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Today is: Wednesday January 17, 2018


Stool Eating

Stool eating, coprophagy, is a behavior problem that we find to be disgusting and unhealthy. Although it generally will not cause harm to the animal that is eating stool. Unless, the stool that is being eaten contains a harmful substance, such as worms. Even though it may not be harmful, it is not something that should be encouraged. 

We do not know why dogs eat stool. There are a variety of theories. Some theories include:

  • The dog is missing nutrition in the food that he is being fed, so he is trying to add those nutrients that he is missing by eating stool.

  • The dog has a medical condition that is not allowing the food that he is eating to be properly and completely digested, so the stool is tempting because it is still in some type of food format.

  • The dog is anxious or stressed.

  • Some believe that stool eating is a trait passed down through the years. Out in the wild, wolves will eat stool if food is in short supply.

  • Some dogs find stool tempting and delicious to eat.

Controlling stool eating can be a very daunting task. They are several ways to help curb this undesirable habit, however, you must always watch over your dog because any opportunity he gets, for example, walking at a park or visiting someone's house who has a cat, he will take advantage of. Some helpful suggestions to help control this include:

  • Keeping the yard, kennel, or crate free of stool.

  • Try to make the stool taste horrible. Some people have used a product like For-bid or cayenne pepper. If using a product like For-bid, it must be given to the animal whose stool is being eaten. Cayenne pepper would be put on the stool after elimination.

  • Walk him on a leash, so that you can have better control over him.

  • A muzzle may prove to be useful at times. A muzzle should not be used for extended periods of time.

  • If the dog is getting to the litter box, you will need to find a way so that the dog can't access it but the cat can. Some put the litter box up high, in a separate room, block it with a gate, or use a cover.

  • Do not punish your dog, this may reinforce his behavior.

Once you notice your dog eating stool you will have better success with stopping this before it becomes a habit.

This site and its contents are intended to serve as basic informational purposes 
 --not a substitute for-- 
professional veterinary care!

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