Most dog owners will have noticed that their beloved dog eats poo, much to their disgust, and it is a question that often comes back. There are several reasons for this :
A female dog with young puppies cleans after her puppies to keep the nest clean, and this is a natural behaviour that should not be interfered with.
However, cleanliness also accounts for other dogs "cleaning up" stools.
Boredom and attention seeking
Dogs are natural scavengers, and if they are alone all day without much stimulation, and get bored, they will look for things to do, and if they find poo, they will eat it. To a dog, poo is not disgusting, it is more like a treat, cat poo even moreso.
Some dogs who feel they don't get enough attention will do anything to get it, including eating poo, as even negative attention is better than no attention to them.
If your dog feels hungry, he will look for anything to eat, including stools, of other dogs or cats. Aside from not having access to enough food, some conditions can cause a dog to be feel hungry, such as thyroid issues, diabetes, or steroids your dog may be on.
Enzyme, hydrochloric acid and minerals deficiency
A dog's digestive system needs a lot of digestive enzymes in order to properly digest all that the dog eats. Dogs naturally produce this enzyme, but not in large enough quantities. In the wild, dogs hunt and eat their preys whole, including the gut and intestines, which bring them the necessary amount of digestive enzymes.
As pets, dogs do not get this enzyme from their highly processed dog food, so they look for it elsewhere. This is in fact the main reason dogs eat poo as it contains this digestive enzyme.
Similarly, an aging dog, a dog with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, or a dog on a poor diet lacking hydrochloric acid or nutrients and minerals will search to eat poo in order to get those.
What you can do to avoid your dog eating poo
In light of the reasons why your dog may be eating poo mentionned above, here is what you can do to reduce or stop this habit :
- Clean up poo that your dog leaves in your garden, and remove poo from your cat litter tray as well if you have cats.
- Keep your dog well entertained through play and experiencing new things to keep him active, stimulated and avoid boredom which always leads to unwanted behaviour.
- Get your vet to check for intestinal parasites, which lead to a dog wanting to eat more and eat anything at hand.
- Add supplements to your dog's food such as kelp for mineral deficiency, or apple cider vinegar (1 tsp in 25 pounds of food) for hydrochloric acid deficiency.
- Give your dog some raw food, which contains proteins and the digestive enzymes your dog needs. Tripe is particularly high in digestive enzymes.
- Do not punish your dog if you see him eating poo, as he could see this as a way of getting attention, even if negative attention.
Watch the video by tailored dog food brand Tails.com filmed at DogStroll Doggy Daycare center.