Coprophagia (Poop Eating) Advice

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Coprophagia (Poop Eating) Advice

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  • #38412 Report Abuse

    Austin L
    Member

    I’ve been a long time reader but thought I’d see if I could get some advice from the knowledgeable people on this board. Our 11 month old hound/boxer mix has recently (past 1-2 months) started eating poop. At first we didn’t even notice as he’d do it when running around on his own in the backyard. But then he had a few bouts of day long vomiting after we caught him doing it. When we keep him away from the poop it’s fine and he doesn’t have vomiting problems. We’ll have my fiance’s parents dog-sit him sometimes when we’re out of town and he’s gotten into poop there as well followed by vomiting. As soon as he vomits we limit him to chicken with yogurt and rice to help calm his stomach for the next few days.

    He’s a VORACIOUS eater and as soon as he finishes eating he’s searching for more food. He’s 60 lbs and we feed him 4 cups a day (feeding twice daily) of high quality grain free food. We’ve rotated between Wellness Core Wild Game, Orijen Adult, Wellness Core Original, and Merrick Duck and Sweet Potato. We feed him in a bowl designed to help slow him down as well. We also just finished a regimen of probiotics that we purchased about 2-3 months ago to help with loose stools, which worked wonders.

    What I’m wondering is if we need to possibly switch him to a food with grain in it. He never ever seems full and will run out and eat poop right after he finished his meal if he’s allowed. Also, should we try a digestive enzyme as well? Any suggestions would be great we just want to find something that we can stick with to help him. Thanks!

    EDIT: Also I forgot to mention he’s always had issues with fairly constant anal gland secretions. Nothing huge, just little bit every couple of days.

    • This topic was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by  Austin L.
    #38432 Report Abuse

    Msdonna657
    Member

    I would be interested in an answer to this as well! I have three Golden Retrievers. One has “outgrown” this behavior, but our youngest one still does it. No matter what type of food. We’ve actually RACED him across the yard to where one of the other dogs is “finishing up business” to pick it up before he gets it. We’ve tried the meat tenderizer and other products sold for this purpose on the other dogs’ food, but nothing seems to work. Any other advice would be a help!!

    #38446 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    For some dogs, this is just a disgusting habit and nothing will cure it. For my dog, switching to a high protein food and adding digestive enzymes did the trick. He will still eat the feces of dogs on a low quality diet though. Adding digestive enzymes would be the first thing I would try, just keep in mind that all your dogs have to eat the digestive enzymes, not just the offender.

    #38453 Report Abuse

    T
    Member

    Coprophagia is normally a juvenile behavior that dogs outgrow. Some dogs may continue into adulthood. The behavior may have different origins, not the least of which is “stomach heat” and inadequate nutrition (i.e. non-species appropriate food, non-fresh food, etc.).

    I sound like a broken record, but consider a gradual change to a real food, grain-free, low-carb. diet whether it be cooked or raw food. Add digestive enzymes to meals and use a probiotic for several months.

    Damage control/breaking the habit in the short term: Only let the dogs out to eliminate when you are there to supervise. Pick up all feces immediately. If you see the dog start to think about eating a pile, give a “no” command and re-direct their attention so you can pick up the poop. Treat it as a training task much as you would teach “sit” or “stay.”

    Hope that helps! By the way, I’m a holistic veterinarian in Phoenix and I have a blog at http://naturalalternativesvet.com/category/blog

    #38462 Report Abuse

    Susan
    Member

    My boy was eating the neighbours cat poo, I was going to put a muzzle on him when he went outside as it was making him ill… I saw a Dog Behavourist & she told me to make sure everytime I was outside I watched him & teach him the words “LEAVE IT”… its easy to teach ‘leave it’ u get a 1 little treat or 1 of his kibbles & put it under ur foot when the dog smells it & goes near the treat u say ‘LEAVE IT’ when the dogs leaves the threat u wait then reward him with the treat thats under ur shoe, that way he cant quickly grab the treat under ur shoe, then when he seems to understand the word LEAVE IT u leave the treat next to ur foot or nearby on floor, same let dog see treat, if he goes to eat it say ‘NO, LEAVE IT’ then when he’s has left the treat wait then give him the treat, once they have learnt the word LEAVE IT when you see them about to eat something yuk u can say leave it. Now my boy leaves poo or any food in the street on our walks…But I did change his food he was always hungry, once he was put on another kibble & I increased to 3 cups the poo eating did stop, Im reading a really good book called ‘Raw & Natural Nutrition for dogs’ by Lew Olson PhD, she explained why some dogs eat poo, now I cant find the page about why & how to fix the problem but I remember her saying their poo isnt digested properly, unprocessed food & the dog can smell food not poop, & dog eats it, Ive read elsewhere to add some pineapple to the dogs food to stop poo eating but I dont know if it works..I’m busy at the moment but tonight I’ll speed read back thru the begining if her book & try to find what Lew Olson says, I remember thinking, she’s was right & that it made sense when I locked back on why my dog was doing it, I look thru her book later,

