Coprophagia, better known as feces eating, is a common problem that owners have with dogs and cats. Pet owners may be more familiar with dog coprophagia, in which their dogs will eat cat feces. Coprophagia treatment may be as simple as changing your dog’s diet. It is believed that dogs eat cat feces because cat feces provides some nutrients the dog may be missing in its diet.
Cat food smells good to a dog, and when the cat uses the litter box the fecal material retains that tempting smell that dogs love so much. When I had my cat I had to keep track of my cat’s litter box and scoop out the feces as soon as she stepped out of the cat box, so that my dog wouldn’t treat the box as a buffet table. Dogs engage in coprophagia because they are looking for protein, and cat feces contains a significant amount of protein.
It is very common to see puppies and adult dogs eating cat feces. Sometimes they will eat their own feces. As gross as it is, when dogs eat their own feces it isn’t normally harmful, but it can be harmful if dogs eat another animal’s fecal material, because the dogs can pick up bacteria that could cause disease, as well as parasites and worms. Usually dogs grow out of coprophagia after they leave the puppy stage; however, not all do.
What can you do to stop dog coprophagia?Coprophagia treatment for dogs eating their own feces can be stopped by asking your veterinarian for advice about adding a supplement to the dog’s diet to make the fecal material smell bad. If the feces smells undesirable to the dog, it will no longer eat it. Dog coprophagia, in which a puppy or adult dog ingests cat feces can be stopped by moving the cat litter box to an area where the puppy or adult dog can’t get to. It is a good idea to keep track of the cat litter box and clean it out several times a day. This is what I did to keep my dog out of the cat litter box.
Sometimes puppies and adult dogs engage in coprophagia because they are hungry, lacking something in their diet, or they want more attention than they are getting. Most dogs grow out of this disgusting habit by the time they reach adulthood. If your adult dog is engaging in coprophagia, it could be that it was never broken of the habit as a pup.
You do not want to scold or punish your puppy or adult dog for eating feces. This behavior is instinctual. Dogs in the wild will eat their feces to protect themselves from predators. Our pets don’t know that it is disgusting and unacceptable behavior, because this is how dogs have survived for thousands of years.