puppy may even notice his mother eating the feces of her litter to keep the nest clean and try to mimic her.
Boredom is also a popular reason to eat poop in dogs, as they don’t have anything to do alone at home besides finding new things to try. But even if you’re home and ignoring your dog, he may try to get your attention by getting in trouble for eating his own wastes.
When dogs are anxious or stressed, it normally leads to bad behavior. In order to relieve his tension, your dog may do things that he finds relaxing, including eating his feces.
Also, punishing a dog for pooping inside the house may send the wrong message that poop is bad and as a result, the poor pup will eat his stool every time to hide it.
This is the case for most dogs.
Although kibbles and canned food are usually supplemented with vitamins and minerals, sometimes these micronutrients don’t absorb well in the dog’s body. The reason is that processed food doesn’t contain enzymes to help with the digestion and absorption of food.
While dogs can make enzymes inside their body, it’s merely enough to help the digestion process. That means that the food your dog is eating will come out undigested as a nutrient-rich poop that Fido will then want to have.
As opposed to commercial dog food and cooked food, raw fresh food does contain some enzymes. However, it seems that even dogs who consume raw food are somewhat enzyme deficient.
Hunger in dogs can be caused by various reasons:
- Underfeeding: If your dog doesn’t get enough calories in, or you don’t feed him every day, it’s very likely that he will look for other things to curb his craving for food.
- Worms: A dog with worms may show a sudden increase in hunger, as intestinal parasites tend to steal the dog’s nutrients, which leads him to nutritional deficiency and looking for ways to fill it.
- Health Conditions: Both diabetes and hyperthyroidism are linked to increased appetite, and this unusual hunger can cause dogs to eat whatever they can find at that moment.
You’re probably asking yourself by now: “but what can I do to stop my dog from eating poop?” Don’t worry, we’re getting there.
Is Eating Poop Harmful To My Dog?
Well, it depends.
When your dog is eating his own stool, there aren’t many things that could go wrong. However, eating other animals poop is another story as your dog can catch infectious diseases and/or parasites, and even ingest residues of medications that other pet may have taken.
Contact your vet in case your dog starts to show signs of vomiting and diarrhea after eating feces.
How To Stop My Dog From Eating Poop Naturally (7 Ways)
1. Clean Up Immediately
The best thing you can do is to clean up after your dog (or perhaps your cat) right when they finish their business, whether it’s on a puppy pad, littler box or outside. That way, your dog won’t have anything to snack on.
2. Train Your Dog To “Leave It”
If your dog still doesn’t know the “leave it” command, now it will be a good time to teach it.
With the help of obedience training, you’ll be able to train your dog to avoid waste and you can even add a recall command to make sure your dog stays away.
3. Avoid Any Punishments
Punishments don’t change the behavior of dogs, in fact, it often makes their behavior worse. Instead, if you reward your dog with treats after he does his needs, he may find that to be preferable over eating his waste.
4. Keep Your Dog’s Busy
While you’re away, you need to give your dog something that will keep him engaged until you come back. Dog puzzles are a great way to relieve boredom in dogs, as long as Fido is mentally challenged by the toy.
5. Use An Enzyme Supplement
Dry dog food, as well as canned food, cooked food, and even raw food, don’t have all the enzymes your dog needs to maintain a healthy digestive system. If Fido shows signs of nutritional deficiency, such as eating poop, consider adding an enzyme supplement to his daily menu.
Look for a high-quality daily supplement that contains a blend of powerful digestive enzymes, including Bromelain and Papain, and that’s made in a GMP-certified facility using human-grade ingredients, such as this one from Ample Nutrition.
6. Feed Your Dog A Balanced Diet
Check the feeding guidelines on your dog’s food to estimate how much you should eat based on his weight, or consult with a veterinarian to make sure your dog is getting enough food.
Also, try switching to a grain free dog food that contains more protein and fewer carbs to fix Fido’s stool-eating problem.
7. Check For Problems
Worms are often visible on your dog’s stool, so check it from time to time and deworm your dog according to your vet’s recommendation.
Also, don’t forget to meet with your vet and ask him about the situation, and whether your dog should be checked for diabetes or thyroid issue.
A Word On “Stop Dog Eating Poop” Products
These products are meant to deter dogs from eating their own by making it a taste bitter while including some ingredients that claim to help with digestion.
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend any of these products, and by the look of the reviews online, most people don’t find them useful at all.
Instead, you can try adding meat tenderizer or pineapple juice to your dog’s food to make the waste unpalatable.