Does Your Dog Eat Feces? What to do With Coprophagia

Coprophagia sounds complicated, but it just means your dog is eating feces, probably most of his own. Why is this behavior, unthinkable for humans, normal for dogs? You can find the answers here.

From a human point of view, it seems like dogs are just eating anything from grass to vomit and feces. Four-legged friends are clearly not very picky about food. Therefore, the fact that a dog likes to eat its own feces or the feces of other animals is often met with great misunderstanding.

According to the study, about 16 percent of dogs often exhibit this behavior that takes getting used to. It hardly matters how old the dog is, and whether it has been neutered. Instead, the decisive factor was access to feces – and above all, their freshness.

According to a study, over 80 percent of dogs that eat feces will only eat them if they are less than two days old. Possible explanation: dogs may have inherited this tendency from their ancestors, wolves. By eating feces, wolves could protect their environment from intestinal parasites. Sounds like a paradox? Presumably, however, the eggs of the parasites did not form infectious larvae in the feces until after two days. And they could not remove the heaps with a shovel …

Feces for Healthy Intestinal Flora

By the way, dogs are not the only mammals that feed on feces. And it can serve other important purposes as well. For example, a study with Brandt’s voles suggests that coprophagia promotes a balanced gut flora. With a positive effect: microbial metabolism is stimulated, energy level remains stable, and also affects cognitive ability.

First of all, scientists assume that mammals eat feces to satisfy their nutritional needs when otherwise they only receive poor quality food. Other causes could be parasites that make your dog absorb fewer nutrients. Medical conditions such as diabetes or certain medications can also stimulate your dog’s appetite and force him to eat feces.

Therefore, you should definitely talk to your veterinarian if you notice this behavior in your dog. He can check if there is a disease behind it. By the way, puppies’ behavior is even more normal than that of adult four-legged friends.

This Will Prevent Your Dog From Eating Feces!

Even though coprophagia can have various and potentially significant causes, it carries risks. Because, of course, your dog can ingest pathogens in its feces and, in the worst case, pass them on to you. Therefore, it is clear that many owners want to do something about it.

Best tactic: Keep your four-legged friend away from feces, especially fresh ones. Always collect your dog’s remains immediately and encourage other dog owners to do the same. Also, check if your dog is getting all the nutrients it needs from food.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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