    #38482 Report Abuse

    Susan
    Member

    Just found the page Lew olson says, much of the time the problem can be tracted back to carbohydrates, When dogs digest grains, reserves of important bacteria in ur dogs intestines become depleted, causing essential vitamins like vitamin B & K to be passed with the faces, When a dogs eats another dogs stool he may be trying to get back the bacteria & enzymes that are missing in his diet…Carbohydrates are more difficult to digest & may pass thru the dogs system only partially digested this may also make stools more tempting to ur dog. ..So what can u do? add digestive enzyems, beneficical bacteria & a B complex vitamin to the dogs diet may help curb his drive to eat stools, Reducing or eliminating carbs can also produce smaller less “appetizing” stools in which the food is more completely digested. A diet of raw meat & bones on the other hand, produces smaller, drier, & less smelly stools.The fewer grains ur dog eats the more benficial enzymes & bacteria remain avialable to ensure stools are well-formed & almost odorless. Unripe Pineapple & papayas are rich in the enzyems ur dog needs to break down proteins, & the bromelain in pineapple can also help with inflammation & the uptake of other supplements.
    If ur dog is on a grain free kibble it may have potatoes which are carbohydrates…. This book ‘Raw & Nutual Nutrition for dogs’ is an excellent read Im learning so much, explaining heaps of health problems & what to feed ur dog.. good easy recipes Raw or cooked..

    #38510 Report Abuse

    Sarah Y
    Member

    I’m glad and not so glad seeing this thread. You are pretty much describing my 10 year old beagle. She LOVES food and always needs a slow eating bowl which works for her! She has always been a voracious eater and poop eater. She was recently diagnosed with giardia which can caught through eating feces or from drinking standing water. As soon as they diagnosed her, I knew exactly where she had caught it.

    Because Scooter eats rabbit poop, cat poop, dog poop including her own, we tried the “forbid” powder. It’s supposed to keep them from eating their own feces. We were worried she would re-infect herself. We do a good job of cleaning up the yard, but we aren’t always fast enough to catch her from eating hers…gross, I know. The forbid powder worked for her. We gave it for a week and a half. Someone suggested we give it longer so maybe it would convince her not to eat it.

    Now, I believe her stool eating got worse eating Wellness complete health food which has grains in it. I’m going to try a switch to a grain free food to see if it improves. We’ll see if it works!

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by  Sarah Y.
    #38538 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    I’ve had/ have my share of poop eaters. Tried a lot of things. The only thing that works is picking it up as soon as they go. That means you may need to take them on leash or do what I do: we have a kennel for pottying.

    #38546 Report Abuse

    Austin L
    Member

    Thanks for the suggestions. I think we’re going to try digestive enzymes as well as adding pumpkin to his diet for the time being. Also, working on removing any stray poops from the yard and attempting to correct the behavior.

    #38815 Report Abuse

    Tracy O
    Member

    Ok your going to think this is stupid….but my yorkie was doing this when he was younger (now 10), my vet told me to sprinkle a small amount of Accent (yes the monosodium glutamate that is in the seasoning isle) on his food. I only had to do this for 2 days. He stopped. HAS NEVER DONE IT AGAIN!!! If you try it and it helps please let me know 🙂

    #39068 Report Abuse

    CMZ
    Member

    When my dog was a puppy he did the same thing. It took a while but we found out he was not absorbing his nutrients. So they would just pass right through. check him for low levels of B-12 and SIBO.

    #39092 Report Abuse

    JASTECH
    Member

    I still use Forbid when needed. Sometimes they need more bacteria in their intestine, some will do this. As CMZ stated, try adding extra B-12 soft gel. Do you give antibiotics to your dog? ( Heart Worm meds) ect.

    Sue66b, kitty crunchies!

