Tags: Pets | dog | pet | health | eating | poop

Dog Pet Health: Does Eating Poop Have Negative Effects?

By    |   Monday, 12 January 2015 04:22 PM

No matter how much you love your dog, watching them eat poop in the backyard maximizes the gross factor and makes you wonder whether such disgusting behavior is bad for your pet’s health.

When dogs eat their own feces or that of other animals, it’s called coprophagia, and it’s considered normal behavior in dogs and other animals, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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While it’s not unusual behavior in puppies, most dogs mature and outgrow the desire to eat their own or other dogs’ feces, the ASPCA said. But some will continue the behavior into adulthood, becoming almost compulsive about it.

It’s unclear why dogs choose to eat feces, according to Pet MD. It’s often theorized that a nutritional deficiency may be the cause, but no studies have confirmed that, the website said. 

Some connection to hunger or near starvation has been found in the behavior, Pet MD said, citing anecdotal evidence of emaciated wild dogs eating feces. But again, studies have not been done to support that idea.

Although coprophagia seems gross to us, most dog experts say that it’s natural behavior in the dog world and really isn’t harmful for dogs.

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ASPCA said teaching your dog not to eat poop is “challenging,” and may be approached like other compulsive behaviors in dogs. Suggestions include teaching your dog the “leave it” command, adding commercially available products to your dog’s diet that make his poop taste bad, adding taste deterrents to poop, like hot sauce or black pepper, so they learn not to eat it, and using a punishment device like a shock collar.

Taste deterrents can be used for several training situations, including poop eating, the ASPCA said. To use a deterrent, first put the bad taste on a piece of cotton or tissue and have your dog taste it. “If your dog finds the taste unpleasant, he might shake his head, drool or retch,” the website said. “He might sniff the piece of tissue or wool, but he probably won’t pick it up again. Ideally, he’ll recoil from it. You want him to learn the connection between the taste and the odor of the deterrent so that he’ll avoid chewing objects that smell like it.”

Pet MD said that adding MSG (monosodium glutamate) to your pet’s food so that it flavors their poop may discourage dogs from coprophagia. Some products are sold commercially that also flavor the poop in such a way that dogs will avoid it. http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ktudor/2013/dec/why-do-dogs-eat-poop-31118#

Several dog experts, including Partnership for Animal Welfare, recommend feeding dogs a top quality dog food because they seem to eat their feces more when eating cheaper foods.

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No matter how much you love your dog, watching them eat poop in the backyard maximizes the gross factor and makes you wonder whether such disgusting behavior is bad for your pet's health.
dog, pet, health, eating, poop
Monday, 12 January 2015 04:22 PM
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