Yes, I just went there! Poop eating in our dogs is about the nastiest thing ever, isn’t it? It is always encouraged to pick up your dog’s doo right after for many health reasons, but it is a must for the turd-herders. Of course some people just think it is a great way to have the dog do the work for them…
Our golden retriever, Louie, was the best at poop eating…and by the “best” I mean the “fastest”. Sometimes he would just do a snatch-and-run and then it was a game for him to swallow faster than I could catch him. Then there was the “sneaky and sly” move. He would casually walk the yard, stopping to sniff and stare off into the woods as a distraction technique. He would make the slightest movement while sniffing the ground and pretty much just curl his tongue around a tasty turd and roll it into his mouth. I guess he thought he could sneak one past me. Ugh!
Winter time he was in his prime. He loved his poopsicles. It was his own version of the substance vs. form argument.
Pick it up people…just pick it up.
I know it sounds like the most hideous of habits, but it is common with dogs. Enough to get it’s own big 50 cent word. It is called COPROPHAGIA. Dogs can start the habit for many reasons like boredom, a poor diet, medical condition, scavenging behavior, and stress relief.
You typically will see this behavior start as puppies. This might be just an investigative behavior, it might be self-entertainment, scavenging behavior, or a response to their mom cleaning their own poop out of the bedding area. Of course when they are in the home we get all gaggy and try to stop them or correct them and it becomes a great way to get their new human’s attention! What a fun game!
I am embarassed to say, I grew up with the “rub their nose in it to punish them” old-school torture when a pet would soil in the wrong place. Not only do they have NO CLUE why you just did that, but it can also encourage stool eating in some circumstances.
If you have a healthy, vaccinated dog, there isn’t any real “harm” in it (except when Louie would eat and come inside and throw it back up on the carpet!). Make sure you talk to your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. There are products that your veterinarian can provide that you put on their food that apparently makes it taste “bad” (like whatever, their concept of bad is apparently a bit off).
The bigger issue is road poo. Like, when you are out on a walk or at the dog park, or if your dog plays with others. You may know the health status of your dog, but the rest are a big unknown. Your dog can get a wide range of health issue from eating other dog’s poop (or wildlife…I can’t forget to mention that! Louie LOVED snacking on, and rolling in deer poop). Avoidance is the best practice here. Keep your dog on a leash if they absolutely can’t control themselves. It would be a bit challenging to go around sprinkling nasty powder on every other dog’s poop.
Of course, why can’t people pick up their own poo? It is the law, but SMH (insert big eye roll here).
Do you have a poop eater?
P.S. If you are a child of the 80s like I was, you are VERY familiar with Mr. Yuk! He was created in 1971 by Dr. Richard Moriarty at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as an easily recognizable icon to prevent children’s poisoning. Here is a nod to Dr, Moriarty on the 50th anniversary of Mr. Yuk (who I think is also quite appropriate here!).
a bit of that fun news story HERE
Janie founded 4-Legged Kids, Inc in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1997 and provides education through her PetBizHIVE podcast and her PetBizMBA membership and courses. She is a Certified Professional Animal Care Operator, Fear Free certified and a Certified Professional Pet Sitter. Learn more about the Founder, Janie Budnick.