Friday, November 16, 2012

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop? By Dr Ellen Schmidt

Dogs are one of our most favorite companion animals and we love them lots. So most of their owners see poop eating by their dogs as a rather disgusting problem they want to get rid of sooner than later.

Why would dogs actually ingest faeces?

Coprophagia, the medical term for eating faeces is a quite common canine behavior. It is also a known behavior in other animal species and dogs usually ingest faeces from other carnivores or herbivores.

Ingestion of faeces is seen as totally normal for bitches with a litter of newborn puppies, when keeping them and the whelping box clean and hygienic by licking her puppies excrements away and to help them to develop regular motions and urinating. Young puppies may start to investigate and eat poop when they get more active outside the whelping box area.

Ingestion of poop is unnormal in that moment where a dog suffers form a medical problem that keeps your companion hungry and searching for food all the time. Conditions that can cause this problems are usually metabolic disorders or malabsorption. The theory about deficits of vitamins or macro nutrients is not well supported by studies yet.

Behavioral problems are here a more common reason: Most dogs that try to eat their own poop or that of other canines and other animal species cause their owners to be rather disgusted by it. Usually what happens is that you'd try to stop this behavior, which turns for your dog easily into a "game" with rules we don't really know.

What should you as a pet owner do, what should you avoid?

Catch your dog in that moment and don't start to make a big event out of it. Better is to try to get your dog to play with some of her favorite toys, which will help to distract her from this kind of behavior.

You will agree that a dog showing the "eating poop behavior" will always appear to be fairly disgusting, but depending on how gross you find this personally, it is certainly not an abnormal behavior pattern as such. Certainly, it is not a healthy behavior either and will expose your dog to a greater risk of ingesting different forms of harmful parasites that contaminate faeces of domesticated and wild carnivore animals.

Where should you get help from to get this behavior better under control?

A good idea is to consult your veterinarian first to rule out any underlying disease that could be the cause for being hungry all the time. Behavior modification may work well, so if the problem is still persistent and everything else excluded you could ask for advice from an animal behaviorist.

If you find the article about dogs who eat poop interesting and helpful, you may also be interested in further reading on Dr Ellen's website http://www.Pet-Health-Pro.com , where you can find further interesting topics about pet health, veterinary medicine and veterinary acupuncture.


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