Coprophagy in Dogs

Many dogs develop the unpleasant habit of eating faeces. In some animals, it becomes almost compulsive behaviour. These pets eat not only their faeces, but those of any other animals. Several theories have attempted to explain this behaviour. Among the possible causes are boredom, too much confinement, lack of certain enzymes in the digestive system, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and neuroses.

Coprophagy usually does little harm except transmission of intestinal parasites and faecal bacteria, which may cause tonsillitis or intestinal upset.

Important Points in Treatment

In some pets, nothing seems to stop this behaviour. However, here are a few suggestions that may help:

Remove the faeces from the premises daily. Prevent access to cat litter boxes.

Do not confine your dog to an area where it has bowel movements.

Provide regular exercise for your pet.

One or more laboratory examinations may be required to rule out hidden causes.

Provide your veterinarian with an accurate description of your pet’s current diet, including snacks.

There is a supplement which can be added to your pet’s food to give the faeces a bitter taste. For some dogs, this is not a deterrent.

NOTIFY THE VET IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OCCUR:

There is blood in your pet’s stool

Your pet’s bowel movements are abnormal

Your pet’s general health changes