Have you ever gotten distracted while walking your dog just to turn around and find him eating poop? It happens more than you think.
In fact, this behavior even has a scientific name. It’s called Coprophagia which is known as the compulsive consumption of feces. As repulsive as it may seem, in most cases, it’s considered natural.
How to stop dog eating poop on walks is achieved by monitoring, training, distracting, and praising. You need to pay attention to your dog’s behavior, put in a little extra effort in coaching them, use different distraction methods, and praise your pup whenever you can.
Keep reading to know what causes this behavior, what you can do to stop it, and when to call your vet about it.
We know it’s really repulsive to think about what’s been in your pup’s mouth before licking your face. Those furballs tend to chew on all different things, little toys, shoes, even bugs, etc. Eating feces, though, is beyond disgusting and it’s something that shouldn’t be acceptable.
Below are some tips on how to stop your dog from eating poop on walks.
The most obvious solution is walking your dog on a leash. It gives you more control over your dog. Keep your eyes open in the process to deter them away from poop they might eat.
Use distraction whenever your dog shows interest in feces. Grab their attention with something more interesting, like their favorite toy or a ball.
If your dog’s case is extreme, wearing a basket-style muzzle can help break the habit while obtaining the freedom to pant and eat treats through the holes.
Training your dog to follow your orders is highly beneficial for both of you. It will make your time together more enjoyable and also will keep them out of harm’s way. Here are some suggestions to follow when training your canine:
- Teach your dog the “leave it” command to help them stay away from poop during walks.
- Use positive reinforcement and be patient.
- Don’t forget to give your pup a treat whenever they choose not to eat poop.
- Always use a high-pitched tone of voice when praising your floof.
- Never punish your dog, as this will damage your special relationship.
Always pick up after your dog and clean your yard, especially in a multi-dog household. Don’t give them the opportunity to be curious about feces.
Some vets recommend adding items to their diet that would make their poop smell and taste horrible. For example, canned pumpkin, pineapple, or meat tenderizers. Still, this will not help if your dog is eating other dogs’ feces.
You might wonder why dogs even eat poop. The answer to this question is still debatable. However, there are a few theories about it.
Below are some of the reasons why your dog might eat poop:
- They like it – Simply, dogs like eating poop. They have a different sense of taste and smell than we do. These senses can detect any nutrients that might appeal to them.
- It’s natural – Mother dogs eat their babies’ feces to keep their surroundings clean and free of harm. Puppies learn it from their mother growing up, and they start copying her.
- Boredom or stress – Dogs are naturally curious. If they have more free time than needed, they might start exploring things they shouldn’t, such as their own feces.
- Seeking attention – Your dog might be trying to attract your attention by playing with or eating poop.
- Nutritional deficiencies – Eating poop might be a sign of a deficiency in some vitamins or enzymes. In that case, you might want to give your vet a call.
- Hunger – Your dog might get hungry quicker and more often if you don’t offer food regularly. This may lead dogs to search for something to eat, like their own poop. Try providing your dog with more filling meals.
- Medical causes – Eating poop in dogs could be a symptom of a medical condition, like diabetes, thyroid, worms, or dementia. In addition to a condition called Pica, which drives both dogs and people to eat things that aren’t considered food, like dirt, paper, stool, or stones.
As repelling as this behavior might seem to you, eating poop in dogs is pretty normal.
Aside from the disgusting breath, it’s completely harmless for your dog to eat feces, as long as it’s his. Eating other dogs’ poo, on the other hand, is highly discouraged, as it may contain dangerous parasites, viruses, or bacteria.
Dogs’ nature is different, unfamiliar, and, at times confusing. Knowing the reason behind your floof’s actions helps a lot in achieving better communication between the two of you.
Don’t hesitate to discuss what concerns you with your vet to address any medical issues your pup might be suffering from.
Lastly, we know you’ve got this. You can definitely help your dog stop eating poop, just be patient and consistent.