Why is fecal eating a relatively common occurrence?
Fecal eating is more likely to occur in multi-dog households. Twenty-four percent of dogs have been seen by their owners eating poop. 85% of dogs prefer to eat the feces of other species than to eat their own feces. In single-dog households, only 20% of dogs had this habit, which increased to 33% in households with 2 or more dogs. Dogs prefer to eat formed poop, especially frozen poop, than thin or soft poop in the case of diarrhea. Female dogs are more likely to engage in poop-eating behavior. The specific numerical data above comes from a 2012 study presented by Dr. Benjamin Hart of the University of California, Davis, at the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Annual Animal Behavior Conference, which included a survey sent to approximately 3,000 dog owners.
There are many reasons why dogs eat poop, some of which are normal, while others are signs of suffering from an underlying health problem.
What are some reasons why dogs eat poop?
There are many reasons why dogs eat poop, which can be divided into three main categories, one being genetic instincts, one being disease and nutrition, and one being psychological factors.
The first category of causes.
- 1. Scavenging instinct, dogs are omnivorous animals, but also scavenging animals, itself some fishy and rotten things, but also can cause its appetite, can eat scavenging animals, also do not mind will go to eat feces.
- 2. Maternal instinct, maternal instinct is also engraved in the genes, mainly the mother dog will eat the puppy’s excrement, the purpose is to help the puppy clean the body and eliminate the smell.
The second type of causes.
- 1. Lack of trace elements, dogs lack of zinc, copper, manganese and other mineral trace elements, then the body function will appear some abnormalities, smell disorders, but also will appear omnivorous behavior, to eat soil, eat rocks, eat feces, etc., to supplement trace elements.
- 2. Parasites, dogs infected with parasites, will appear malnutrition, weight loss, easy to feel the symptoms of hunger, natural will also occur the behavior of eating feces.
- 3. The owner fed too little, resulting in dogs are often in a hungry state, can not resist to eat not fully digested feces.
- 4. Indigestion, poor digestion and absorption of the dog’s intestines, feces will remain a lot of nutrients smell, but also let the dog mistaken for food, eat again.
The third category of causes.
- 1. Curiosity imitation psychology, see some other dogs have to eat poo behavior, curious about their own home to eat poo.
- 2. The psychology of releasing stress, the dog’s psychological stress, will also lead to the emergence of it suffers from xenophagia.
- 3. Revenge psychology, mainly the main pet relationship is not good, the dog learned that the owner does not like it to eat poop, it deliberately go to do.
- 4. Destroy the evidence of psychology, many pooper scoopers in the family dog poop with the ground, will be angry to chastise it, the dog in order to avoid punishment, deliberately eat the poop to destroy the evidence.
What should I do if my dog eats poop?
- 1. Correct training to correct the dog’s poop eating behavior, do not rush to punish the dog, first of all, on the spot to stop the dog eating poo behavior, a few simple reprimand, and then clear away the feces, so that the dog correctly realize that the owner does not allow it to eat poo.
- 2. Keep the relationship between the owner and the pet harmonious, more play with the dog, can be more training nature of the small game. On the one hand, the dog does not have the psychological pressure factor to eat the poop, on the other hand, it can also improve the dog’s obedience and obey the order not to eat the poop.
- 3. Do a good job of deworming, pay attention to a balanced diet, usually can feed some vegetables and meat supplements to prevent malnutrition and omnivorous dogs.
- 4. Pay attention to the nutrition of the diet is easy to digest and feed the dog, can also reduce the dog eating poo behavior.
This method requires the dog to have undergone obedience training, it must be able to understand your commands, such as no, sit, etc. When the dog has finished pooping, order him to do some obedience actions to move his attention away and prevent to eat the poop.
A few ways to solve your dog’s poop eating problem
1. Keep your dog away from feces
The best option to keep your dog from eating feces is to keep him away from feces. It is recommended that the owner can separate the dog’s defecation area from the resting area, and train him to leave this area immediately after defecation at the beginning, and then the owner will clean up the feces in time. If the dog defecates while walking outside, the owner should also clean up the poop in time.
The dog will gradually learn that poop is forbidden to eat.
2. Add a stimulating taste to the feces
If the dog has already appeared to eat feces phenomenon, it is recommended that the owner after the dog defecation, or have the idea of eating other similar poo, it is recommended that the owner can immediately add a stimulating smell on top of the poo, such as mustard sauce and so on, so that the dog disgusted poo, so that in the future see will not have the desire to eat.
3. Supplemental trace elements
If your dog will often eat poo, in addition to eating grass, chewing dirt, eating wall and other habits, it is very likely that the lack of trace elements caused by the dog’s body, replenish the trace elements required by the dog to improve the dog eating poo problem!
4. Healthy and balanced diet
In addition to the above points, the dog’s diet is also important, daily attention should also be paid to protein supplementation, as well as attention to the dog’s gastrointestinal problems, because gastrointestinal problems dogs will also appear to eat poo, it is recommended that the owner choose a dog food in the choice of dog food is easy to digest and good absorption and contains a variety of trace elements of dog food, which can also improve the dog’s digestive function problems and eat poo situation.
How much nutrition does a dog get from eating poop?
James R. A. Butler of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia, Wendy Y. Brown of the University of New England, and Johan T. du Toit of Utah State University collaborated on a study in Gokwe, Zimbabwe.
Human feces is also one of the food components given by humans. And the study found that it may well be more important than we expected.
In the study area, dogs are not tethered and they are running around with or without their owners. Because of the low level of economic development, owners have limited food to feed their dogs, with only about 13% of the food given by owners, and all of it is corn paste called sadza (the local staple food).
The local dogs have a high mortality rate, but are in good health and have a decent reproduction rate. Obviously, they have to find their own food. Food includes household garbage, accidentally killed livestock, vegetables and fruits from the ground and, of course, human feces. The researchers analyzed 945 bubbles of dog feces, 56.2% of which were found to be human feces, indicating that yippee feces is a common occurrence.
More than 90% of the 120 households involved in the survey did not have indoor toilets, so wild poop was very common; according to estimates, the feces thrown in the wild would reach nearly two tons in a year and a half. And the nutritional value of feces is not bad, providing 18.7 kJ of energy per kilogram and a higher crude protein content than corn mush – as you can imagine, a rich food source for dogs.
Yeah poop complicates the relationship between dogs and humans, and dogs may thus exacerbate the spread of pathogens, but eating the filth may also have the positive effect of maintaining environmental hygiene.
Poop is also nutritious
Animals do not fully digest the food they eat, so there are still many nutrients in the poop. Of these, 10% to 20% are fat and 2% to 3% are protein. In addition, the most important thing is that there is still 30% undigested residual food inside, which is the most important reason for dogs to eat poop.
What are the disadvantages of dogs eating poop?
If a dog is eating its own feces, it is doing secondary digestion and is not a big problem, but if it does not clean its mouth after eating feces, the bacteria and parasites on the feces can be transmitted to humans or other animals with saliva. When a dog eats the feces of another species, it risks species of intestinal parasites and eggs or other harmful bacteria that can cause disease. For owners, a dog that eats feces will have strong breath and will still need the owner’s help to clean it up.