    #53711 Report Abuse

    Kathleen C
    Member

    Earlier when I was trying to find out the carbs in the Wellness Core I’m feeding Jack, my 4 year old Boston, I forgot to say he’s been eating poop. I believe it’s because he’s only getting 1/4 cup twice a day of the Reduced Fat diet plus some carrots and green beans so probably not enough and I don’t know how much more I can feed him without him gaining more weight. The Adviser’s calculator says I can feed him a bit less than a cup of this food which has 360 cal. per cup. I tried 3/4 of a cup spread out over the day and he gained a bit so that’s when I went down to 1/4 2X a day. Am I being too careful and that’s why he’s eating his poop and should I take a chance and give him more of the kibble and fewer extras? I’ve heard the Forbid doesn’t work.

    #53717 Report Abuse

    Dori
    Member

    Kathleen C. Has your dog always been a poop eater or has this recently started?

    #53725 Report Abuse

    Kathleen C
    Member

    This just started about a month or so ago. I used to pick up his poops, stick everything into one bag and then put it near the deck stairs and pick up later for the main trash bin. I came out one day and he had torn the bag apart getting to the contents, so I can definitely say he had never done that before. Now when he goes out I watch and pick up everything at once. Yesterday I missed one, he ate it and promptly came into the house and threw up in the spare bedroom, poop and all. Uck!

    #53727 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    For my dedicated poop eater, it was definitely diet, not amount of food. He stopped completely when I switched to better foods and hasn’t gone back since. For him, I think it was either the whatever digest that they spray on the kibble for flavoring or too many carbs. Some ingredients are nothing but a way to hide MSG in the food and I read that some believe that this “flavor enhancer” enhances poop too. I switched to higher protein at the same time and that would affect the “flavor” too, so I can’t really say which did the trick.

    #53731 Report Abuse

    Kathleen C
    Member

    Thank you theBCnut. What are you feeding now that worked so well? I’ve heard so many good things about the Wellness Core Reduced Fat that I can’t believe it’s the food. I hear high carbs can be a factor in not losing weight, and also the fact he had never done it before even though he was only getting 1/2 cup a day on two other different foods before the Core started. I gave him 1/3 cup this morning hoping it would make a difference. I’m going to see what this extra does for him after tonights feeding. Unless someone else has any ideas.

    #53733 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    I feed a rotational diet, which means I never stick to just one food, so I know it wasn’t just the food that I switched to. I feed Earthborn Holistic, Brother’s Complete, Nature’s Logic, Nature’s Variety Instinct, Annamaet, Canine Caviar, and a few others. I also add meat to my dogs diet to reduce the carbs even more.

    #53734 Report Abuse

    Kathleen C
    Member

    Sounds like a very involved feeding schedule. I love my dogs, but can’t see doing that. I had him and my previous dog on the Instinct and they loved it, but too much fat. Thanks for your help.

    #53738 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    Not really. I don’t have time for involved feeding schedules. I just don’t feed the same thing two bags in a row. My dogs are used to switching so they never have upset tummies no matter what I give them. And they don’t have any issues with fat level. My JRT used to, but once I started feeding high protein and low carb she has maintained her weight easily. She actually stays a tad thin. She also started acting like a young dog again, she’s 12 1/2 going on 7.

    #53739 Report Abuse

    Kathleen C
    Member

    The vets always say to switch dogs over a 7 day period of time, but I’ve never done that. 4 days is as long as I take. I just don’t have the patience and they never seem to have a problem. Feeding dogs a different food every now and then and getting them used to changing sounds like a very good idea. I may think about that when I can get him down to about 18 lbs and have some leeway. I might even be able to use up that bag of Nature’s Variety Instinct I have left. It’s too expensive to waste.

    #53740 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    They recommend changing slowly, because they also recommend picking a food and staying on it for life. Think about it, how stupid is that?!? It limits the probiotics in the gut to only the ones that that particular food can support and a huge part of the immune system is in the gut, directly attributed to the diversity of probiotics. By staying on one food, you create an unhealthy dog. Is there any food that is the only single food a human needs? no, because no food is perfect. Well dog food manufactures are not godlike in their ability to make dog food, so no dog food is perfect either. Just like variety is best for us, variety is best for dogs too. Once a dog is used to switching, they don’t need any time at all to switch, one day one food, the next day the next food. Some dogs that aren’t used to switching take a lot longer than 1 week to switch foods, because their gut is that unhealthy.

    #53741 Report Abuse

    Dori
    Member

    Hey BC. I’m glad you mentioned about your dogs being a tad thin. Ever since I put the girls on very high protein, moderate (sometimes high) fat, low carbs they are also a tad on the thin size. I am always tweaking amounts of food or whatever else I add to their meals but they just seem to maintain their weight. As a number of us have suggested in the past and attempted to advise, as far as the fat is concerned it’s the quality of the fat not necessarily the %. I feed my dogs the same way you do though I feed raw, I always have multiple proteins in the freezer so I just switch around constantly. They are so much the healthier for it. Once the dogs are accustomed to rotation it’s no big deal. It’s not the least bit involved.

