When owners see for the first time how their pet eats feces, they are, to put it mildly, shocked by what is happening. Meanwhile, for dogs, this is a fairly common phenomenon, which all breeds are equally susceptible to, and “mongrels” also suffer from this.
Owners of dogs need to know why such a strange and unpleasant thing happens in order to be able to respond adequately and quickly take the necessary measures.
Causes of behavior
The condition, which bears the scientific name “coprophagia”, can have many different causes:
- Stress or depression due to lack of attention from the owner. A dog may experience a strong shock due to a change of residence, loss of its owner, illness, the appearance of a child or other animal in the house, visiting a veterinary clinic, preparing for an exhibition or being present at it, training, unexpected punishment, rudeness, and much more. Coprophagia often provokes the owner, who yells or even raises his hand, if he wrote or did a bunch in the house (although often the cause of this dog behavior is that people are not hurrying to bring your pet for a walk). The only way to quickly eliminate the “traces of crime” for a dog is to eat its own feces.
- All female mammals clean up after their young by licking and eating their secretions. This behavior can become fixed if the puppy spends too much time with his mother.
- As strange as it may sound, some dogs just like to eat feces. That’s it, no more, no less. Delicious, and that’s it!
- Distant genetic memory. No matter what your pet looks like, it is very distantly related to wolves. And they tend to “clean up” after themselves, so that the traces of physiological secretions left behind cannot be traced to the entire flock and its individual individuals.
- Rivalry. This condition is especially common when living together with other dogs. In such a “micro-pack” there is always a leader and subordinates. The weakest member of the group can demonstrate their position by eating feces.
- Competition with the cat. No wonder they say that they live like a cat with a dog. These animals can be good neighbors, but sometimes the Union results in irreconcilable contradictions. As a result of the division of territory, the struggle for power and attention of the owner, the dog can eat cat feces as a symbol of the destruction of its influence in the apartment or house. This is due to the fact that cats mark the territory, leaving traces of urine and “piles” on its borders. Unfortunately, some dogs do the same, which can cause coprophagia.
- Sometimes the reason for eating feces is extremely banal — hunger or an acute shortage of certain substances. This can be done by a very hungry dog or even a well-groomed pet. They instinctively feel that the body lacks certain nutrients. In the latter situation, the astonished owner may watch as the pet eats horse or cow dung. This is an alarming signal — the dog is fed monotonously, insufficiently balanced and full-fledged food.
- Worm infestation. The presence of helminths in the animal’s body leads not only to coprophagia, but also to a perverse craving for inedible things. The dog may eat dirt, sand, plaster gnaw, to chew the paper.
- Sometimes the reason for the use of feces is the simplest boredom. Left to itself, the animal can start to bully, mess up, or eat its own feces.
The presence of coprophagia is always a pathology and requires rapid identification of the cause and elimination. If it is fixed and becomes a habit, then it will be extremely difficult and troublesome to cope.
What to do when coprophagia is detected
The worst thing an animal owner can do is scold or punish the dog. He is 99% to blame for what happened, so first of all they identify the reason for such strange behavior.
Coprophagia is not just a sickening habit. She’s dangerous. Feces contain worms, protozoa, bacteria and other pathogens of many dangerous diseases. The animal must be taken to the veterinarian to identify the causes of behavioral abnormalities and check for diseases and helminthiasis.
You need to reconsider your attitude to your pet. You should pay more attention to him, communicate more often and walk longer, making sure that he does not pick up anything on the street. No way to run after a frisky dog? Do not release it without a tight muzzle.
The pet menu is also subject to revision. On the advice of a doctor, the diet is made more balanced and varied, including the missing components.
Cleanliness plays a huge role in the cure of coprophagia. If there are other animals in the house, make sure that random piles are immediately removed. If the dog is fighting with the cat for power, buy a mustachioed-striped toilet of a closed type with filler, so that the dog does not get to the buried “treasures”.
Wean the puppy from its mother in a timely manner, so that the habit does not have time to take hold. Do not allow rough handling of your pet, do not shout or hit it, but strictly prevent all such attempts. The dog must realize that his action is not approved by the owner. With perseverance and love for the dog, its behavior can be corrected.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.