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02.25.2010 | upgrade 16:06 hours

QUESTION: Why do dogs like human droppings so much? "How can you avoid such a disgusting feast? CRISTINA DE MARTOS.


Go for a walk with your dog in the park. The dog runs, jumps and fiddles in the bushes. At one point chews something taffy. As a responsible owner, he comes to check what your pet eats to force him to spit it out if it can harm him. And he finds an unpleasant surprise: his dog is eating excrement. Those who have or have had dogs have probably faced this curious situation.

Dogs eat droppings from humans and other animals. "They are selective when choosing", The veterinarian Javier Gómez of the Ginzo de Limia Clinic in Madrid explains to RTVE.es. "Some have a preference for humans and others for those of their peers or those of other animals."

Why they do it is still a mystery. There is no consensus among the veterinary community, but two are the most repeated theories. "One proposes that the animal has some nutritional deficiency, of an amino acid or some other trace element, and searches for it in the droppings, which after all are digested food," explains the doctor. However, there is no data to support this theory.

"If you give a supplement to a dog, he will continue to eat feces. My personal experience is that not even one in 10 dogs stopped doing it."

The other theory points out that Coprophagy is something natural in dogs. "They do it because they like it, because for them the smell is not unpleasant," he says. "Some hunting dogs are also restricted in excrements of other animals, such as cows, for example, so that the prey does not detect them. "

Any puppy, whether of the species that practices coprophagy, even humans. "A baby would eat, if you let him, a poop. It's normal, at that stage of life they want to test the consistency and texture of things," explains Gomez. Humans stop doing it because we do not like the smell and because by social convention it is not well seen. But not dogs.

It is very difficult to get an adult dog that eats feces to stop. You have to scold them not to take it as usual, but "he who persists after the year will continue to do so", admit.

Why do dogs eat poop?

OK, if you are here you have passed the headline.

A) you have a strong stomach

B) You know that having a dog means dealing with poop. (But it's worth it!)

While the consumption of feces (coprophagy) is disgusting to humans, it is actually a common habit of many dogs.

The possible reasons why dogs find their poop and / or other similar poop a highly appreciated delicatessen vary from a broad spectrum from behavior to medical nature.

While eating poop can be something as simple as boredom ... it can also be something more complex like diabetes.

Therefore, while the issue of poop may be unpleasant for us, it is important to look at the possible causes.

Medical reasons

First, let's start with possible medical reasons that could be leading your dog to eat poop.

1. Enzyme deficiency

In nature, the canine diet works in harmony with its surroundings. When the canine eats prey, it eats whole prey, including the guts, which would naturally contain the proper amount of digestive enzymes that the dog needs. This is not the case with the highly processed pet food diet with which the modern urban dog subsists.

Digestive enzymes are a key component of your dog's digestive process, and without them, they cannot properly absorb their food. Basically they expel undigested food in their stool. Dogs create enzymes in their body, but they are not enough to complete the digestive process effectively - so they need to get some of these enzymes from their food. If there is a deficiency, not only can they develop ailments, but they can also begin to yearn for the feces they just got rid of because, well, they are full of nutrients.

2. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (PID)

Also known as pancreatic insufficiency, this is a condition in which your dog is creating little or no digestive enzyme in the pancreas. Without added enzymes, a dog basically dies of hunger little by little, with symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, and yes, he eats feces, because he is trying to get the necessary nutrients.

3. Parasites

Intestinal parasites that absorb nutrients that your dog should be receiving from his food could be another reason why your dog is willing to eat feces.

4. Conditions that increase appetite

Certain diseases such as diabetes and thyroid problems, as well as steroids, can make dogs voracious enough to eat feces (honestly many dogs do not need more than a push).

5. Bad absorption

Any other condition that can lead to malabsorption of nutrients in turn can lead to eating stool. Not only does your dog want to eat his feces, due to the tasty undigested nutrients, but he can find a cat's feces even more delicious. It is important to consider what stool you are looking for, because it can also be an indicator of a deficiency or disease in that pet.

6. Underfeeding

Make sure you are feeding your dog enough food at regular times. If your dog is losing weight with a fresh diet, give him more to eat! And keep a schedule, a hungry dog ​​will look for other food sources that you don't like.

Behavioral Reasons

Now that we have covered some of the possible medical causes for stool intake, we will move on to possible behavioral reasons. If you have to examine your health, consider the following:

7. Cleaning

There is a key moment that a dog will eat feces and it is in the natural order of things. This is when a female cleanses the feces after her puppies have done poop to keep the home clean.

8. Puppies

As puppies begin to be curious about their surroundings, they may decide to take a bite of some feces as part of the exploration process. Puppies usually do not do such experiments, but it can happen.

9. Scavengers

Dogs are natural scavengers that are attracted to the smell. He does not feel rejection and disgust for feces like human beings. And if the opportunity presents itself, they could simply eat it.

10. Boredom

If your dog is at home alone all day with not much to do, and there is poop at your fingertips, you can find a new way to entertain yourself and get some treatment in the process.

11. The search for attention

Our dogs love us and want our attention. If they feel a little ignored, even getting into trouble will please them, because, well, they have our attention. So sneaking in the yard and pouncing towards a fecal snack in the middle of the afternoon is a 2x1 because it receives treatment and our attention.

12. Stress

Dogs that are stressed (if they are locked up all day?) Can you relieve stress by eating poop.

13. Punishment

Dogs that were punished for pooping at home can begin to associate poop with something bad, punishment, and eat crime evidence.

14. I do what I see

A younger dog can learn this behavior from an older dog that has acquired a taste for manure. So make sure you end the root problem.

