“Coprophagia”, meaning the act of a dog eating poop, can be one of the more disgusting habits dogs acquire. Not only is this a gross habit but it can cause an upset stomach to your dog resulting in diarrhea or other bowel problems.
But this is not an uncommon occurrence. Many dogs eat their own or other dog’s droppings, but why?
Before dogs were domesticated, they were living in the wild fending for themselves. These pack animals had natural predators and to keep safe dogs would eat their fecal material. This consumption help keep predators from finding their dens. Now that dogs have had hundreds of years of domestication this instinct has greatly diminished. However, if you find that your dog has begun eating their poop this can be due to boredom or because they find it reinforcing.
But how do I stop it!?!?
To stop coprophagia, here are several helpful tips to rid your dog of this habit.
1) You can buy a chew tablet or pill from your vet that makes their fecal distasteful and unappealing. Dogs under 40 pounds usually only need 1/2 a pill to 1 full pill. So be observant to determine the dosage.
2) pick up poo in your yard or pee pads. Removing the poo helps to avoid and eliminate further problems .
3) place an aversive on the poop! Hot sauce has been a common product. This helps your dog to associate fecal with a negative feeling and thus will help to stop the problem .
In my opinion, if you have multiple dogs or indoor dogs that use pads the pills and chew tablets are a great help. Many clients have reported success with this product .
Remember that this a fairly common problem and it is not actually harmful to your dog but it is a dirty habit that can be treated.