Coprophagy

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Coprophagy; Dogs will eat nearly anything including their own feces, as disgusting as this may sound this gross habit is very common among dogs. Medically known as “coprophagy”, from the Greek word “kopros” (dung) and “phagos” (one that eats), this is a normal thing that dogs do once in a while.

Yes, this is an uncomfortable subject. But you need to realize that sometimes coprophagy is a natural and normal activity for dogs. As an example, newborn puppies have not yet learned to get rid of their feces by themselves, therefore the mother dog licks these to stimulate peeing and defecation, after which the mother dog licks them again to clean them up.

If and when adult dogs eat their own feces, it is a different story. When your pet eats their own stool it may be an indication of loneliness or boredom, although in some occasion, miscues in housebreaking can lead to your dog eating stool because he learned that when there is a stool near him he sometimes gets punished so in turn, the dog eats his feces. On the contrary coprophagy does not present any problem for dogs, as long as the stools that he is eating do not contain any parasite eggs. It’s a major aesthetic problem for owners though. You can break and interrupt this unlikely habit by reducing the dog’s boredom or loneliness: Provide him more attention and use, different toys so he does not need to play with similar old pet toys constantly, and feed him more often.

Prevention may be the only sure cure. Pick up your pooch’s feces right after he defecates, or muzzle a coprophagic dog when walking in public places.

When you should call the Vet?

In spite of training, your dog doesn’t cooperate and continues to eat his stool, it is advisable to visit your veterinarian. There might be an actual reason for a dog’s coprophagy. A belly filled with earthworms or any other unwanted organisms could take advantage of your dog’s body, robbing him of significant nutrition, and he may be eating whatever he is able to find to compensate for this. There could also be a dietary deficiency in the diet. Adding brewer’s yeast to his food will boost his consumption of B-vitamins. Pumpkin or raw carrot will prove to add fiber to his diet and help him feel full. In some instances, fixing the issue is really simple by switching or adding your dog’s food with increased body fat, fiber, or protein. A veterinarian can suggest the best brand that is more appropriate to your dog’s nutritional needs.

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Based in Toronto Canada, Animal Rights Advocate and Relentless Volunteer!

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