There’s no denying that our canine besties are wildly cute, but they can also be downright disgusting with their weird habits and behaviors. One of the nastiest of those behaviors is eating poop – something we’d never imagine doing ourselves… In this guide, you’ll learn the best home remedies on how to get a dog to stop eating poop with some helpful tips and tricks that are easy to implement into your daily routine. Say goodbye to those poopy kisses for good!
Table of Contents
- Home Remedies How to Get a Dog to Stop Eating Poop: Intro
- Why Is My Puppy Eating Poop?
- How To Get A Dog To Stop Eating Poop: Home Remedies & Tricks
- How To Get A Dog To Stop Eating Poop: FAQs
- How To Get A Dog To Stop Eating Poop: Final Thoughts
Home Remedies How to Get a Dog to Stop Eating Poop: Intro
Before we jump into the why’s and how’s, let’s tackle the elephant in the room – yes, your adorable dog’s poop-eating habit is far from a rare phenomenon. In fact, it’s a fairly common occurrence in the canine world. But don’t fret! With a little patience, some keen observation, and a handful of effective home remedies, curbing this behavior is absolutely possible.
Wondering how? Well, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll delve into some of the best home remedies on how to stop a puppy from eating poop and offer you a comprehensive guide to transform your furry friend from a poop muncher to a well-behaved, not-so-disgusting pet.
Why Is My Puppy Eating Poop?
Us simple humans call it poop eating. But this nasty behavior actually has a scientific name – coprophagia.
Even though this is a common behavior in dogs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should encourage it or continue to let your dog eat poop. In fact, if your dog is eating poop, it’s likely caused by something related to their health or emotional wellbeing.
However, it’s a different story with puppies and nursing mama dogs. For the first few weeks of puppies’ lives, their mother will lick their bums to encourage peeing and pooping. They also do this clean up the puppies’ bum area from any poop and other messes. Yes, indeed, a mother dog will eat its puppies’ poop! The same goes for the puppies – it’s rather normal for them to eat their own poop, even other’s!
This becomes an issue if a puppy starts eating another animal’s poop, as this could quickly lead to parasite infestations or catching nasty viruses and bugs. Likewise, your alarm bells should start ringing if your adult dog all of a sudden starts munching on poop.
It’s actually not uncommon for dogs to resort to eating poop if they’re struggling with something behind the scenes, whether it’s an underlying health condition or an emotional issue they’re dealing with. So, let’s first take a closer look at the possible causes for this rather icky problem, so you can tackle it with the right approach.
An unbalanced diet could be to blame for your puppy’s poop eating habits. If your dog or puppy isn’t getting the right balance of nutrients from their diet, they might resort to eating poop in an attempt to get those much-needed nutrients into their system.
Some dogs may lack certain vitamins and minerals, or even calories, and instinctively seek out alternative sources to fulfill their nutritional needs. This is especially true if your dog’s diet isn’t exactly the highest quality option available out there. Likewise, this issue can also arise with homemade dog foods, as it can be difficult to balance all the nutrients that your pup needs.
By the way, intestinal parasites and worms can also contribute to malabsorption of nutrients. This means that your dog’s body isn’t effectively absorbing the nutrients they need from their food.
It’s crucial that you provide a balanced, high-quality diet for your pooch. If you suspect diet as a reason for coprophagia, consulting with your vet would be your best bet. But what you can do is to always opt for dog food formulas that are AAFCO approved, meaning that they meet the minimum nutritional requirements for dog food.
In addition to that, make sure that the formula you’re feeding to your dog is suitable for their age. Usually, puppies should only be fed puppy formulas, whereas adult dogs should be eating dog foods that are formulated for adults.
Stress, Fear, Anxiety, & Other Behavioral Issues
Stress, anxiety (including separation anxiety), and certain behavioral triggers can also lead to coprophagia, a.k.a poop eating in dogs. This might seem strange to us humans, but in the canine world, it’s often a coping mechanism for dealing with stressful situations or changes in their environment.
For instance, a new addition to the family (a baby or another pet), moving houses, or even heading back to the office after working from home for a longer period of time could lead to anxiety in dogs. To cope with the stress and anxiety they’re experiencing, dogs may start to eat poop to soothe themselves. In severe cases, this could lead to a condition called pica, when a dog is compulsively eating non-food items to soothe their anxiety.
In terms of behavioral triggers, dogs may resort to this habit due to lack of attention or out of sheer boredom. If your dog is left alone for extended periods or isn’t getting enough exercise and mental stimulation, they might turn to unusual behaviors like eating poop to keep themselves occupied.
