Feces-eating (coprophagia) In Dogs

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Feces-eating (coprophagia) In Dogs
Feces-eating (coprophagia) In Dogs

Video: Feces-eating (coprophagia) In Dogs

Video: Feces-eating (coprophagia) In Dogs
Video: Why Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It (Coprophagia) 2023, September

What is the reason for eating feces? The word coprophagia comes from the Greek copro which means feces and phagy which means to eat. That is, coprophagia is eating feces. We think this habit of our dogs is disgusting, but whatever we say, dogs will remain dogs. Some dogs especially like the excrement of herbivores such as rabbits, deer, or horses. Others like to empty the litter box. And some eat only frozen dog feces.

So why is this happening? There are many theories. For example, dogs lack any nutrients in their diet. This is most likely not the case.

Dog eating poop feces, photo photography
Dog eating poop feces, photo photography

Usually dogs that eat feces have a healthy diet. However, they may indeed have health problems. Coprophagia, for example, can be caused by diseases of the pancreas or intestines, malnutrition due to parasite infestation, or starvation. But this rarely happens.

Some dogs, especially those in the kennel, may eat feces when they are anxious or stressed. One researcher suggests that dogs that have been punished by their owners for doing something in the wrong place start to think that jigging is bad and therefore try to hide the “traces of the crime” in any way possible.

Another theory says that modern dogs inherited coprophagia from their ancestors. Dogs' relatives, wolves and coyotes, often eat feces if they don't have enough food. Herbivore feces contain a lot of vitamin B. Some researchers believe that wolves (and some dogs) can thus make up for the lack of this vitamin in the body.

In some cases, coprophagia is passed on from other animals. It can also become a habit in puppies, who, while playing, get used to taste everything.

At some stages of life, coprophagia is acceptable and understandable. Mother dogs always eat the feces of their offspring. This is done in order not to give out their presence to predators.

Finally, some dogs just love the taste of feces.

How can coprophagia be prevented? The best way is to keep your yard and kennel clean at all times.

Some dog owners are not unsuccessful in using substances that make feces taste awful. Products like for-bid, Drs. Foster, Smith Dis-Taste are added to the food of the animal whose feces the dog eats. (This can be the food of the coprophagic dog itself, or the food of the cat if the dog is eating its feces.) This product is digested by animals and the resulting product gives the faeces a very bad taste. Some owners add Tabasco hot seasoning or cayenne pepper to feces (not food!). These methods are best for dogs that are just beginning to show coprophagia. Once it becomes a habit, it is very difficult to get rid of it.

The dog needs to be taken out on a leash, then you can control its behavior if suddenly a large pile appears on your way. Sometimes the only way to prevent coprophagia is to muzzle your dog. A dog will be able to do everything that its other relatives do, but it will not be able to eat feces in a muzzle.


It is helpful to give your dog toys to distract his attention. She should be offered something more fun and attractive than eating feces. For example, a cong toy filled with something yummy would be a good alternative. Also give your dog more physical activity so that it completely relaxes.

If coprophagia is associated with stress, the cause must be addressed. If the dog is overexcited, then medication should be sought.

The puppy is looking for shit in the fallen leaves, a photo of a dog
The puppy is looking for shit in the fallen leaves, a photo of a dog

One researcher recommends checking to see if your dog is getting enough B vitamins and excess carbohydrates.

Some dogs are helped if they are fed more often, so you can try increasing the number of feeds (but you do not need to increase the amount of food).

If your dog is not indifferent to the cat litter box, then you need to get creative. Use trays with a lid or place them higher. You can keep the litter box in the toilet and keep the door open just enough for your cat, but not your dog, to pass. Keep in mind that if you move the litter box to a hard-to-reach place, the cat itself will not be able to use it.

Don't punish your dog for eating feces. This can only reinforce this behavior. It is helpful to work on overall dog obedience. If the dog knows what is expected of him, he will be less nervous and will not want to behave in an inappropriate way.

How is coprophagia dangerous to health? Many parasites can enter the body through feces. Generally speaking, herbivores have their own specific parasites. They cannot cause disease in carnivores. But dogs that eat feces from dogs and cats can be re-infected with the parasites Giardia, Coccidia, and if the feces have been lying for more than 2-3 weeks, then with a roundworm or whipworm. These dogs should have regular stool analysis and medication given according to the type of parasite found.

We are not sure why dogs sometimes eat their own faeces, or the faeces of other animals. We can only say that if the dog begins to behave in this way, then the sooner you take action, the more likely it is to succeed.

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