    Katie used to eat poop all the time. She still does it but it’s only once in a blue moon. Of course I’m out there picking the poop up all the time but I do notice that most of the time she doesn’t even bother sniffing it any more.

    #53743 Report Abuse

    Kathleen C
    Member

    My holistic vet always said he fed his dogs multiple foods and didn’t stay with one. He’s the one that suggested the Instinct. I wanted to check with him about my problem but he’s off the grid now and I can’t reach him. All I want to do right now is get this dog down a couple of pounds so I can play around with his food a bit more. To me it seems like what humans go through when they’re trying to lose weight…their body thinks they’re starving and won’t let it go.

    #53746 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    I only feed half raw so my dogs stay used to kibble in case the squeamish in my family need to feed. I feed a different raw meat every day, and I just add it on top.

    As far as him seeming like he is starving, increasing the amount of protein will really help with that. Carbs are digested faster, so they stop getting new calories faster.

    #94784 Report Abuse

    just_dogs02
    Member

    I have two dogs, a year-old lab and a poodle puppy. Several months ago, my lab started eating her poop. I’ve used Forbid, pumpkin, pineapple, and even “Yuk” pills to no avail. She eats very good food (Fromm’s large breed currently, but she’s also eaten Blue Buffalo Large Breed). And the only snacks I feed her a carrots.

    I’m not thrilled about feeding her a raw diet, but would if that was the best thing to stop the habit. Thus far, the only thing that works is picking up her poop immediately and giving her a carrot (treat).

    I’m thinking about going grain free and high protein. Any suggestions? She’s a fifty-five pound lab in excellent shape. (She doesn’t need to loose weight.)

    And what are the “digestive enzymes” I’m seeing listed in this thread. Do you mean something like probiotics?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    jazz

    #94786 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/search/Coprophagia/
    I have had a dog or two over the years that was a feces eater (coprophagia)
    The only thing I found that worked, was to follow them around with a pooper scooper when you think they are due for a bowel movement, scoop and discard immediately, out of sight out of mind. After awhile they stop turning around to look for it. In my experience, it doesn’t matter what you feed them. Sometimes puppies will out grow this nasty habit as they mature. It is what it is. You cannot let these dogs alone with their feces.
    Has the vet ruled out medical issues?
    http://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/behavior-training/behavior-problems/coprophagia-in-dogs
    PS: Do not free feed. Feed at the same time, twice a day and you will be able to predict when the dog will have a BM.

    #94787 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    I have never tried any supplements for coprophagia, the price deterred me and the fact that they look like chemical junk? Also, you would have to give them to every dog in your household, plus I have heard that they don’t work.
    PS: Has the vet ruled out medical issues? Good article here : http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/coprophagia-eating-feces (excerpt below)
    Medical Problems to Rule Out
    Starvation, Malnutrition or Malabsorption Disorders
    If your dog isn’t getting sufficient food or isn’t able to digest the nutrition in his food, he may resort to coprophagia as a way to supplement his diet. Before doing anything else, it’s important to have your dog thoroughly examined by a veterinarian to rule out medical problems that could cause coprophagia.

    #94800 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    Anon is correct: pick it up as soon as they go.

    I’ve had my share of poop eaters and nothing I’ve tried works: the supplements, sprinkles etc. They eat raw and i know if given the chance, a couple would eat if they could.

    #94804 Report Abuse

    just_dogs02
    Member

    Thanks everyone for the excellent advice and information! I did read everything. And I will take my dog to the vet and rule out any possible medical issues, though I believe she’s quite healthy. Nevertheless, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

    She began eating poop when she was about four months old–right after I began feeding her carrots for snacks. I do believe they made her poo taste “good” in her own mind. Anyway, the vet said she’d outgrow it, but this never happened. And now with a new puppy, I don’t want her to teach the little one about this habit.

    I have been picking up her poo as soon as she goes and rewarding her. I will continue to do this. I do know its had some effect, for she is now more interested in her treats than her poo. But a few days ago I let her out without being there and she turned around and started munching on it. So, if this is just an ingrained habit, it may take several months–or more–to break.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  just_dogs02.
    #94811 Report Abuse

    Christine W
    Member

    I have always had Pugs,not ONE ever did this.Last year i lost one of them 🙁 I got a new puppy,she started doing it at a few months.I have read for hours & asked my vet,he said plainly,i can’t stop it,that’s that,and it’s also what i read.Mine eats hers & the older one’s! UGH! he said it’s not the food,i rotate,it’s just a habit some dogs have.I cannot stand it!!!

