Dogs eat poop.

You always know when a client is having a problem with his dog eating poop.  The conversation invariably starts with this question: "Do you think there might be something missing from Fido’s diet?" What would prompt them to think that Fido has a nutritional problem:  Poor hair coat?  Skinny?  Dull eyes? Poor muscle tone? Poor endurance? Gum disease?  Possibly, but the one thing that is certain to raise the question is when the dog engages in coprophagy (that’s the scientific name for eating poop).

Well, gee, let’s see…I’m reading the label on the dog food, checking the ingredients, and by golly, they’re right!  Poop is not listed in the ingredients anywhere.  The dog is eating his stools because his diet is deficient in manure…NOT.   One may also note that the list of ingredients also does not include dried-up, run-over toads. Dogs will certainly eat them, though.  Rotten carrion is also glaringly omitted (or at least not mentioned by name). Yet dog owners are well aware that a dog who finds something dead and rotten will roll in it, eat it, vomit it up, roll in it some more, eat it again, ad infinitum.   To a dog, this putrid mess is a taste treat, fashion accessory and designer fragrance.

The fact that dogs enjoy eating disgusting things (and then offering you a slobbery kiss) does not indicate a deficiency in their diet.  It is an indicator of "dog-ness", proving once again that a dog’s idea of personal hygiene is considerably different from yours.  He eats poop because he likes it, similar to the people who eat head cheese, sushi, pig’s feet, tripe, and anchovies.

How can you keep a dog from eating poop?  Pick it up before he does.  There are dogs who lose their taste for their own feces if their food is pre-treated with Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer or a commercial product called For-Bid.  These substances allegedly impart a "bad taste" to the stool (as opposed to its normal delicious flavor?).  My experience has been that determined coprophages are not deterred by these puny efforts.

If you’re still reading, this might be a good time to revisit the posts on tooth-brushing and whether a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a person’s.  Personally, I have a strong urge to go brush my teeth.

1 thoughts on “Dogs eat poop.

  1. Kathy says:

    I have a 10yr old male lab that drinks a ton of water, is over weight and has recently started eating poop. We have cut back his food a litte. He gets about 2 cups in the am and 2 cups in the pm. He hasnt been to the vet for about a year, but I think his last weight was 120lbs. What do you think?(other then he is a fat dog)


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