Posts Tagged ‘my pregnant dog is eating poop’
Since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you have already caught your dog eating poop. So it’s no surprise for you to discover that poop eating, or coprophagia, is the deliberate and/or habitual ingestion of poop. Unfortunately, if you have seen your dog do it once or twice, it is likely your dog has developed this behavior as a habit.
Even I have had first-hand experience with my own dog eating poop!
A while back, I caught my then 3 month old puppy, Frodo, eating cat poop. I felt more than a little sick to actually see him do it and was also a little surprised at how much he seemed to enjoy it; I wondered how could Frodo find another animal’s poop so appetizing? As much as I love my dogs, I grimaced and pursed my lips in disgust whenever I caught Frodo in the act. Even when I did not catch him at it, there was nothing quite like the shudder I got when my dog walked up to me wagging his tail, trying to nuzzle or lick me with that tell-tale whiff of poop on his breath! As a result of applying dietary changes and training techniques (all of which are include this book), my dog no longer eats poop.
I have helped many owners, like you, who had also experienced this problem.
As you can see from my story, habits can be broken. As with all habits, the concern may be that it is causing your dog harm. So, can this habit be classified as harmful? Let’s have a look…
Is Poop Eating Harmful to Your Dog?
Generally speaking, poop eating is not harmful. However, worms (and their eggs) can be found in any animal poop, so regular worming ensures your dog is protected against infection. I strongly recommend ensuring your dog’s worming and vaccination schedules are kept up to date.
Just be mindful that your dog’s metabolism, as strong as it is, could be occasionally upset by a poop eating habit.
Also, there are other potential dangers, such as toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that is found across a wide variety of mammals, and can be extremely harmful to unborn children. It can cause miscarriages, or if it crosses the placenta, it can cause severe damage to the baby’s nervous system. On top of that, anyone with a weakened immune system is at risk of getting seriously ill with toxoplasmosis.
I would advise you now that if your dog is eating poop and you, or any family or friends, are pregnant, then limit the amount of contact that you, your family or friends, have with the dog or anything she may lick. Also, scrub your hands every time you handle the dog.
It’s been reported that toxoplasmosis was responsible for world famous tennis player, Martina Navratilova, being defeated in the 1982 US Tennis Open. It has also been cited, by different sources, as being the reason for Martina quitting her tennis career.
Toxoplasmosis presents as a mild flu and causes glandular swelling. If you have any concerns you must see your doctor.
So, now that you are aware of the possible dangers, I will explain why dogs eat poop.
15 Reasons Why Dogs & Puppies Eat Poop
There are many reasons why our canine friends engage in this habit:
1. Hiding The Evidence
Dogs do almost anything to avoid angering the pack leader (you!), so if you have ever punished your dog for pooping she might eat her own excrement to avoid angering you. If you have punished or yelled at your dog for pooping inside the house your dog may associate your anger with the act of pooping rather than where she poops. This means your dog may still eat the poop even if she relieves herself outside. To you, it might now appear your dog has developed a taste for poop eating, when all she wanted to do was hide what she sees as a crime.
2. How Much Is Enough Food?
If your dog does not get enough food or nutrition from her current diet, then she may attempt to increase her food intake by eating poop. Surprisingly, the exact opposite is also true: sometimes dogs will eat poop if their food intake is too high – this is especially true if the dog’s diet is high in fat. So, how much is enough food for your dog? This is not always easy to get right so to help you out, I have included the following chapter in this guide: “Diet Right for Dogs”.
3. Not Enough Mealtimes
Many dog owners feed their dog once a day. As a result, this can lead to the dog supplementing her diet with whatever she can find. Quite often this will be poop. Imagine only being able to eat once a day – twenty four hours between meals is quite a wait!
Hot Tip Consider feeding your dog twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Mealtimes are also a great opportunity to teach your dog to sit and wait for her meal; this reinforces your role as leader of the pack.
4. Your Dog Is A Copycat!
Dogs are pack animals and are hard-wired to engage in ‘allelomimetic’ behavior. This means they are genetically programmed to be like and act like other members of the pack. If you own several dogs and the dominant dog is eating poop, then the middle and lower pack members may also eat poop to imitate the dominant dog’s behavior.
If you own only one dog, she may be following your example. Your dog sees you scoop her poop and so learns to do her own ‘cleaning’.
Hot Tip If you have more than one dog, ensure you focus any training on your dominant dog first – the other dogs may follow suit. Can’t tell which one is dominant? I have included the following chapter in this guide: “Who’s the Boss?”
5. Something New to Chew
Eating poop may simply be a novelty. Puppies, in particular, are naturally curious and they are not above experimenting with their own diet by eating all kinds of things like dirt, grass … and poop!
6. The Accidental Tourist
Dogs are curious and will explore their world, mainly via taste and smell, whereas people explore mainly with their eyes. In their little expeditions, it is not unusual for dogs to accidentally eat anything found on the ground, including poop.
Have you noticed that dogs tend not to poop where they eat or sleep? This is because dogs do not tolerate poop in their living quarters and will often eat it to clean up. The likelihood of this happening is increased if your dog is confined to a crate or kennel, or is chained to a particular space. Eating poop might be your dog’s version of housekeeping.
Hot Tip If you must keep your dog confined to a smaller space, ensure you clean up her poop even more regularly than if she was in a larger area. This will help to prevent your dog from deciding to clean up before you!
8. A Stressful Habit
Your dog can feel the stresses of life just as you do. Your dog may also pick up on the emotions and tensions around the family home. Moving house or your being away for extended periods, such as when a new job takes you away regularly, can be triggers for stress. If she is feeling anxious, nervous or generally upset, she may engage in odd behavior such as poop eating.
