As gross as eating poo seems to humans, it is actually a common habit for most dogs with 16% of all dogs eating poop in the last week (eugh..!) and another 24% trying to sniff and nibble one.
But the possible explanations why dogs eat poo tend to vary from behavioural to medical reasons.
So let's have a look at some behavourial reasons:
- Before being domesticated, dogs were natural scavengers attracted to scent and fed on other animals' waste
- Puppies are naturally curious little creatures so it's only instinctive for them to nibble some poo as part of an exploring activity (thankfully they do grow out of this)
- A mother with pups will clean up after their young by consuming their poo to keep her den clean (and this is very necessary in the wild to not attract predators by the scent)
- Dogs can learn this behaviour from other dogs eating poo
- And sadly it can also come from pure boredom when left home alone all day or to relieve stress
There are some medical reasons too such as:
- If it's a regular occurrence and you are concerned, you may want to take your dog to the vet and make sure it is not because of an underlying health issue
- Some dogs eat poo because they are not absorbing enough nutrients due to poor digestive enzymes, they have parasites or they have pancreatic issues
- Conditions such as diabetes and thyroid problems can cause an increased appetite which can lead to dogs to be hungry enough to eat poo
- Overfeeding can also cause health issues. Overfed dogs can’t absorb all the nutrients in their food so they may try to 'recycle' their nutrient-rich poo
What can you do about it?
- First, if you're already feeding Poppy's Picnic then you're already on the right track! Poppy's Picnic is Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) and contains everything your dog needs to keep them in tip-top condition
- Keep things clean and pick up after them to reduce any opportunity
- Keep your dog mentally and physically busy and entertained with training or toys!
- Finally check your dog’s poo regularly for parasites (a stick to break it up can help... and a good eye!)