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Coprophagia is one of the most upsetting dog owner complaints.
Coprophagia is defined as the ingestion of feces, either from another animal or from the dog itself. Dog owners are usually confused and disgusted by this behavior while their dogs have the time of their lives eating all poop in sight!
There are several reasons for this behavior in dogs:
Attention-seeking behavior: Owner gets very upset when dog eats poop and the dog enjoys the attention, even if it is the owner screaming at them
Cleaning up: This happens commonly in dogs that are confined to a crate or if they have been punished before for pooping in the house or in their crate.
Anxiety: Dogs will do odd things when anxious or stressed
Overfeeding: this will increase the amount of protein in the feces, making it attractive for the dog to eat
Health problems: Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency; Intestinal parasites; food malabsorption and others
Your dog may be hungry: maybe the food is not nutritious enough or eating routines change
Instinct: Some dogs may feel the urge to eat or roll on their prey’s or opponent’s feces to mask their own scent
They just like it: Your feelings of disgust are irrelevant to your dog. Many dogs simply like the taste of poop. It's warm, moist, and contains protein and fat.
Treatment includes behavioral modification therapy or altering the feces to affect its taste. There are several products available online or through your veterinarian to prevent coprophagia. These are food additives that will give feces an odor that makes it undesirable to your dog. You do not add these to your dog’s food but to the food belonging to the animal which feces your dog is eating.
Nydia Melissa Perez, DVM