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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop

Dog poop eating is gross, but not necessarily detrimental to your dog’s health, and it can generally be stopped. Many dogs, particularly puppies, partake in a habit known as coprophagy – eating their own feces or the feces of other animals. Sometimes Coprophagia, can be an indication of more serious problems though, and you should have your pal checked out by a vet.

Most common reasons dogs eat their own waste are:

* Problem: lack of nutrients in his diet - Dogs that have parasites or worms do not digest food properly, because the parasites consume many of the nutrients. Dogs may try to re-digest the food to get all of the nutrients they can from it.
Solution: Have your dog tested for worms.

* Problem: Stress - When dogs are in high stress situations they may behave differently. These differences include eating, which includes eating their own waste.
Solution: Did you just adopt your dog? If so, give him some time to adjust! Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress.

Here are some tips on how to stop a dog from eating feces:

*The living or wandering area of the dog should be properly maintained. Pet owners should train the dog to defecate in a designated area. A dog might be forced to eat his feces in order to keep his surroundings clean.

*Consult a veterinarian specializing in animal behavior about this complex problem, called coprophagia. Although veterinarians and animal behaviorists are unsure what causes the disorder, it can often be controlled with behavioral modification or drug therapy when it's properly diagnosed.

*Dogs should be fed in a timely manner. Twice a day of equal servings is ideal. This practice is advisable to prevent a dog from eating feces because of hunger.

*Buy a food additive - such as Deter or Forbid - or dry kibble that makes feces unappetizing to dogs, and add it to your dog's food if he's into eating his own. These products contain a chemical, monosodium glutamate, which is made bitter tasting during the digestive process.

*Teach basic obedience training. Say "off" if the dog is starting to taste his poop.

*Take your dog out on a leash. Jerk the leash when he heads toward feces, and reward him when he doesn't approach it. Use this method until your dog learns not to approach feces.