Behavior Mod.

How to Stop Coprophagy (Eating Poop)

One common problem that dog owners will likely find disgusting or unhealthy is dog coprophagia – or, eating poop. It is generally common among puppies up to one year of age, and may recur at any period throughout the pet’s life. Coprophagy, or stool eating, is believed to be caused by a canine behavioral problem or an underlying medical setback.

And, while this behavior is common and natural, who wants a big kiss from a dog that just snacked from the litter box?

As with any dog problem, especially when your dog is compelled to eat unhealthy things (like poop), a visit with your veterinarian is always recommended. However, below are a few tips to hopefully put an end to poop eating.

Fundamental Guidelines

Some of the proven ways to keep your dog from eating his own poop, or the poop from other animals, are listed below:

  • Feed your dog a well-balanced meal and a nutritious diet.
  • Try to feed him twice a day on a regular basis instead of only once.
  • Keep your pet’s living area clean of feces at all times, and provide him some chew toys to keep him preoccupied.
  • Make sure that your dog gets adequate physical exercise and mental stimulation.
  •  Teach your pet the obedience command “leave it.”
  • Put some pineapple, pumpkin, pickles, spinach, or garlic in their food as these additions can make the poop taste terrible when eaten.
  •  Always reward the desirable behaviors displayed by your dog.
  • Once you see your pet in the act of pooping, immediately provide him a distraction such as running off on him or calling him over to you. You can then give him praise or treat. Use this method consistently and it would be sufficient enough to break your pet’s yucky habit.
  • Visit a few local pet stores and buy a couple of effective products such as Forbid and Deter which have been proven to aid some breeds from eating fecal matter.
  • Fitting a muzzle into your pet may be helpful in breaking his less than desirable eating habit. This technique is especially suitable in times when your dog is taken off leash such as when you take him to beaches or local dog parks.
  • Employ the use of negative association method by making use of choke or prong collars. Give your pet a quick tug on the leash each time he tries to eat the poop. This correction will immediately teach your pet that eating poop is basically not a pleasant experience.

Whichever approach you would like to try with your dog, just be sure to be firm yet calm, and consistent. Enforce your strategy each time in order for your pet to truly refrain from eating poop. The longer you allow this yucky habit establish itself, the more difficult it will be broken.

Got any advice for our readers with poop-eaters on their hands? I’m sure they’d love to hear your advice, too!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Amy

    Sep 18, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Pineapple worked great for my Yorkie, named Buster! For approximately 3 days, I would give him pineapple in his food and voila! No more coprophagy!

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