How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Feces - dummies

How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Feces

By M. Christine Zink

Why do some dogs eat other animals’ poop? No one really knows for sure, although there are a number of theories. Some think that dung-eating dogs are fulfilling a nutritional need. Others believe that Retrievers and other dogs with the carrying instinct may view feces as another object to retrieve. Still others attribute it to boredom or attention-seeking behavior.

If the poop-eating pooch is a female, she may be instinctively cleaning up the environment, just as female dogs clean up after their young pups. Dogs often eat stools when they are on a weight-loss diet.

Although eating feces seems disgusting to you, it is often totally delightful to your dog. In fact, eating stools is one of the most common behavioral problems reported. Eating stools usually is not a problem for the dog, but it certainly is an aesthetic problem for dog owners. No one wants to get close to a dog with poop-breath!

You can try a few different approaches for solving this problem:

  • Change dog food or supplement your dog’s diet. Green vegetables, alfalfa, barley, and yeast all have been suggested as supplements to reduce stool eating. Some people have found that adding digestive enzymes to their dogs’ food helps as well.

  • Get rid of the temptation. Pick up stools your dog has access to and dispose of them. If the problem is that your dog eats cat poop, you may need to be very vigilant about scooping immediately after your cat poops.

  • Use deterrence. Sprinkle a taste deterrent such as Tabasco sauce on feces. The problem with this is that it’s hard to catch all the stools in the yard.

    If your dog eats some of the stools with the taste deterrent but happens upon one normal stool, she will be intermittently rewarded and will be more likely to eat stools in the future. Besides, if you are going to go around sprinkling the stools with something nasty, you might as well pick them up, which in the end is probably the best solution to this problem.