Coprophagia (the ingestion of excrement) is widespread in many animals, not just dogs. We do not know very well why dogs eat disgusting and dirty feces. Some have a genetic propensity for coprophagia, and in this case, it is around the age of 4 to 10 months that this behavior manifests itself. The coprophagia generally stops when the animal reaches the age of one year.
There are many reasons why dogs like to eat cat poop and litter, but no one is really sure of the reasons for this behavior. Sometimes, the problem is medical, especially in the case of pancreatic insufficiency or malabsorption syndrome, two conditions that compromise the digestion of food.
Dogs communicate through their mouths. They love to carry sticks and they love to chew toys or bones. Dogs also like things that smell and feces are obviously in this category. Strange as it may seem, your dog probably eats droppings to examine something that interests him.
Most, puppies eat their own droppings when they learn to clean. This happens because they are still unsure where to defecate or not. Afraid of having made a mistake, puppies will “destroy all evidence”.
This behavior can also happen with adult dogs that stay locked inside. They often eat the stools of their puppies by cleaning them at a young age.
Some dogs eat their excrement to recover unabsorbed nutrients. For example, dogs that receive foods high in starch and carbohydrates, and low in fat and fiber, are more likely to eat their feces, as are dogs that receive mostly dry or low-quality food.
Cat’s diet is rich in protein. So cat’s feces can attract your dog. You must imperatively and quickly discourage this behavior because cat litter can be dangerous to your dog.
Thus, dogs that eat the feces of other animals are unlikely to lose this habit unless they are prevented from doing so. Coprophagy is very difficult to stop:
- You must first clean the dog’s environment without delay before he eats his excrement.
- Prevent boredom by increasing your dog’s activity.
- Also be sure to provide a balanced diet, very digestible and that meets his needs.
- Adopting foods that are high in fat, fiber and protein and low in carbohydrates may be effective.
- Some “tricks” work well, like sprinkling food with a tasteless meat tenderizer or commercial product or giving the dog some canned pumpkin.
In any case, if your dog is coprophagous, consult your veterinarian.