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Eating or Rolling in Foul Stuff

Quick Tip

Teach the Cue "Leave It"

- Dog Behavior Topic-

Coprophagia (Eating Stool)

What Is It?

Eating feces (his own or others')
  What Causes It?

Largely unknown.  It probably comes from the instinct of the bitch to consume the litter's wastes.  It is abnormal in any other context.

Who Does It?

In addition to an animal with a mangled instinct, any dog who is hungry enough may perceive stool as partially-used food.

When Does It Happen?

It often begins with a puppy who is exploring their world and tries the feces for fun.  Then, he develops the habit.

How Can I Stop It?
  1. Have the vet complete a physical exam, including an analysis of the animal's feces. 

  2. If the dog has a nutritional deficiency, improve his nutrition (new feed, vitamin or mineral supplements, as appropriate).

  3. Your DVM may prescribe a dietary supplement such as "Forbid" powder to add to the food of the animal whose feces is being consumed. 

  4. Accent® Meat Tenderizer can also be tried, but generally is not as effective. 

  5. The strategy is that by adding this material it causes the feces taste to change to aversive.

  6. If these steps don't eliminate the problem Take him out on leash to eliminate, even in your own back yard.

  7. Watch the dog carefully; Instruction him "OFF!" and stop him whenever you observe him attempting to eat feces.

  8. This must be continued for at least 14 days to be effective.

  9. Praise moving away after defecating. Reprimand any interest in feces.

Other Comments
  • Puppies often outgrow this behavior

  • It's difficult to correct in adults.

  • Some cases will respond to dietary supplements.

  • Some people have reported results from changing stool consistency with Metamucil® dosed to soften stool.

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