Coprophagia or feces eating in dogs is a common problem faced by dog owners. Not only is this habit disgusting, it is also downright dangerous for your dog or puppies. Feces eating is generally more common in younger dogs, but it can occur at any age. Some dogs eat their own feces while other dogs eat other animal poop. The good news for pet owners is that there are many ways to deal with this problem. Here are 16 easy ways to stop your dog from eating poop:
1. Identify the reason why your puppies eat poop
In puppies eating poop, the reasons is often behavioral. Puppies love attention. So if you are making a big fuss out of this behavior, you must either learn to ignore it or use some form of punishment that helps puppies understand it is unacceptable. Teach them the command “Leave It!”; most learnt from the angry tone in your voice and obey. Some pups eat poop when they are bored. So give them plenty of chew toys and treats to keep them occupied and encourage good behavior.
2. Talk to your vet if it is a medical issue
There also could be medical reasons why a dog starts eating poop all of a sudden. If your otherwise healthy pet is not eating regular food and suddenly seems more interested in eating dried feces, then your vet might need to run a battery of tests to determine the cause.
3. Keep your dog vaccinated
The parasites from the feces can easily enter your pet’s intestinal tract causing a host of issues. So keep your dog vaccinated and also de-worm it from time to time. This is an important easy way to handle dog eating poop and throwing up later.
4. Do not punish the dog if s/he poops indoors
One of the major reasons why a dog might eat its own poop is because of having been chastised in the past for pooping indoors. So, ignore this behavior and do not scold or punish the dog. Dogs are extremely sensitive and if they are afraid you will scold them, they might resort to such behaviors.
5. Get rid of anxiety and stress
It might seem hard to believe, but sometimes dogs eat poop because of changes in circumstances or due to anxiety and stress. For example, a dog owner who has been working from home suddenly starts going to office for work leaving the dog alone for long periods of time, might have to deal with Coprophagia. Also, dogs and puppies having to compete with larger or fiercer dogs at the shelter might also develop poop eating habit owing to stress and anxiety.
6. Get rid of deficiencies
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies in puppies eating poop can also help put a stop to the problem. You could try adding some Vitamin B complex supplements or Brewer’s yeast to your dog’s food to stop it from eating poop.
7. Poop eating in bitches
Mothers of young puppies eat the droppings of their litter to keep the area clean. You can try and reduce this behavior by cleaning up the area. Place some old newspapers in the room for the pups to poop on and promptly pick up and discard it. Make sure the lactating bitch is given vitamin and mineral supplements under the advice of the vet. This is an easy way to deal with dogs eating poop after delivery.
8. Use a leash
Always walk the dog in a clean, poop-free area. Make sure you promptly pick up poop from your backyard. If you take your dog on walks away from your property, make sure you use a leash to pull the dog away from the poop. Distract the dog after he has pooped by giving it a treat and promptly discard the feces. This reward-treatment works on dogs eating their own poop.
9. Stop overfeeding the dog
Overfed dogs are unable to digest their food properly. As a result, their feces smell like dog food. This could be one of the reasons why dogs eat their feces. So use measured portions when feeding your dog or puppy.
10. Monitor the dog’s fat intake
Dog food high in fats is also one of the common causes of Coprophagia. So reduce the dog’s fat intake and see if this easy way to deal with dog eating poop reduces this behavior. Also exercise the dog adequately so it is tired and does not indulge in such behavior.
Certain medications especially antibiotics can also cause Coprophagia in dogs and puppies. Talk to your vet about reducing the dosage of the said medication.
12. Is your dog cleaning up the area or protecting other dogs?
Sometimes, a dog might feel it is his/her duty to clean up the neighborhood off dog poop. In other cases, a dog might eat another dog’s feces if that dog is sick in order to protect it from predators. So treat the sick dog promptly and encourage healthy dogs with treats for desirable behavior.
13. Feed it products that make the poop less appealing
How to stop your dog from eating dog poop? Feed it pineapple! Many veggies and fruits leave the poop tasting a little less appealing, making the dog balk at its taste. Other foods to include in the dog’s diet are: pumpkin, spinach and pickles.
14. Lace the yard poop with undesirable substances
If you do not like picking up yard poop, you could lace it with substances such as pepper sprays, cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce. This will repel your dog from eating dried feces.
15. Muzzle the dog
If your dog is eating its own feces, you could muzzle it prior to sending it outdoors to do its business. Clean the muzzle promptly because some dogs might attempt the habit anyways.
16. Use a shock collar
Dogs associate stimuli with behavior. So use a shock collar or a prong collar each time your dog eats poop. This lets it know that its behavior is unacceptable. This is one of the easiest ways to stop poop eating in dogs.
Most of these easy ways to stop dogs from eating poop work. The key is to be consistent and deal with the behavior as soon as it occurs.