Dogs sure can be lovable. It’s hard to find anyone who wouldn’t enjoy petting a dog and many would love to own one. If you aren’t a pet owner, then you don’t see the full behaviour an animal engages in indoors. One behaviour, in particular, is quite difficult to deal with and it’s called coprophagia. This disgusting habit can be distressing for dog owners, especially new ones. Every owner asks: how to stop my dog from eating poop when I am out walking with my best friend. But just how can you stop dogs from doing this?
So why do dogs eat poop in the first place?
Vets are still unsure of why dogs actually do this. Popular theories include nutritional deficiencies, pica and boredom. But what is the most likely cause of your dog’s unusual behaviour? Dogs eat poop for a variety of reasons.
Boredom. Dogs are bored they are prone to destructive behaviour. This includes eating things they shouldn’t do. As with humans dogs can be prone to eating out of boredom. They can eat a variety of foods usually high-calorie or high-nutrient-dense treats. This can include faecal matter which they may have access to when they are out on walks. It may be unpleasant but it is true that dogs will eat things like this.
Dogs also eat waste matter out of curiosity – especially young dogs or puppies as they like to play and explore the world. They often do this using their mouth. Dogs don’t have hands or opposable thumbs so they may have to explore the world using their mouth and taste and sense of smell. They may be drawn to poop out on the street because it smells strong especially when it is fresh. Dogs will not generally eat poop if it is old. Some dogs may explore cow poop in this manner. A fresh layer is usually underneath the hardened surface. A dog may claw or dig at a cow pat to explore it further – disgusting but true!
The poop of other animals or other dogs can often be rich in nutrients which your dog may be lacking in their diet. A lot of commercial dog food does not contain all the nutrients your dog needs. Also have issues absorbing nutrients especially if they each other matter and waste that they shouldn’t as this can lead to intestinal blockages which can cause malabsorption of nutrients. Discuss with your vet if your dog needs some extra supplementation in their diets to plug the gap that they are trying to fill by eating poop. It should always be discouraged for a dog to eat things that are not set out for them purposefully. Dogs can get seriously hurt or injured by eating random things they find in the street this can include poop and waste matter of other animals.
If you want to stop dogs from eating poop then this is a condition you need to consider. Pica is a strange condition which affects all animals and dogs. Many humans are known to do it also even though they have full awareness that this is bad for them. Pica is a condition where a human or animal will crave certain items that are not food and are in fact non-edible. Humans just as much as dogs can crave these items which can include sponges, compost paint wood and other substances. In dogs, this condition can also lead to them eating poop and faecal matter because they crave it. Is far from ideal for your dog and you will want to discourage this behaviour as soon as you notice it starting. No one knows what causes a dog to crave eating poop and other substances but it is thought that nutrient deficiency and sometimes cognitive dysfunction can cause cravings for things that are not food. Speak to your veterinarian if you suspect your dog is suffering from this behaviour.
How to stop a dog eating poop?
On all levels, this behaviour of eating faeces needs to be stopped in your dog or puppy. It is a serious hygiene and health risk to your dog and also to the rest of your family. Poop or faecal matter can contain bacteria viruses and parasites which can be harmful to the health of your dog and all humans who interact with it. Imagine your dog doing this out in the street and eating any poop that it finds and then licking your child’s face afterwards. I’m sure you will agree this is far from Ideal and you see how diseases can be spread this way.
The best way to stop a dog from eating poop when walking out on a leash is to give a firm on the leash when your dog is about to start eating poop. If you can see poop or faecal matter on the horizon when you are out walking with the dog and take a different route. Make your position clear when you do encounter poop and make it clear to your dog that they are not to eat it.
How to stop your dog from eating cat poop?
Try to be a bit strict but also make it clear to your dog what you don’t want them to do. You stop dogs from eating poop you need to be firm and clear in your instructions. Dogs can be confused when they seem to think that their behaviour is perfectly natural. May be acting on instinct and they may be upset if they are trying to gain extra nutrients in the diet for instance. Consider using a supplement to stop a dog from eating poop. Be firm and make sure your dog understands what you don’t want it to do, which goes for all behaviour training. Whether you want your dog to stop eating poop on a walk or you want it to learn a trick or simply refrain from jumping at cyclists for instance. This is the best way to train your dog not to eat poop or engaging other behaviours you don’t want it to do. A firm command should leave them away from their poop and any other danger areas. This is the most effective remedy for stopping dogs from eating poop.
Your dog may want to eat other things that aren’t poop. They may want to eat rubbish and bits of scattered food. Is a common problem in urban areas in particular. If your dog won’t stop eating things when out on a walk then make sure you are firm and consistent in your instructions to “leave it”. In extreme cases where the dog will not listen or obey your commands that he may want to consider a muzzle as a last resort. Dog owners may choose to do this but it is not ideal as it limits the dog’s freedom. It also sends the wrong impression to other dog owners; this may limit your dog’s ability to be able to socialise with other dogs and humans when out on a walk.
How to stop a dog from eating rabbit poop?
If you live in a rural area with your dog then rabbit poop can be something they may try and eat. This is often nutritious and high in fibre. It will also draw a dog’s attention as it will be very strongly scented which will stimulate any pooch which picks up the scent. So to stop a dog from eating rabbit poop you should avoid taking the dog to these areas. These droppings will likely occur in a rabbit burrow or nearby. Rarely, they will be out in the open. Keep your dog on a leash in these likely areas.
Hopefully, you should know how to stop my dog from eating poop now. Some dogs just want to eat everything on a walk. It can be hard to stop them once they’ve made their mind up. To stop a dog from eating poop you must give them clear instructions. Make sure the person holding the leash is in control and clear when they give commands. . This acts as enough of a deterrent to stop your dog from eating things they find on a walk. Certain breeds of dog are more prone to this behaviour than others. In particular, springer spaniels are known to be mischievous and then positive and often find all manner of things to roll in and may engage in eating it also.
No one knows why dogs do this so it is still a mystery to vets and dog owners everywhere but if you follow the instructions above then you should show start to see improvement in your pet dog in no time at all. Always getting concerns and suspicions of nutrient deficiencies looked into by your vets if you’re worried about your dog.
Extra reading: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/why-dogs-eat-poop/