This is especially common in dogs who are highly intelligent and energetic. They simply need an outlet for their energy. But to be fair, all dogs need mental and physical stimulation to keep them entertained, so no pup is safe from this problem. To put it simply, if your dog is bored or if they’re even just trying to get your attention, they might start munching on their poop.
Furthermore, if your dog has been severely punished for pooping in the past, they might eat their poop to hide the evidence and avoid punishment. For example, if they’ve made an accidental mess inside the house and they’ve been punished for it, this could lead to poop eating.
Of course, certain health problems could also cause your dog or puppy to eat either their own or another pet’s poop. As we briefly mentioned earlier, parasite infestations like worms can rob your dog of essential nutrients, leading your pup to seek out additional nutrition from feces.
Moreover, digestive enzyme deficiencies or pancreatic insufficiency can result in nutrient malabsorption, causing your dog to pass undigested food, leading to nutrient-rich feces that your pooch may be tempted to eat. Additionally, conditions like diabetes, thyroid issues, or Cushing’s disease can also lead to unusual poop eating habits.
Another thing to note is that elderly dogs may start to experience cognitive dysfunction that can lead to confusion and unusual behaviors, including poop eating.
How To Get A Dog To Stop Eating Poop: Home Remedies & Tricks
If you’re looking for home remedies on how to stop a dog from eating poop, then you’ll be glad to learn that with a few simple adjustments and steps you can successfully stop this nasty behavior. Here are some tricks we recommend you implement in your household:
Enrich Your Dog’s Diet With Vitamins And Digestive Enzymes
If your dog’s poop eating behavior is caused by an imbalanced and nutritionally deficient diet, then adding certain vitamins and digestive enzymes can work wonders. As we mentioned earlier, if your best pal’s diet is lacking certain nutrients, they may instinctively try to balance it out by eating poop.
Make sure that you’re feeding your dog a high-quality and nutritionally balanced kibble or wet food that’s fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. Many dog food formulas are also fortified with pre- and probiotics that can help with digestive issues that are often to blame for poop eating.
Similarly, incorporating digestive enzymes into your dog’s diet can help improve your dog’s ability to absorb nutrients from their food. These enzymes break down food into absorbable components, ensuring your pooch gets the most out of their meals. This is especially helpful if your dog’s poop contains undigested food particles that can then attract them to eat the poop.
Remember, it’s always wise to consult with your vet before making significant changes to your dog’s diet, including adding any supplements to their diet. Before you start trying out all those different supplements and home remedies on how to stop a puppy from eating poop, your vet should run necessary tests and then provide appropriate recommendations based on the results.
Walk Your Dog On A Leash
Oftentimes, dogs love to eat poop when they’re out and about. Think of all those interesting scents they smell when they encounter another animal’s poop! To minimize those poop eating behaviors, use a leash to have more control over your dog’s movement and actions. This simple, yet extremely effective method is often overlooked.
Needless to say, a leash allows you to guide your dog away from any feces they come across and correct this unwanted behavior on the spot. Moreover, you can use a short leash to maintain closer control and prevent your dog from reaching any poop before you have a chance to intervene.
Instantly Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop
One of the simplest tricks to stop dogs from eating poop is to immediately pick up your dog’s poop after they’ve done their business. This method, although straightforward, can help stop the undesirable habit in its tracks. By removing the feces from your dog’s environment, you’re effectively cutting off their access to the very thing they’re tempted to eat. Not only is this good practice from a cleanliness perspective, but it also gives you the upper hand in breaking the poop eating cycle.
We must say that it’s common decency to pick up after your dog whenever you’re in a public space. But this doesn’t mean that your backyard should be a minefield of dog poop, either. So, regardless if you’re in your backyard or out in a public space, always have a poop bag on hand to clean up after your dog immediately.
When it comes to home remedies for how to stop your dog from eating cat poop, then the solution to this problem is the same – make sure to clean your kitty’s litterbox as soon as they’ve done their poopy business. This way, your dog won’t be able to eat your cat’s poop, especially if in the past you’ve let the poop sit there for a few hours or even days.
Train Your Dog To Leave The Poop
Training is a crucial part in any dog’s upbringing, and one especially helpful command is the “leave it” command. It can be a true game changer when dealing with that nasty poop eating habit!
The “leave it” command is super helpful for teaching your dog how to ignore an item that they’re dying to devour or pick up. In this case, it would be the poop. We recommend you start teaching this command to your dog in a controlled environment with less tempting items. Once your dog has mastered the command, gradually move to more appealing items, ultimately leading to poop.
