So you've decided to get a dog! Presumably, you've researched the challenges that can come with owning a pup. Various training, food, and illness issues can unexpectedly occur, and it's important to be prepared and know what to do.
One issue that many new owners don't expect, however, is that dogs sometimes love to eat their own waste.
Not only is it pretty gross to see, but dog poop can contain harmful bacteria, so you really don't want your new furbaby consuming it.
To put a stop to the habit swiftly and effectively, it's important to understand why dogs eat their poop.
Potential Physical Reasons
The cause could be physical. Dogs eating their own poop can be because of discomfort they can't help, such as:
They have some sort of parasites
They aren't getting enough calories from their food
They're suffering from diabetes, or another condition that causes an increase in appetite
If you've noticed your new family member indulging in this habit, it's essential you get them checked out by a vet to rule out these physical conditions.
Only then can you move onto the other, more common reasons they might be eating their feces.
Potential Psychological Reasons
Some reasons are actually in the dogs' DNA — for example, mothers and their babies.
Why do dogs eat their puppies poop? To keep their den clean!
If this is the case, it's a hard habit to break, and involves keeping their space as clean as possible to discourage them from doing this. However, if it isn't their puppies' poop they're eating, it might be one of these more concerning psychological reasons:
They're seriously bored and aren't getting enough attention
They're relieving stress
You've punished them for having an accident once, so now they try to hide the evidence
Whatever the cause, it's time to break the habit.
How to Stop It
There are many reasons why dogs eat their poop, and preventing it effectively will come from figuring out the reason.
If your vet discovers a physical condition, they will require medication.
If it's a behavioral issue, you should work on training your dog. Supervise them as much as possible, and teach them the command, "leave!"
You should also refrain from punishing your dog from accidents. Dogs benefit from positive reinforcement and by refraining from punishment, you're teaching them that their poop is nothing to be ashamed of and doesn't have to be hidden from you.
It's also important to keep your dog stimulated, so they don't grow bored or stressed and resort to eating their feces. Dogs need lots of love and exercise, and an active dog is a happy dog!
Now That You Understand Why Dogs Eat Their Poop, You Can Work on It
Although there are many reasons why dogs eat their poop, it's important to work your way through them to work out which is the cause for your pet.
By visiting a vet and ruling out the physical causes, you can then work to ensure your pet is stimulated and happy and, hopefully, that will break the habit.
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