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Is Your Dog Eating Poop? – 9 Causes and How to Put Put a Stop to this Disgusting Behavior
Eating their own or another dog’s poop is not only a disgustingly bad habit that many dogs engage in, but it can also be a sign of health problems.
Abnormal digestive behavior such as eating poop, stones, iron, glass, ice, snails, gravel, dirt, or simply eating abnormal amounts of food may be related to PICA (Pie-Kuh): constant ingestion of non-food material or coprophagia (knock -ra-FAY-jee-a)–stool ingestion.
According to The Merck Veterinary Manual, PICA and Coprophagia can be signs of behavioral problems such as obsessive compulsive disorder. However, some animal studies by holistic veterinarians suggest that lack of nutrition may also be to blame.
Even though your dog may be eating a well-balanced diet of both wet and dry food, the ability of your dog’s digestive system to properly absorb the nutrients from jerky may be less than adequate. Dogs are instinctively driven to seek or find food to supplement their needs and often turn to things like feces, vomit, and decaying meat to find these valuable nutrients.
Certain foods that are difficult for a dog to fully digest, such as carrots and grain-based foods, can become a trigger for the dog to ingest feces. A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet can help improve your dog’s ability to digest food and produce less appetizing poop.
Many holistic veterinarians suggest supplementing your dog’s diet with enzymes like those found in Prozyme. Others suggest using herbs such as ginger or cinnamon in small amounts (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) sprinkled over food to make stools less appetizing. Adding pineapple, spinach, garlic, and pumpkin, in small amounts, to your dog’s food can also help make feces less desirable to eat.
If you have a dog that is eating its own or other animals’ feces, you should first have them examined by a qualified veterinarian. Coprophagia can simply be due to a lack of nutrients, but there are many other possible causes, including exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (the inability of the pancreas to produce enough digestive enzymes), pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas) and intestinal infections.
While feces can provide the nutrients your dog is looking for, it can also contain parasites such as roundworms or tapeworms and can lead to other, more serious medical conditions.
There are three types of coprophagia:
Autocoprophagia: when a dog participates by eating its own feces.
Intraspecific coprophagia: when a dog participates by eating the feces of another animal of its own species.
Interspecific coprophagy: When a dog participates by eating the feces of another species of animal, such as cat feces or deer and rabbit droppings.
Other reasons for a dog to eat excrement include the need for attention (even if it is to be disciplined by its owner), to copy other animals who are engaged in eating excrement, to follow the maternal instinct to clean, or simply not getting enough food to satisfy your appetite.
Whatever the reason, it may be more than just a disgusting habit and should be investigated to ensure your canine’s health.
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