Dogs don't just eat their own feces, but also eat the feces of other animals, like cats and horses. It is worth noting, that dogs cannot differentiate feces from food. For them, it's just another type of food. While it may not be an unsocial or uncivilized behavior for dogs, it is disheartening for the owners to see their dogs eating their own poop.
Probable Reasons Behind Poop Eating Habit of Dogs
First of all, the diet of dogs mostly consists of meat-based food. So, it is obvious that their feces will also bear the characteristics of meat. This may be one of the reasons they fancy poop. According to yet another theory, this behavior has something to do with inadequate nutritional status or even a deficiency in pancreatic enzymes that gives rise to certain imbalances, which are corrected by instinctively eating poop.
It is also worth noting that dogs eat the feces of their pups until they are about 4 or 5 weeks old. This habit is common in most animals―especially in the wild, where the mother eats the feces of her young ones, lest the scent may attract predators. The feces of babies have a different odor due to the high milk content and this can easily lure predators to them. By eating the feces of her young ones, the mother ensures that they stay safe when she is out gathering food. This theory can also be linked to domesticated dogs, which might be indulging in such 'wild' thing!
To find a stray dog eating the excreta of other animals or his own, might have a logical explanation to it. The word stray means homeless and thus, far from getting good or even enough food. In order to ward off their hunger, they recycle the feces of their own, or eat the feces of cats or other animals.
Boredom or lack of attention may also trigger this behavior in dogs. Being isolated for a long time with no means to kill time, the dog may take interest in any sort of entertainment in whatever form, such as eating poop! Some people banish their dogs from the house for a while or punish them for such behavior, which is by no means a rational approach. If at all, it only worsens things, making animals resort to this activity more than ever.
Allelomimetic behavior is yet another possible cause of this dog behavior. This behavior is often seen in social animals who try to mimic you or other animals around them. Your dog must have seen you pick up his poop on a regular basis. In such a situation, there are good chances that he might as well carry the same in his mouth with the intention of helping you.
Though remote, there is a possibility that a qualified vet may be able to control this behavior by resorting to behavior modification or drug therapy.
You can add papaya extract to your dog's food. It will help in digestion and make the poop less attractive for him. Even pineapples make feces unpalatable. So, feeding your dog pineapples may aid in curbing the habit.
If possible, then train the dog to excrete on demand, so that you can get rid of the feces immediately. You can also take your dog for a morning walk or an evening walk, so that he can defecate outside.
If you also have a pet cat, ensure that you hide the litter box and prevent your dog from coming in contact with it.
Keep an eye on your pet while you are outside. If he is heading towards any poop, jerk the leash. Pat or reward him for not doing so. If you can inculcate this habit in your pet from the beginning, then you will be able to get rid of this behavior easily.