Now we know that there are multiple reasons why your Border Collie can eat poop. But, now the real question is what can we do to tackle the problem.

Quick list

First, keep things clean. Pick up after your dog has made his needs immediately. Do not give him the opportunity to ask how he knows that fresh and seductive piece of manure. If you have other pets, clean up after they do their things right away too, especially the litter boxes. In other words, keep temptation at bay by keeping Poop it away.

Keep your dog mentally and physically engaged. Be sure to play with him on a regular basis And if it is particularly energetic or a working dog, try something like agility or some other brain stimulating training. And make sure you have a lot of available toys To help keep you entertained.

Make sure you are eating a varied diet of quality proteins. Raw food has the digestive enzymes that your dog needs to help him process his meals. If you are feeding it from processed food only, you can add digestive enzymes.

Check your dog's stool regularly to detect parasites.

Avoid punishment, because according to a study at the University of California Davis, which involved 1,500 online surveys of pet owners, it is ineffective. The study also found that food additives used to stop the consumption of poop are only effective 2 percent of the time.

Stay on top of the digestion situation of all pets in your home. Remember, your dog can be attracted to stool of another dog or cat, not only because it has a deficiency of something, but because they are not absorbing their food and their poops are very tempting.

Clearly, the rude, but seemingly simple act of eating feces can be somewhat complicated. If your dog starts to nibble on the poop, first look for medical causes and if it's trouble free, make sure keep things clean, your dog entertained and well fed. Be patient and be consistent.

Have you had problems with your dog and poops? Do you want to tell us? We are happy to hear from you, share your experience on our Facebook page.

If you liked what we have told you, share this article with other Border Collie fans 😀

Reasons why dogs eat feces

There are many theories about this behavior, only that they are not all demonstrated since few or no studies support them.
However, we will show you the reasons that common sense and experience show us as the most likely:

1. Because it smells like food

You may not believe this reason at all, but it is usually even one of the most valid reasons of all others.
The excrement are food processed inside a living being, for that reason the feces continue to smell like the elements with which they have been formed. For example, if you eat fish, in your stool there will be many traces of fish. Obviously not for humans, since the sense of smell of human beings is much poorer than that of dogs, and when we smell dung it simply disgusts us and we do not get to "decipher" what food is present there. Unlike dogs, which thanks to the great sense of smell they have can identify the remains of food left in the droppings.

For example, if your dog loves cat food (He likes its smell, the taste, he loves to eat it, even tries to steal it or wallow in it, etc.), you may at some point catch it by eating your cat's feces. And what your dog is possibly doing is trying to eat "Cat Food", even if it is an indirect way.

2. To get attention

Eating stool is usually a way of draw attention, because the dog when eating the droppings immediately its owner notices and catches his attention and may try to distract him with something else. In this way the canine learns that performing that act gets the dedication of its owner.
In that case, it would be convenient to see if you are devoting enough time to your dog, playing with him and making his life a little more stimulating. Do not forget that dogs are another member of the family and need to have contact with members of the family structure.

3. For female bitches when giving birth

The dogs when giving birth and having their puppies, usually lick and ingest both the feces and the urine of their little ones to keep the burrow clean. For this reason, coprophagia can occur much more frequently in females. The reason for this behavior is simple, since this behavior is inherited from wolves to produce hygiene and safety.
The dogs (imitating the wolves) make the dirt of the den disappear and avoid parasites and infections, in addition to eliminating the olfactory traces that other predators could use to locate the burrows of the puppies and devour them.

4. Out of curiosity and imitation
This behavior is manifested especially in young dogs and puppies that out of curiosity explore their surroundings and can discover the appetizing taste of the feces of other animals fed with another diet. In some cases if your pet has seen you picking up the poop, he may want to help you by picking up his own. This behavior usually happens occasionally and disappears by itself.

5. To keep your space clean

Animals have the ability to distinguish dirty areas from clean areas, so some dogs eat feces to clean an area like a housewife and keep their space clean. This usually happens if your puppy is confined in a box or in a cage, or when it is chained or otherwise restricted, and it is customary to live with its feces and its natural hygienic habits have been affected.

6. Due to lack of nutrients

In order for your pet to have a complete diet it is important to give him homemade, natural foods and as a supplement some quality dog ​​food. Many coprophagy behaviors are usually due to the lack or deficiency of nutrients. Nutrient-rich foods are natural, the less processed, the better.

7. For digestive problems

Some dogs that make soft stools or isolated diarrhea, remain in it some undigested nutrients and when detected, they ingest them again to be able to digest them completely. This behavior is mostly adopted by puppy dogs.

8. For not having food

Many people only feed their dog once a day. Some postulate that dogs must have various meals throughout the day, for this reason they are accustomed to practice Coprogyia to complete their meal schedule and fulfill their need. It is recommended that you administer good quality balanced foods, since a lack of adequate fiber in the diet could lead to coprophagy.

How to prevent my dog ​​from eating excrement?

First and perhaps the only reliable way to solve this problem is to prevent, prevent your dog from accessing its feces, How? through active supervision and keeping your dog's place always clean.

If even with all that you have done, your behavior of eating feces still remains, the owners are advised to put something very spicy in the excrement of their dogs, so that when they smell and eat it, they teach them to associate between a very particular smell And a terrible taste. For this method to work, it must be used 100% of the time and thus improve this behavior. Every stool should have this spicy "something."

In the case that it is an adult dog and make these getaways to eat poop, here what applies is to get the dog to be obedient and that at the first call he comes, that is as always a good education that will allow us to have our controlled dog and prevent him from escaping from doing his own.

If you found this article interesting you can also read about: Why can't dogs eat chocolate?

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