Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why does my dog eat poop? And how do I get him to stop eating poop?” Well, there may be several reasons as to why dogs eat poop--ranging from medical factors, to simply just behavioral reasons. The reasons can range from boredom to lacking vital nutrients in your dog's diet. Below, we will discuss some of the reasons your dog is eating poop, and how to break the habit!
Diet Lacking Enzymes
Before dogs became a household pet, a dog’s diet was completely consistent with hunting and eating prey, as well as looking for vegetation to eat. When the dogs would eat their prey, it would include the digestive system of the animal which already includes the digestive enzymes that dogs need. Now that dogs are domesticated, they are being fed highly processed diets, such as kibble. They aren't receiving the right amount of enzymes that they need.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)
EPI is generally a condition that younger dogs suffer with but can develop into adulthood as well. When dogs suffer from this condition, they are unable to create digestive enzymes in the pancreas. In other words, your dog will not be able to digest nutrients and will need to be supplemented with enzymes to help with this condition.
If your pup has parasites that are eating all of its nutrients, he may need to turn to eat poop to compensate for the loss of nutrients.
Different types of parasites may cause your pup to eat poop, including; hookworms, tapeworms, and roundworms. Depending on the type of parasite it is, it may be difficult to spot and eradicate. If you suspect your pup may have parasites, it is best to bring him to the vet.
Diabetes & Thyroid Issues
These conditions can cause a pup to be extremely hungry, even when they are full, and can be a huge threat to your pup. General symptoms if your pup has diabetes and/or thyroid issues include mental dullness, unwilling to go out and exercise, and the inability to gain weight even when they have not increased their food intake.
When a dog has these conditions, they may also make your dog feel hungry when he is not hungry, which may cause him to want to eat his own, or other animals, feces.
Dogs That Are Nursing
When female dogs have puppies, they will naturally eat their puppies’ poop to keep them clean. As well as hide their poop from predators that may want to come after them.
If puppies are also eating poop, they may be following what their mom is doing. This is natural and should resolve as the puppies grow.
Puppies, just like babies, are naturally curious and like to explore their environment. It is extremely common for them to eat pretty much everything in site--including poop. Luckily, this type of behavior is often outgrown once they reach adulthood! Use this as a training experience!
When dogs are left home for too long without much stimulation, they will find different ways to entertain themselves. If there is poop within paws reach, he may just want to treat himself to some poop! To prevent this from happening, make sure to take the pup on frequent walks and trips to the dog park.
“I want attention!”
Dogs always love getting attention from their humans. If that means having to eat a couple of tiny poops to be able to get the human’s attention--then eat away! If you see your dog eating poop, make it a point to not overreact. Otherwise, that may cause your pup to want to continue eating poop.
Stress & Anxiety
Have you ever eaten a whole tub of ice cream by yourself in one sitting? Well, dogs will do the same but with poop. When they are stressed, they will try to find whatever they can to relieve that stress, and sometimes eating poop is included in that. Dogs may want to eat their poop out of fear that their owner may punish them for defecating. The only way for them to hide this from their owners is to eat it.
How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop
Add More Whole Foods To Their Diet
If you are just feeding your pup kibble, it is best to incorporate other types of healthy foods such as blueberries, bananas, and eggs. Any time you add fresh foods to your dog’s diet, you will benefit their health! Supplementing with probiotics for dogs and fish oil is another great way you can vastly improve the health of your dog as well. A natural raw diet for dogs will also provide your dog with natural probiotics andsalmon oil with its ingredients.
You can also put more fiber in dog food to stop eating poop. These include ingredients such as carrots and apples which may stop them from eating feces. Just be cautious that you are not overfeeding your pup fiber, otherwise, he may poop more than usual!
If there are no poops within dogs reach, there will be no way for your pup to be able to eat them! Be sure to clean up your dog’s poop frequently! If you have a cat, keeping the litter box clean and/or out of reach would be the most ideal.
Supervise Your Dog Walks
While taking your dog for their daily walk, make sure that you are monitoring exactly what they are sniffing and putting in their mouths. Going on walks can expose your dog to lots of new exciting smells, other dog’s poop included! Be on the lookout and be aware!
Check For Parasites
Parasites can be a factor as to why your dog isn’t able to absorb all of its nutrients from their diet. Going on a quick trip to the vet to check for parasites could be a huge sense of relief for you and your dog! We recommend having a traditional vet as well as a holistic vet! You can find a holistic veterinarian here
Feed A Raw Diet
A BARF diet (as unflattering as it sounds) is one of the best ways to keep your dog healthy. BARF stands for “bones and raw food” or “biologically appropriate raw food”. It is a species-appropriate diet consisting of raw meat and fresh vegetables, similar to what your dog would consume if they were in the wild.
This type of diet supports a shinier coat, weight management, healthier skin, better energy levels, and less digestive problems. It also promotes healthy stool! Not only that but if your pup is lacking in nutrients and is eating his poops, feeding him a whole diet can help prevent this from happening!
Read our educational guides about feeding a raw diet and dog food delivery here.
All in all, there is no one reason why your dog is sniffing out for poops, therefore, it is essential to do your research and see what could be a factor! Switching to a raw diet could give your dog the nutrients they need to reach optimal health and stop them from eating their stool. And another bonus, dogs who are on a raw diet have healthier, smaller, poop! Benefits for all!