Coprophagia
Coprophagia

(eating feces)

Many dogs develop the unpleasant habit of eating feces. In some pets it becomes almost a compulsive behavior.  These pets may not only eat their own stool but also those of other animals.

Several theories have been presented to try to explain this behavior. Possible causes are thought to be boredom, too much confinement, vitamin or mineral deficiencies and neurotic behavior.

Stool eating is certainly a disgusting habit but rarely does it cause serious medical problems. Certain intestinal parasites can be transmitted through coprophagia but mostly the habit just creates a "socially unacceptable dog with very objectionable breath".

IMPORTANT POINTS IN TREATMENT

With certain pets there seems to be nothing that you can do to stop this disgusting habit. However, here are a few "tips" that may help:

  • Remove the feces from the premises daily.
     
  • Do not confine your dog to a small area where it will have to have a BM in close proximity to where it spends most of its time.
     
  • Prevent access to the cat's litter box.
     
  • Provide regular exercise.
     
  • Give a good, daily vitamin / mineral supplement.
     
  • Consider changing the pet's food. Alternate from high fiber foods to low fiber.
     
  • Have the veterinarian examine the stool for intestinal parasites.
     
  • Try adding DETER or FORBID to the pet's food on a daily basis. These monosodium glutamate products will impart a disagreeable taste to the pet's own stool. It will help stop coprophagia 50% of the time. It is available over-the-counter in pet stores.

 

Web site designed by Ed Acton for Orange Veterinary Hospital