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Poop Eaters Anonymous: Decoding Coprophagy in Dogs

Welcome to another paw-some edition of the Little Angels Dog Training blog! Well, today you might not think it’s so pawsome but we’re delving into a topic that might make you raise an eyebrow or two – coprophagy, or as we affectionately call it, “poop-eating.” Yes, it’s a bit of an icky subject, but fear not, we’re here to sniff out the facts and share some potential ways to tackle this peculiar canine habit. It’s more common that you might think.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?:

Now, let’s tackle the burning question on everyone’s minds: Why, oh why the hekin’, might our Furkids indulge in the rather unsavoury act of poop consumption?

  1. Nutrient Seeking: Believe it or not, some dogs might munch on their faeces in an attempt to reclaim nutrients that weren’t fully absorbed during digestion. It’s like their version of a nutritional recycling program – not the most glamorous, but hey, they mean well, even though it might gross us out.
  2. Puppy Cleaning Service: In the wild, mama dogs clean up after their pups by consuming their waste. Some domesticated dogs might carry on this tradition, thinking they’re lending a helping paw in keeping their space tidy. Some people have hypothesised that breeders who  are not diligent with cleaning up the puppy environment might be accidently contributing to this habit.
  3. A Gross Stunt: If Fido notices that gobbling up some doo-doo earns them a swift reaction from their humans (even if it’s just a horrified “Eww!”), they might do it for the sheer shock value. Some action prompting if you will. Kinda like them barking at you to play a game or become a doggy UberEats.
  4. Boredom Busters: Dogs left to their own devices, especially when bored, may turn to poop-eating as a form of entertainment. After all, when there’s nothing else to do, why not indulge in a little unconventional snack time?

Ways to Tackle Poop-Eating:

Now that we’ve had a chuckle about the whys, let’s dive into some strategies to put a stop to your dog’s not-so-gourmet culinary adventures.

  1. The Vet Check-Up: If your dog’s poop-eating habits seem to be frequent (ugh, once is too frequent for me), it’s always wise to consult your vet. Sometimes, underlying medical issues can contribute to this behaviour and your vet should always be your first port of call for any medical issues, behavioural changes or ickiness.
  2. Distasteful Deterrents: Make your dog’s “pooptacular treats” less appetising by adding safe, vet-approved deterrents to their food. These can give their droppings an unsavoury flavour, effectively discouraging further snacking. I’ve heard that feeding your pooch pineapple has worked for some poop gobblers.
  3. Regular Poop Patrol: Stay vigilant during walks and in your backyard – scoop the poop promptly. If there’s nothing left to munch on, your dog won’t be able to indulge in their faecal feast. You could also teach your pooch to toilet on cue so that you have all the equipment to hand to do an efficient “clean up Aisle 3″.
  4. Supervised Bathroom Breaks: Keep an eye on your pup during bathroom breaks, especially if they have a history of indulging in a bit of “poop chewing gum.” A watchful eye can catch the act before it even begins.
  5. Training Triumphs: Reinforce basic obedience cues like “leave it” and “drop it.” Teaching your dog these cues can be a game-changer in curbing the poop-eating habit.
  6. Enrichment Extravaganza: Ensure your dog’s environment is mentally stimulating. Provide toys, engage in  training games, and keep their minds active – a stimulated dog is less likely to resort to weird snacky habits.
  7. Balanced Diet Buffet: Ensure your dog’s diet is as balanced as a gymnast on a tightrope. Consult with your vet to make sure your pup is getting all the essential nutrients. Sometimes, a nutritional deficit can lead to poop-eating escapades.

Coprophagy, though a tad disgusting, is not an uncommon behaviour in the doggy world. With a dash of humour (or gagging), a sprinkle of patience (give me strength), and a dollop of management (have your cleaning kit to hand), you can help your pup kick this unsavoury habit to the curb.

Until next time, may your walks be poop eating free and your training treats be irresistibly delicious!

Game On!

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