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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Why Dogs Eat Poop, Stool Eating - Coprophagia in Dogs


 If you have ever seen your dog eat poop you may have a) been disgusted and, b) wondered why your dog decided to consume such a seemingly unappealing substance.

There are many reasons why a dog may decide to eat his/her own poop, another dog’s poop or the poop of another animal species. The reasons way a dog consumes poop varies per individual canine - here are some typical factors to consider when looking to understand why your dog may eat poop…

Some Typical Root Causes of Coprophagia
  • Behaviour
    • A mother dog cleaning up after her very young pups’ stools - a behaviour evolved to protect the young from predators
    • Acquired habit
    • Anxiety and stress
    • Greedy eaters
    • Punishment for eliminating (pooping) in the ‘wrong’ place
    • Transferable behaviour - learning by example
  • Breed pre-disposition
    • Some breeds have a pre-disposition to poop eating - i.e. Border Collies , Shelties
  • Environmental Factors
    • Enzyme deficiency
    • Inappropriate
    • i.e. dry dog food
    • Insufficient diet - scarcity of food
    • i.e. dogs that have suffered deprivation - stray dog, puppy mill dog, neglected dog, etc.
  • Medical Issues
    • Gastrointestinal parasites
    • Mal-absorption of nutrients
    • Neutered males are more likely to ‘indulge’
    • Pancreatic Insufficiency
    • Pancreas is not producing enough digestive enzymes
 why do dogs eat poop
Some dogs enjoy eating the poop of herbivores such as cows, deer, horses and rabbits. Rabbit poop is particularly rich in nutrients - vitamin B and digestive enzymes.

Other dogs enjoy raiding the cat litter box.  Cats that are feed a processed food diet tend to pass stools that are full of undigested matter - this can make the stool appealing to some canines.

I have eleven dogs in my own dog pack. They are all fed a diet consisting of primarily raw fresh and whole food. Given the opportunity - three of my dogs will indulge in dog stool coprophagia - the other eight dogs never do so. The three that 'indulge' have no medical issues...

So why do these three dogs eat poop - here is a little analysis (please note the three have asked me not to mention their names):
  • Poop eater No. 1
    • Breed - Sheltie
    • Sex - male, neutered
    • Background - puppy mill dog
  • Poop eater  No. 2
    • Breed - German Shepherd x Malamute
    • Sex - male, neutered
    • Background - homeless rescue who had to compete for food
  • Poop eater No. 3
    • Breed - Australian Shepherd
    • Sex - female, a very maternal female
    • Background - rescue who had severe anxiety issues
I also have companion rabbits, and yes rabbit poop is popular with most of my dogs as are the wild rabbit and deer droppings found on my trails. On occasion some dogs will also eat the poop of related species such as coyote, fox and wolf.

A walk on the trails can be a source of  natural 'help-yourself' treats’ for the dogs.  The foraged treats range from healthy and self medicating items, to disgusting to me ‘uh uh, don’t touch’ items and ‘don’t roll in it either' items.

Examples of acceptable items that my dogs self-select are organic (non-pesticide or herbicide treated) grass, wild strawberries, juniper berries.

And, well - you have an idea of what the unacceptable items consist of :>)

My Australian Shepherd Tasha 

Additional Assistance

If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my In-Person or On-Line Services…

Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services:
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services:
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service

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Note -

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Nutraceuticals and Alternative Medicines:

When choosing to use any of the items or protocols in the article above, it is your responsibility to ensure safe use of the item/protocol. Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines all have drug interactions, most have health issue contradictions, some have side effects. Use of substances and protocols are your responsibility. Prior to use of any substance or protocol make sure you do your research - check for all cautions, contradictions,interactions, side effects. If in doubt do not use the substance or protocol. If the substance, or protocol is contradicted for your animal do not use. If your animal has an underlying condition you are not aware of substances may conflict with that condition.

2.0 The Real Meaning of Holistic…

Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’. It is important to keep in mind that the supplement industry is just as unethical as BigPharma, the Food and Pet Food Industry, and unfortunately many veterinarians.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (i.e. an herb) you are using a natural substance, this is not synonymous with holistic.

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that - overall health, and wellbeing.

Please do not expect a natural substance to miraculously remedy a health or behavioral situation. A natural substance may be used to treat symptoms. However, if the factors causing the underlying issue are not properly identified, analyzed and addressed you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach that identifies root cause, seeks to remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues, and builds a complete, and detailed approach to immediate treatment, remedy, and maintenance of long-term health = holistic.

I offer extensive consultation services - Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness and Holistic Behavioral, for people that are serious about looking after their dogs and cats holistically. If you want to engage my services you can contact me via email or phone.

If you are looking for additional free advice, please refer back to the articles on my site, do not contact me via email or phone - personalized service is for my clients / patients only.

3.0
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Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen
the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats

karen@ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca

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