9. Extra Nutrients
Your dog might be eating poop because she is seeking to supplement her diet with extra nutrients that have been sucked out of her body by parasites or worms. A way to get an indication of whether this could be the cause is to take notice if your dog seems extra hungry despite eating what is normally enough food.
Alternatively, your dog might be eating other animals’ poop (such as cat poop) in order to ingest nutrients and minerals not available in her food.
10. I Want Your Attention!
Sometimes dogs are more like people than we give them credit for. Just like a child that will act up to get attention, some dogs will eat poop for the same reason. Many dog owners get very upset when their dog eats poop, which means the dog gets attention she’s after. As our lives become more and more hectic, especially if your attention is focused on the children, your dog may decide that negative attention is just as good as positive attention.
11. Carrier Instinct
If your dog likes to carry poop (and probably eat it later) then she may possess a genetic disposition to carry items in her mouth. Gun dogs and sporting breeds may possess this tendency. For example, the German Short-Haired Pointer is proficient at tracking and retrieving prey. Other dogs in this breed category are Setters, Spaniels, Retrievers and Pointers.
Hot Tip If your dog likes to carry anything, including poop, in her mouth then you can easily teach her to “drop it”. Easy to follow instructions are included in the following chapter of this guide: “Training Your Dog”.
12. Nothing Else Better to Do
Some dogs will eat poop to wile away the time when you are away. Just as some dogs are destructive, others will actively engage in poop eating when bored.
13. I Eat My Boss’ Poop
Some dogs may eat the poop of the more dominant dogs in their pack. Your dog might engage in submissive behavior and show her compliance this way. If you have more than one dog, then it is possible dogs lower in the pack order will eat the poop of the ‘pack leader’.
Sometimes this can extend to human ‘pack leaders’. I have heard of dogs that have never eaten poop before suddenly running up and stealing a child’s poop out of its potty!
14. Puppy Love
Has your dam given birth to a litter of puppies? If so, your dam might eat her puppies’ poop. In the canine world, dams have a natural instinct to hide poop from potential predators, as the smell of the poop may encourage these predators to investigate, which puts the puppies at risk. Even though she and her puppies may be tucked away safely in your home or yard, her gut instinct – honed over thousands of years – will tell her that her puppies’ poop must be removed in order for her puppies to remain safe. Again, this is also tied into housekeeping: no canine wants urine and faeces in the sleeping area. Also, by licking away the excrement from a puppy’s bottom, the dam is helping to prevent disease, parasite infections and fleas.
15. Poop Is Yummy
Dogs can eat a whole manner of yucky things and find them all tasty. Poop can be one of those things. Some poop can resemble moist dog food. This is because if the dog food is low quality, many of the nutrients will not be absorbed by the dog’s digestive system, so the nutrients and tasty bits end up back in the poop! Naturally, the dog will simply eat what appears to be food.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
As you can see, there are many reasons why dogs eat poop. The reasons largely span three main categories: health, environment and behavior. My effective system for deterring your dog from eating poop addresses all three of these areas and is laid out in easy-to-follow step by step instructions.
Before embarking on a plan of action, it is very important to know why your dog engages in this disgusting habit. Once you know the reason, the answer will present itself.
Now that you have a better understanding of the problem, and the issues surrounding the problem, it is time to target the root cause of your dog’s poop eating.
So, answer the following questions, and let’s get started!
Once you’ve answered these questions I can outline appropriate solutions. If you haven’t answered the questions, please go back and do so. You will find this system easier to use once you have answered them.
Getting to the Root of the Problem:
If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions, then, well done!
You may not need to improve your knowledge or actions on the topics that you answered “Yes” to, and they are probably not the source of your dog’s poop eating habit. However, if after following the system, there is no effective change in your dog’s behavior, it may be worthwhile double-checking the topics you did not address the first time around. You may have missed some small piece of information that may make all the difference.
If you answered either “No” or “Don’t Know” to any question, then, well done, too!
This means there is room to improve and you are ready to learn.
There’s no shame in admitting that you don’t know everything about your dog. Most dog owners lead busy lives and don’t have the time to spend on researching such topics.
On top of that we increasingly rely on the anecdotal evidence of our friends and, unfortunately, what works for them often won’t necessarily work for you. My system has been specifically designed to enable you to hone in on exactly what you need to know in order to finally put an end your dog’s poop eating habit. What you need to do next is follow the steps in each topic that corresponds to the questions to which you answered “No” or “Don’t Know”.
Each question corresponds to Chapters in this system as follows:
Is your dog receiving the correct regular worming dose for her breed and size?
See: Chapter 2 – Worms and Squirms
Is your dog eating the right amount of food for her breed, age, and size?
See: Chapter 3 – Diet Right for Dogs
Does your dog’s food have all of the right nutrients, in the right quantities, she needs?
See: Chapter 3 – Diet Right for Dogs
Is your dog’s life free of environmental stress (including separation anxiety)?
See: Chapter 5 – The Stressed Dog
Chapter 6 – The Dog @ Ease Training System
Chapter 7 – Training Your Dog
Do you know your pack’s order?
See: Chapter 4 – Who’s the Boss?
Does your dog “leave it” or “drop it” on your command no matter what the item is?
See: Chapter 7 – Training Your Dog
Did You Answer “Yes” to every question?
If you answered “Yes” to every question and your dog is still engaging in poop eating, I recommend that you read
Chapter 2 – Worms and Squirms
Chapter 3 – Diet Right for Dogs and
Chapter 7 – Training Your Dog.
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