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They’re just copying mum…
When a litter of puppies are very young, mum will lick them around the back end to encourage toileting, and ingest their faeces during the process. In the wild, it helps to keep the den clean and prevent predators from smelling it. The puppies usually stop this around the time they start going to school. Puppies having the opportunity to eat faeces in the first few months of life is very important.
Try changing their food…
It is worth considering your puppy’s diet if he or she continues to eat his or her faeces as they grow. It’s possible that a poor quality diet contains a lot of non-digestible material. Changing to a higher quality food with a greater digestibility may help, as it can make the faeces smell and taste similar to the food going in. Puppies grow quickly and often burn a lot of energy running around and exploring, so consider the amount being fed. It is important that you provide enough food to match these requirements for large breed dogs. If you are unsure, your veterinary practice can tell you what to do.
Both puppies and adult dogs may eat faeces for attention, as it often provokes a dramatic response when done in front of their owners. Don’t over-react because it may be difficult.
If you have to, take your dog to the bathroom on the lead. Encourage them to move away from the poo by giving them a tasty treat or toy. You don’t want to build up any desire for your dog to get to it before you do, so don’t worry about picking up the poo immediately. If there is someone else with you, ask them to pick up the poo once your dog is distracted, or if you are at home or alone on a walk with your dog, scatter some treats on the floor or hide a toy for them to find.
Older dogs are more likely to start eating faeces due to stress. Try and add in some extra walks and one-on-one time with your dog.
How to stop this behaviour…
Home remedies and commercial products can be used to stop your dog eating faeces. The added food is supposed to change the taste of the dog’s stool. Not all products are successful in all dogs.
Eating faeces is a bad habit that needs to be broken. Being prompt about picking up any mess as soon as it is produced is the most effective way of preventing the dog from eating faeces. If your dog is eating another animal’s feces, use the distraction technique to get them to go for a snack or play with a toy. They should stop doing that eventually. It is worth consulting a veterinary behaviorist if your dog has a persistent problem.
The 7 Reasons Why Puppies Eat Poop
1 Someone is copying a mom.
Keeping the den area clean is part of looking after their puppies. The mother licks the puppy’s back end to keep it clean and to encourage toileting. Their puppy’s stool is eaten naturally.
The purpose of eating the poop in the wild is to keep the den clean, which will prevent any predator from hunting them down through the smell of feces.
Some puppies will mimic their mother’s behavior and eat their poop when they are on solid food.
2 There are issues with digestion.
There could be a digestion issue causing the behavior. If you know that your puppy is eating a healthy diet but still eating poop, they may be having issues with their digestion.
It’s also possible the puppy’s food is missing important nutrients.
Speak to your vet if you suspect that your puppy has a health issue.
3 There are anxiety problems.
Some puppies will eat up their feces to get rid of evidence if they are angry at a puppy or punished for pooping in the house. It turns into an endless cycle of coprophagia behavior and punishment if this leads to more punishment.
4 There is attention-seeking.
Puppies know that they will get a reaction from you, so they might eat their poop. If it is a negative reaction, attention is what matters.
5 Separation anxiety.
Puppies that are kept isolated or just left alone for a long time will eat their poop as a way to entertain themselves. Being new to your home or being punished can cause stress-eating poop.
6 Not enough food.
If a puppy is hungry and not getting enough food throughout the day, they will resort to eating what they can. On average, most puppies need to be fed at least two to three times a day (toy breeds usually need to be fed four times a day).
If a puppy has parasites or worms, many of the vitamins and minerals in their diet will be lost. The puppy is always hungry and will seek out anything to eat.
7 For no reason at all.
There is no explanation for it. Some puppies eat poop because they want to.
There are ways to stop your puppy from eating their poop.