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
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!