One of the most frequent questions I get, aside from the more destructive behaviors, is about dogs eating poop!
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
A couple of my dogs especially like the frozen variety (“poopsicles”), and will eat more stool in the wintertime. I have also talked with people whose dogs like to eat fresh stool.
I don’t really think anyone has the definitive answer for this, but here are a few theories:
- With foods higher in nutrients, dogs actually will eliminate some food that is still “usable”. (I really don’t think this is so)
- Dogs are looking for vitamins, minerals & nutrients that they may be lacking. (again, with all the high quality food being produced, I doubt it)
- I do know that baby horses (foals) NEED to eat their mother’s stool to get the right bacteria into their gastrointestinal tract. Perhaps there is some truth here for dogs…
How To Stop Dogs Eating Their Poop
I don’t think there is any one way to get dogs to leave stool alone. Below are a few suggestions. You can try any or all of the below!
The best help to curb poop eaters is to keep the stool as cleaned up as possible. I will always joke with people and tell them to teach their dog to poop in a shovel! There is a product available through your veterinarian called “For-Bid”. It is an additive for the dog’s food that supposedly will make the stool less desirable for them (as if it already isn’t!). Some people have success with mixing meat tenderizer like Adolf’s into the dog’s food each meal. It is supposed to have the same effect as For-Bid. Solid Gold now makes a product additive called S.E.P. (Stop Eating Poop) that can be tried, as well.
Accompany your dog outside each and every time, and teach and use a command such as “Leave It!” to get him to avoid stool. Your neighbors will wonder what you are doing with this one: go outside and sprinkle an ample quantity of Tabasco-type sauce on each and every stool. The sauce has to be very hot, because some dogs enjoy the more mild hot sauces.
Spray a bitter apple, bitter orange or similar deterrent on each stool.
For dogs who will turn around and eat their own stool as soon as they are finished, or for those who eat others’ stool as they are pooping, the best way unfortunately is to have your dog on leash and use the “leave it” command.
What About Cat Poop?
Most dogs find cat “cookies” irresistible. It is very hard to deter a dog from eating cat poop, because, like eating any poop, it is self-rewarding behavior (the behavior itself is its reward). Cat litter boxes cannot be sprayed with bitter orange or anything like that, or the CAT will be discouraged from using it! In my household, I just position the cat boxes in places the dogs cannot reach. I use a covered litter pan in one area, which is a great deterrent for bigger dogs. In another area, I have the litter box blocked by a baby gate leaning against the doorway so only the cats can fit through (I have taught my dogs to respect the baby gates). A cat door to the basement can be used. Or a door can be kept open only a little, using some means to both keep it open and keep it closed enough so the dog can’t get through.
One word of caution about dogs and cat stool. The new clumping litter can pose a health threat to dogs if they eat it. Think of what the litter does when urine is deposited in it. Similar things can happen in a dog’s stomach if he eats enough of it.
Still Have Questions?
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