Why do dogs eat feces?

April 13, 2012

Coprophagia, the act of eating feces: definitely something you won’t come across every day, but if you’re a dog owner you may need to use this word a lot more often. It’s pretty typical to see a dog chomping on its own excrements from time to time, but why do it? In the human world it’s disgusting, revolting, and down right disturbing, but is this so in the dog world?

There are many reasons why a dog may choose to eat its own or another’s fecal matter. The most simple explanation is that the animal is bored. A lot of animals who are trapped inside all day long don’t have much to do, so it may do that just to pass the time. It’s gross, but to the dog it’s like a game of monopoly.

Since the dog is a hunter and a scavenger, it can also serve as a scavenger tactic. It’s not the best meal in the world, but if it’s enough to get by for another day the dog won’t hesitate to eat it. Sticking with the topic of wilderness and survival tactics, it can also be that the dog doesn’t want another animal to find it for whatever reason be it not wanting the animal to find him or prevent an animal moving in that could be food for the next day.

This, of course, is not a very healthy thing for your animal to be doing, so please try to discourage it before it becomes a habit. Most dogs, after they are weaned, stop this habit and know better from it, but some do continue to pursue. The best thing to do is just to feed the dog something with lots of garlic so that the feces becomes unpleasant afterwards or even apply a strong smelling substance to the feces directly.

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