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Corprophagia, Poop eating and How to Eliminate it!

Updated on February 6, 2013

Corprophagia

Corprophagia is eating feces either the dog’s own feces or the feces of other dogs. If your dog has corprophagia you are not alone! Many dogs to their owners disgust and dismay eat their own poop. Corprophagia is a preventable and correctable behavior. I have listed the 5 classifications or reasons dog eat their own poop and 5 ways to stop or prevent corprophagia.

 

1. From Mamma

Some puppies to the dismay of their owners will eat their own poop. This is normal believe it or not! When a Mother has puppies it cleans up after them by licking their rear ends to compel them to poop and eating the poop. She does this instinctively to keep the den clean and prevent the smell from attracting predators. Some puppies pick up on this and will eat their poop as soon as it hits the floor! This problem can grow into eating other dogs poop as well as their own.

2. Malnutrition

Corprophagia can also be caused by not getting enough nutrients, pancreas problems or parasites so it is wise to bring this issue up with your veterinarian. If your dog prefers poop to food this is definitely a medical issue.

3. Boredom and Unclean Environment

Boredom and or an unclean household can also prompt a dog to eat poop. Dogs need mental stimulation and if left in an environment with very little to do they can resort to playing with their poop. In an unclean household or environment where feces are abundant they ‘clean up’.

4. Negative Attention

Dogs, like children will get attention anyway they can and if they get attention from eating their own poop, well, they get attention. If your dog is following you around the house with poop in their mouth waiting for you to fuss, waiting until you walk toward the poop to grab it and/or flaunting it in front of you, your dog is definitely doing this for your attention! Ignore your dog, don't look, talk, touch etc. your dog is invisible when it is playing these disgusting games. If you are walking toward the poop to clean it up and your dog heads in that direction immediately look away, walk away!

5. Sick

If in a household with multiple dogs and one dog gets sick, one or more of the healthy dogs may eat the sick dog’s poop. It is suggested that this is to keep predators away but who really knows what they are thinking….. As stated above corprophagia can also be caused by pancreas problems or parasites so it is wise to bring this issue up with your veterinarian.

Ways to eliminate Corprophagia.

1.) When your dog goes poop distract them immediately and do not clean it up in front of them!

2.) There are many concoctions’ available in the pet stores to add to your dogs food. I have never heard a customer say they work. In fact I hear the opposite that the products are not effective and many people have tried them all. Pumpkin and meat tenderizer are also often suggested but from what feedback I have received they are rarely effective. From trial and error and lots of customer feedback what I have come to recommend to people is to add a small amount of crushed pineapple to their dog’s food. I have had many, many happy, relieved customers who had great success with crushed pineapple. However, if your dog is eating another dog’s poop (unless the other dog is yours) this won’t work unfortunately. You do not need to add pineapple juice or crushed pineapple to your dog’s food indefinitely, use your best judgment. As I said earlier some people use pumpkin or meat tenderizer so if pineapple does not deter your dog try adding a small amount of pumpkin then if all else fails try the meat tenderizer. Talk to your veterinarian before trying any product or home remedy just to be sure your dog does not indeed have a rare medical problem.

3.) Keep your dog’s environment clean and always clean up after them with and sanitize the area with an enzymatic cleaner.

4.) Feed your dogs a good quality dog food and feed them on a schedule. Feeding on a schedule gives you much more control over potty times because your dog will develop a corresponding potty schedule. When you take your dog out to go poop take them out on a leash. Take them to the same spot each time you take them out. When they get done distract them and do not clean up after them if they are able to see you. Return to the yard later and clean up.

5.) Exercise your dog and try to ensure they have plenty of things to do when you are gone. A bored dog is much more likely to eat poop. You could take your dog to a dog training class could learn basic command such as ‘leave it’ my favorite of all dog tricks. If your dog is already trained on the basic commands you and your dog would probably love to take a trick class and learn tricks which would keep you laughing and your dog busy!

Stop your Dog From Eating Cat Poop

I have had good results recommending that people put a small amount of meat tenderizer in their cat's food. Dogs eat cat poop because of the high amount of protein it contains. Some people recommend sprinkling the poop with cayenne pepper, that would work for me! However, it is important to stop this behavior at once because cat litter can pose a serious health hazard for your dog! I have known several people who lost their dogs to kitty litter. The litter clumps up and gets stuck in the dogs intestines! If meat tenderizer in the cat food does not work to deter your dog put the litter box in a cabinet, on the washing machine or some other high place where your dog cannot reach it.

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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      I never knew it had a name either. When my dog was a puppy he ate his own poop, no one else's. I got some tablets from Drs. Foster and Smith and they worked. After a few months I was able to stop giving them to him and he had stopped eating his poop.

      This is a very useful hub because often people are embarrassed to talk about this, they don't want others to think their dog is disgusting even though it is often a normal thing.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Laura Matkin profile image
      Author

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      I KNOW!! Those dirty scavengers will eat ANYTHING!!! I was shocked to learn, years ago, that this is a very common problem. I advise customers with this problem on a weekly basis believe it or not. My dogs don't eat their poop thankfully but they do eat cow patties and horse manure! Interestingly enough dogs really do not have many taste buds, they have somewhere around half of the amount of taste buds we do. Dogs rely mainly on their noses to tell them what's edible. We would think that would make eating poop even more unappetizing but apparently not lol:) Thank you for reading Time Traveler!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 6 years ago from USA

      Good grief, don't dogs have any taste buds!! Yuck!...but interesting hub.

    • Laura Matkin profile image
      Author

      Laura Matkin 6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      I get question about this frequently at work. Most people don't know the name or even the existence of such a common behavior and are shocked at their dogs 'behavior'. Quite surprisingly, Corprophagia is really a common issue with pet owners.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      I never knew there was a name for this disgusting habit. Thanks for the info.

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