Poop: The Dirty Doggie Delicacy

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poop. There, I said it. It’s sad but true, but it’s something that some dogs just can’t get enough of. How do you handle being informed that your doggie partakes of these “treats”? What drives our beloved furry friends to this nasty habit? What can we do to stop it? 

I’ll never forget one owner learning that his sweet little pup was part of this crowd. He was very upset to hear it. Mad at us. Mad at the dogs for pooping. Mad at the world! Later he admitted that he had overreacted. His words were, “I just felt like you were telling me that my dog was a drug addict.” I’ll admit it’s a shameful habit. It’s like your dog dragging his bottom across the living room rug, drinking out of the toilet or sticking his nose up your friend’s rear end. The truth of the matter is that coprophagy (consumption of feces) is common in dogs. 

So what’s the big hoopla -- why do dogs get down with the doo? One reason may be because they have some sort of mineral deficiency in their diet. If your dog enjoys eating cat poop it may be because cat food is higher in protein than dog food and therefore, their poop is as well. It may be just out of boredom. Or maybe it’s something they learned because us humans make such a big deal about keeping them away from it, kind of like when you tell a child not to touch something and it becomes more fun to try and touch it.

Stopping dogs from eating poop is the hard part. One way is to prevent the situation -– clean up after your dog every single time he uses the bathroom. Keep your dog on a leash on walks and at the park so that if there is poop nearby you can keep him away from it. Distract him with treats and things that are good to eat. Work with your dog on the “leave it” command so that if you see him sniffing poop with too much interest you can use the command to get him away (and give him lots of love and praise for listening). If your dog does eat poo, discipline him right then. Eventually he will learn it’s a bad thing … hopefully.

Even with all of our best efforts, at a certain point we just need to realize that dogs will be dogs. We love them for it. They don’t judge us for our weird human behavior like dancing badly, dressing strangely or having crazy hairstyles, so why should we judge them? -- Jenna Atwood