Dogs have a number of habits that can be rather unpleasant from a human perspective. However, none of them can match the fact that dogs eat poop. Moreover, this isn’t a rare phenomenon that is restricted to a small number of dogs out there because the statistics suggest that one in four dogs will do it at some point in time while one in six dogs will make a regular practice of it. Regardless, since humans find this practice rather unpleasant, it should come as no surprise to learn that there is a lot of interest in preventing it.
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
Fortunately, eating poop shouldn’t be a huge threat to a dog’s health. After all, they did evolve as hunting animals that are nonetheless perfectly willing to engage in some scavenging when presented with such opportunities, meaning that they are capable of eating a wide range of things with minimal issues. With that said, this doesn’t mean that dogs eating poop isn’t gross by human standards, which is why interested individuals will want to start preventing their dogs from eating poop by understanding why dogs engage in that particular practice.
Unfortunately, there is no single cause for dogs eating poop. Instead, there seems to be several. For example, some experts suspect that eating poop might have started up as a way for the ancestors of dogs to cope with starvation. Likewise, it is suspected that mother dogs eat the poop of their offspring as a way of eliminating signs by which potential predators can come after them, which is something that other dogs might do as well for weaker counterparts in a multi-dog household. On top of this, puppies might eat poop because it is a way for them to explore their surroundings. On the plus side, this is something that should stop in time; on the minus side, this is actually something that can cause serious problem if puppies start eating the poop of other animals as well because those can contain bacteria, viruses, and other potential pathogens that can cause harm to them.
With that said, there are also more problematic reasons that a dog might eat poop. For example, a dog might not be getting enough calories and nutrients from their normal diet, thus forcing them to resort to eating poop. Sometimes, this might be because of some kind of parasite, which could be causing problems for their canine host even though things seem fine on the surface. Moreover, there might be psychological problems causing the problem, whether because a dog is stressed out because of isolation or because a dog is stressed out because it has been cooped up for too long in too small a space. There are even cases when a dog will eat poop to get a reaction out of humans as well as cases when a dog might confuse poop for food because they are fed in close proximity to their poop, meaning that they have a hard time telling apart what is and isn’t appropriate for them to eat.
How Can You Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop?
Summed up, there are a lot of reasons that dogs eat poop, which is why interested individuals will want to bring their dogs to their veterinarians to see if there is a simple and straightforward problem that can be treated to get them to stop. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for complications to pop up, meaning that dog owners might have to put a number of practices to use.
Some common treatments have included feeding a dog vitamin supplements, feeding a dog enzyme supplements, and spraying some kind of unpleasant substance on poop to make poop-eating dogs associate it with negativity. On top of this, dog owners can help out by keeping their dog’s living spaces clean as well as monitoring them whenever they are out and about. In particular, it has been recommended for dog owners to teach their dogs to come to them for some kind of treat once they have eliminated their waste, thus teaching them to seek out actual food rather than their own poop after that particular process. Some of these practices work better with some dogs than others, which is even more reason that interested individuals should consult veterinarians and other experts for their help.