Poop Eating


Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?
Oh gross! Even though I am a veterinarian this still grosses me out when I see it. “Why does my pet eat poop” is a great question that I get often. I usually respond, in jest, that there are many reasons but whatever the reason, we don’t want any kisses.
The medical term for this behavior is Coprophagia. Dogs who eat their own or other animal’s feces could have nutritional imbalances, such as hunger, the wrong type of food, too much food, and an incorrect frequency of feeding. These can be corrected by making sure your dog gets the correct food, in the right amount, on the proper schedule.
There are environmental reasons also, like simply cleaning up their area or allelomimetic behavior, meaning they watch us clean up waste and eating it is their way of copying us. These behaviors can be corrected by making sure the dog’s area is always free of feces and not letting them watch us clean it up.

A medical reason for this behavior is parasites, as they can cause your pet to be malnourished. This is corrected by taking a stool sample to your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Parasites can be dangerous to pets and humans.
With all of this said, the most common reason your dog eats its poop is behavioral. Your pet may be bored, anxious, nervous, stressed or just attention seeking. This behavior might be the most common, but it can also be the most difficult to correct.
Your dog needs to have an interactive, stimulating lifestyle not to exhibit this abnormal behavior. Take your pet on walks, play with them, brush them, take them to parks, etc. All of this will be good for you also, and really, isn’t this the reason we got a dog in the first place?

A straightforward exercise, suggested by Debra Horwitz, DVM, Diplomate ACVB and Gary Landsberg, DVM, Diplomate ACVB, is to teach your dog to come to you for a food treat as soon as he has eliminated. That way, the dog will develop a habit of jogging to you for a delicious treat, instead of reaching for the disgusting poop on the ground.
Your dog needs to have an interactive, stimulating lifestyle not to exhibit this abnormal behavior. Take your pet on walks, play with them, brush them, take them to parks, etc. All of this will be good for you also, and really, isn’t this the reason we got a dog in the first place?

My cat is eating kitty litter what should I do?
If you have a kitten eating kitty litter, it usually is just curiosity. But if an older cat suddenly begins to eat the litter get it to a veterinarian right away. It usually means your cat is ill.

It could be a vitamin or mineral deficiency or possibly anemia. If it is anemia, the underlying causes could be severe and life-threatening.
Anemia, in some cases, could be a symptom of cancer or kidney disease, meaning a trip to the veterinarian is a must.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is another disease which can cause a cat to start eating litter. FIP results from a viral infection which attacks white blood cells, leading to inflammation, weight loss, fever, bloating and unusual eating behaviors.
Bottom line if your cat suddenly starts eating litter take them to your veterinarian.
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Gary Beall DVM
Chip Beall, Senior Veterinary Student at OSU
Springboro Veterinary Hospital
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