As embarrassing as it may be for pet guardians, some dogs are particularly enthusiastic about eating their own (or another dog’s) waste.
Want to stop your dog eating poop? Below we take a look at some of the reasons why your dog might be doing it, and outline a few easy steps you can take to deter the habit.
The question on everyone’s mind… why do they do it?
It’s normal for puppies to explore poop as they start to adventure into the outside world. Most puppies grow out of this phase pretty quickly, but for others, it’s a habit they carry with them into their adult lives.
The list of possible reasons is long and varied! They could be eating poop for medical reasons (such as enzyme deficiency, parasites, underfeeding, diabetes or diseases that cause increased appetite), or behavioral reasons (such as anxiety, attention seeking or stress).
If your dog is eating poop in their own environment, it could also stem from an innate desire to keep their ‘den’ clean. This behavior can be traced back to their wolf descendants who would eat the poop of the sick or injured pack members who couldn’t go outside - not only to keep the den clean, but also to stop parasites’ eggs hatching into infectious larvae (which would develop if feces were left for longer than 2 days).
The other thing to note is that dogs are natural scavengers - anything with a strong smell or taste is interesting to them. Dogs that eat a highly processed diet will often have smelly, larger stools (compared to dogs eating a biologically-appropriate diet such as raw) - which can be ‘enticing’ to some dogs!
Is your dog eating poop? Try this
Various studies have put ‘anti-poop-eating’ products to the test, with little success.
Raw food is better for your dog (than highly processed food) in every way. It’s great for joint health, oral health, and is full of digestive enzymes to help your dog process their meals. The cherry on top is that a raw diet actually produces much smaller and less smelly stools, which will be less enticing for your dog to eat!
The smaller size of their poop reflects the high digestibility of raw ingredients. Take ZIWI Peak, for example. Our foods are over 95% digestible, which leaves little room for waste!
Ashleigh Macpherson (pet guardian of Kaya) knows firsthand how transitioning to a raw diet can deter a pesky poop-eating habit...
"When Kaya first arrived, we were all excited to have this bundle of joy enter our lives. We knew we might see some different and difficult puppy behaviors, but there was one behavior we never expected… and that was that she ate her own poop. That's right, her own poop.
We consulted the vet and they said "she'll grow out of it." There wasn't really anything we could do about it but monitor her and do our best to pick up the poop before she could eat it.
Months went by and she was still eating her own poop. My vet suggested we change her diet to see if that helped. We tried many different brands, and after seeing that it wasn't helping at all, our vet suggested we try a raw diet. The moment we changed to raw, she stopped completely. I was extremely shocked! I never thought that changing her diet would cause such a drastic change. Not only did her poop eating habits stop, but her coat and condition improved drastically.
However, I did notice that if she ate some dog treats, she sometimes would want to snack on her poop. I mentioned this to my vet and they told me to try dehydrated meats, and recommended I use ZIWI as it's air-dried and completely balanced.
I began to use ZIWI treats and found she stopped snacking on her poop. I then decided to use ZIWI for her meals on the days I forgot to thaw her raw food (or ran out of raw food). She wasn't eating her poop and her coat/condition was still amazing.
Everything was going well, but I’d noticed I was finding it hard to keep Kaya's raw meals balanced. It was hard to find the right proteins, and it was extremely costly. I also no longer had the freezer space to store her raw food, so I made the big decision to move Kaya fully onto ZIWI - and it was the best move!
It's been a few years now, and Kaya still hasn't been tempted to eat her own poop. Her coat is still shiny and soft, like when she was on raw. Her poops are small, which shows you how digestible ZIWI is, and how it's a great raw alternative.”
There you have it - a raw or raw alternative diet can be extremely effective for stopping your dog eating their own poop!
Here are some other tips to remember:
- Be vigilant about cleaning up your dog’s poop every day
- Supervise your dog on walks and ‘scoop the poop’ quickly (before they get a chance to eat it!)
- Green tripe is particularly high in digestive enzymes and probiotics, and can help your dog suffering from a sensitive tummy when transitioning to a new diet.
If you have a story about ZIWI food helping your own furry friend to stop eating their own poop, please get in touch as we’d love to hear it.