No one likes witnessing the sight of their dog sticking its mouth to the ground and picking up whatever they can find, but what if that “whatever” just so happened to faeces? What should you do?
Eating faeces is an unfortunate, but not uncommon unwanted behaviour among dogs, particularly when they have worms or allergies. It can also be the result of an unhealthy environment. Many dogs who eat faeces lack the proper nutrition or simply swallow a parasite way too big for their body, and in order to cope they need to ingest something that will help them get over it.
Commons reasons for this behaviour includes
Dogs are scavengers by nature. They like to get a taste of everything around them, even if it is most likely to make them sick.
You can tell when your dog is teething and eating faeces is just an extension of that. It’s also a way for your puppy to hunt his own food before he has his permanent teeth.
Hunger and Food Obsession
This one is obvious. Most dogs eat faeces because they are hungry from not getting enough to eat.
Boredom and Munchies
If your dog is bored, he will do something out of boredom, like eating his own faeces. Make sure you give him a healthy outlet for his energy. This could be playing fetch with him or going for long walks around the neighbourhood.
Just like people, dogs also have their own sense of personal hygiene and grooming. Dogs who are raised in clean and healthy environments tend to not eat their own faeces as much as dogs who live in unclean conditions.
Similar to the “health problems” section below, dogs who live in unclean conditions will also eat their own feces because of how hungry they are. It’s also possible that they will have worms and need to feed on something, anything to survive.
What Are the Risks of Dogs Eating Faeces?
The risks of dogs eating faeces can be as simple as what it is or have more serious implications. While, coprophagy is usually harmless, if your dog eats his faeces on a daily basis, and it does not seem to have any effect on him, then there’s no harm in allowing him to do so. While it’s not a pleasant sight, no owner would willingly let their dog continue such behaviour either. However, just because it usually harmless doesn’t mean, it may not have any associated risks. The risks of dogs eating faeces include:
Eating faeces could cause your dog to have an asthma attack because of the unpleasant smell it gives off. It could also cause an allergy to faeces or make him uncomfortable and uncomfortable because he ate it (e.g. intestinal worms).
Bloating is common in dogs who eat their own faeces because they swallow air when they vomit and then try to breathe in again afterwards. This result in them gulping and choking on air, which can result in excess gas build up inside them causing them to pass out.
If your dog is suffering from a severe medical problem such as stomach worms or an intestinal blockage, he might start eating his own faeces because it will help him get over this condition. In these cases, you should consult your veterinarian immediately.
If your dog has eaten his faeces and starts scratching himself violently or holding his head in pain, there is a chance that he might be allergic to something in his faeces. Seek professional help immediately if this is the case.
If you notice any strange behaviours with your dog or are overall worried, it is always recommended to take your dog to a veterinarian for an exam to find out if your dog suffers from health problems that has an underlying issue that can be the cause of why he or she eats faeces
Some medical conditions can be the result of why your dog will be eating faeces.
Its common sense, worms cause dogs to eat their own faeces because the worms inside them crave for more “food”.
It’s a good reason why you should keep your dog clean and groom him regularly. If he is constantly scratching himself, there’s a chance that he might be eating his faeces because it may help alleviate the itch that comes with allergies.
If your dog has fleas, he might be eating his own faeces because it’s the only way for the fleas to get a taste of blood. It is not uncommon for dogs with flea problems to have bald or itchy patches in their fur and this is why they resort to eating their own faeces.
If your dog is too scared or stressed out, he might eat his faeces to relieve himself from this stress.
How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Faeces
As disgusting as it may sound, you can actually install a camera in the area you think your dog is going to eat his own faeces and see where he does it. Then you can clean the area and make sure that there isn’t anything in there that will tempt your pet into eating the faeces.
Dogs who have worms will only eat their own faeces because it is the only way for them to get more worms. If you give your dog a proper diet, there’s no need for him to eat his own faeces.
If you have fleas in your home, keep the carpets and beds vacuumed at least once a month. This will help prevent your dog from chewing on bedding or carpet fibres and ingesting fleas.
If your dog is a picky eater, make sure that your dog is allowed to eat a wide variety of food while avoiding foods dog cannot eat. If you just feed him a single flavour diet, he won’t know any other way to satisfy his hunger but to eat his own faeces.
A lot of dogs will rather eat their own faeces than the food they are given. If possible, leave out dry kibble for your dog in places where it is most likely he will pick it up and swallow it whole. This can help keep him from eating his own faeces.
If you have a yard, make sure that it is regularly cleaned and mowed to prevent your dog from eating other faecal matter. It is also a good idea to cut back tree and shrubbery branches as this leads to faeces being dropped in the yard.
If you have a dog that likes to eat their own faeces or other animals’ faeces, then you should consider trying the methods above to prevent them from doing so. If your dog is suffering from an illness, it is important that you see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Remember dogs can get worms and parasites from eating their own faeces and other people’s faeces. It is not only gross but could be harmful to their health if they continue eating it.