Begin the training by holding a treat in your closed hand and say “leave it”. Your dog will probably sniff, lick, or paw at your hand in an attempt to get the reward. Ignore these behaviors and the moment your dog backs away, say “good” (or use the clicker if you’re implementing clicker training). Once your pup has successfully obeyed your command, reward them with that treat and praise them, too.
Over time, you should gradually increase the difficulty of the training by placing the treat on the floor and covering it with your hand. Progress to saying “leave it” with the treat uncovered. Once your dog is responding to the command, you can try it out with poop when you’re on walks, always rewarding your pup’s choice to leave the poop untouched.
Remember, training takes time and patience. You should never punish your dog for not understanding or obeying, especially in the beginning, as this could create fear and anxiety, and possibly lead to more problematic behaviors in the future. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key in successfully training your dog to stop eating poop with any sort of training technique.
Get Help From Dog Training Pros
Teaching your dog appropriate behaviors is by no means an easy task. If you’re looking for efficient behavioral modification techniques and tricks to stop dogs from eating poop, then we recommend you try Baxter & Bella’s Online Puppy School that can get you on the right track with anything from potty training and leash walking to undesired behaviors like poop eating.
Don’t Forget To Provide Mental & Physical Stimulation For Your Pup
If your dog’s poop eating behavior is stemming from boredom or lack of mental or physical stimulation, then the answer is very simple – spend more time with your pup! Your dog should get plenty of physical exercise each day, according to their needs. Some breeds are naturally more energetic than others, so they’ll also need more daily exercise.
Similarly, don’t neglect the mental side of things. Intelligent little creatures as they are, dogs need to use their brains just as much as they need to use their bodies. Interactive games, puzzle toys, and other forms of enrichment activities can all keep your pup entertained and prevent boredom.
If you’re not sure where to start exactly, then be sure to check out our ultimate guide on dog enrichment toys and activities. By the way, these are going to be fun for you, too!
Add A Poop-Eating Deterrent To Your Dog’s Diet
Using poop eating deterrents in your dog’s diet can be an effective strategy in combating coprophagia. These deterrents often come in the form of chews and treats, making them an appealing option for your furry friend. These tasty treats work by altering the taste of your dog’s feces, making it less appetizing.
In addition to changing the taste, some poop-eating deterrents also contain ingredients that promote overall digestive health. They may include probiotics, digestive enzymes, or specific nutrients that your dog may be lacking. What’s more, they’re often also designed to improve your pup’s breath!
Tip for households with multiple pets: If you’re lucky to have more than one dog in your family, you should feed poop deterrent treats to all of your pups. This way, none of their poops will be appetizing to munch on.
While these deterrent chewables and treats can be a handy tool in your arsenal, remember that they are not a stand-alone solution. They should be used as part of a comprehensive approach to stopping poop eating, which includes behavioral training, diet adjustments, and regular exercise. Also, be sure to consult with your vet before introducing any new supplements into your dog’s diet to ensure they are safe and suitable for your dog’s specific needs.
How To Get A Dog To Stop Eating Poop: FAQs
When it comes to finding the best home remedies on how to stop a puppy from eating poop, a balanced diet and quick cleanup can be surprisingly effective. You should also make sure that your pup is getting the right nutrients they need from their diet and book a vet visit to rule out any health conditions or behavioral problems.
Yes, you can coat your dog’s or another pet’s poop with lemon juice to stop your dog from eating poop. But even though this could be an effective way to deter your pup from eating poop, we recommend you teach them how to not eat poop, and instead clean up any feces from your home and backyard as soon as one of your pets has done their business.
Indeed, dogs can very well get sick from eating poop, especially if it’s another animal’s poop. If your dog is eating poop when you’re out and about, you can never be sure that those feces aren’t contaminated with toxins, parasites, or viruses. For this reason, the best course of action would be to deal with the poop eating behavior and prevent it from happening altogether.
How To Get A Dog To Stop Eating Poop: Final Thoughts
“How to get a dog to stop eating poop?” is a common question amongst pet owners, since this weird behavior is nothing new in the canine world. Curbing this disgusting habit might seem like a daunting task, but with patience and consistency, you’ll be able to stop your dog from eating poop.
To sum it all up, we recommend you carefully go over your dog’s diet to make sure they’re getting all the nutrients they need from their kibble, as well as ensure that your pup is getting plenty of mental and physical stimulation each day. Other helpful home remedies on how to stop a puppy from eating poop include keeping your home and backyard clean from feces, walking your pup on a leash, and adding poop eating deterrents into their diet.
But above all, if this is a persistent issue, make sure to contact your vet to rule out any underlying health conditions or severe behavioral problems. Your vet is there to help, and the sooner you reach out to them, the easier it will be to curb this nasty habit.
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