Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

We have a few clients who have confessed to us that their dog eats poop. They are horrified and embarrassed and they just don't know how to stop it!

This is a really hard habit to break. It is more common in homes with multiple dogs (most dogs will eat the poop of other dogs and not their own) and it's more common among female dogs than male dogs. Here are some things you can try to dissuade your dog from snacking on tidbits found in the yard:

Diet. Rule out malnourishment issues. Sometimes dogs will develop this habit due to either not getting the nutrients they need from their diet or not being able to absorb the nutrients. If you are feeding a brand found in grocery or department stores consider switching to a premium quality dog food that is nutritionally sound. We recommend using to review the 4 and 5 star rated foods; find a few that are available locally that fit within your budget. You'll be surprised at how affordable a good diet can be!

Health Issues. Talk to your vet to rule out diseases such as diabetes, Cushing's and thyroid issues as well as possible parasites. 

Deterrent Pills. These are designed to make the taste of the poop unappealing (as though it is appealing in its natural state!) Our clients will often tell us to give Bella the deterrent medicine, which doesn't seem to be helping, but not the other dogs in the home. We recommend they give it to all of the dogs in the house for a month or so to see if this works - and it does in some cases. More stubborn cases require further intervention.

Other Deterrents. Find something really hot, like habanero sauce, to apply to the poop as your dogs produce it. This will require keen observation and persistence over a period of time! It is not as easy or successful if your dog has a dog door or is kept outside when you can't be vigilant about applying it as soon as it happens.

Remove Temptation. Keep your yard clean on a daily basis (it is most common for dogs to snack on fresh poop). We recommend trying all of the above remedies to break the habit and then doing this one to prevent it from recurring. Just like quitting any habit, it is easiest to not relapse when you're able to avoid temptation. Alcoholics should stay out of bars. Smokers should throw away all cigarettes. Dogs should not have poop available.