    #94867 Report Abuse

    just_dogs02
    Member

    I’m going to be optimistic. I believe if I pick it up promptly that maybe she’ll eventually forget about it. But change won’t come overnight since she’s an adult. I’m hoping that she’s broken of this habit after six months to a year. I’m patient.

    #94886 Report Abuse

    Kathleen C
    Member

    My dog, Jack, started eating his poop about a year or so ago. He just eats his own so far, but my previous dog, Duffy, would eat other dogs if given a chance. I never caught him doing anything like this, but did catch Jack so knew it is happening. Someone suggested feeding him pineapple chunks and it would make his poop taste bad, but I never had the nerve to give it a real try. I believe they start because they are hungry. Jack is always wanting to be fed and he has gone up to 20 lbs when he was 18 1/2 when I got him and the vet said that’s right weight. I feed him 1/4 cup kibble 2 times a day with low fat treats and green beans during the day. He will often go a few ounces over 20 and I am very careful when feeding him until I get him back to 20. I’ve tried to get him to lose a pound, but I’m too easy a mark for him and when he looks at me with those big eyes and whines I give in. It’s all my fault. I thought if I could get him down to 19 lbs I would start feeding him a larger amount of food, but this has not occurred.

    #94958 Report Abuse

    Christine W
    Member

    Hi Kathleen! That’s what i thought,but the one that’s eating it,actually never begs,LOL it’s the older one that’s always looking for more food,and doesn’t do it,LOL
    Now i just try to pick it up as soon as i can,it seems to be the only way.

    #94961 Report Abuse

    Kathleen C
    Member

    I know Jack goes 3 times a day. If he goes first thing when he gets up and eats breakfast and then again when we go for our walk I know I don’t have to watch so closely until late afternoon or even evening. Timing is everything.

    #119560 Report Abuse

    Anonymous

    My 4 months old maltese is eating his poop for almost a month now. i always pick up his poop when he’s done pooping outside our backyard. but if he had an accident on his play pen that is when he eats his poop. i tried the naturVet coprophagia stool eating deterrent and the meat tenderizer but he still eat his poop. any suggestion on how to make him stop eating his poop? thank you!

    #119562 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    Please see my previous posts in this thread, example https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/coprophagia-poop-eating-advice/#post-94786
    and https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/coprophagia-poop-eating-advice/#post-94787
    Don’t feed him for at least 3 hours prior to leaving him unattended, offer him a bathroom break just prior to leaving. Always have fresh water available 24/7

    #119564 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    I had a chihuahua who ate her poop and my other two’s. No health problems, just loved to eat “left overs” lol. They do their business in our backyard. I would stand with pooper scooper in hand and always be right close by with Tia after ANY of them pooped. As soon as she started to go for it I would sternly say her name and immediately pick it up and put in our pooper bin. NEVER let her get one chance to eat it. I was VERY diligent for over two months until she didn’t even TRY because she knew i’d pick it up and with the stern saying her name she knew I didn’t approve. Her habit was broken and now I don’t have to follow anymore. Haven’t eaten pooh in two years. Hope this works for you.

    #119565 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    How long is the puppy in his play pen?

    #119566 Report Abuse

    Anonymous

    in his playpen area, is his crate, his pee pad and during meal time a tray of food and water, and it has been like this since we got him when he was 10weeks old, so about 6weeks now.

    #119567 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    How long do you leave him in the crate/playpen? Cause puppies need bathroom breaks ideally every 2 hours, at least every 4 hours.
    I realize people have to work and this is not always possible. If he is going to be left crated/playpen for more than 3 or 4 hours do not feed for 3 hours prior. Give him a half a biscuit or something if you have to and as always a fresh bowl of water….but don’t expect him to hold it.

    #119569 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    Anon: Every 2 hrs? You should have told that to Boone when he was a puppy. He was horrible…we’d walk him outside and whether he peed or not, he’d come in and go four times in ten minutes. I honestly cried. He is why it took me 9yrs to say yes to a puppy. Luckily O’Malley was easy.

    #119570 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    @ Marie
    I know! They are all different. But this is what I have found works best for housebreaking.
    Usually, somewhere between 7 or 8 months, they get it. And all is good, till the senior years. Then it all starts again.

    #119573 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    Knock on wood, Boone is good. I must say, he has always been the dog that if he gives us signs, and we ignore them, he’s gonna go. It’s our fault.

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