Help! I´ve tried everything against coprophagia.

Posted by cgrissel
Nov 9, 2007
I´m the owner of a beautiful 4 yr. old beagle, and there´s one problem I haven´t been able to solve (they say beagles are stubborn, but their owners are more, so here I am asking for your help).
Since I got her (she was 5 weeks old) she unavoidably eats her feces. I've changed the brand of her food; the vet has tested her to determine if there´s a medical reason, such as need for vitamins, but there´s none; I´ve tried For-Bid and Deter coprophagia treatment, but haven´t had any luck with any of these measures.
I live in an apartment, without any garden, so she has her assigned area for peeing and pooping. When I take her out, she poops outside and doesn´t try to eat her feces; the problem is at home. If I'm here, I try to remove it immediately, but when I´m not, she always eats it.
I would really appreciate all suggestions possible to solve this problem, help!
Posted by Alpha-Dog
Nov 9, 2007
[COLOR=blue]Hi there,[/COLOR]

[COLOR=blue]Thank you for your post regarding your Beagle. You may be surprised to know that this is not an uncommon problem. Coprophagia (or poop eating) is obviously not unpleasant for your dog, in fact it sounds as though she quite likes it. However, people tend to find this natural behavior quite repulsive![/COLOR]

[COLOR=blue]While there is no conclusive evidence one way or another as to why a dog would eat its own, or other dogs or species poop, there are a number of theories. Some of these include that Coprophagia is actually an attention seeking behavior, or that the dog in question is lacking in some nutrients that can be found in the poop. Or it could be a reaction to boredom, frustration or anxiety. Another theory is that in the wild, females would eat the feces of their young to make them less detectable by predators, and so the behavior is actually instinctual. Or perhaps some dogs just like the taste![/COLOR]


[COLOR=blue]The easiest way to prevent your dog from eating feces is by removing it immediately before your dog gets a chance to eat it, but this will be difficult while the dog is at home alone during the day.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=blue]Try lacing the stools with pepper, or perhaps you could try Tabasco sauce, or lemon juice. However, some dogs will eat the poop regardless of the taste.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=blue]Some have added pineapple or spinach to their dog’s diet, while others use a meat tenderizer. This makes the poop less palatable.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=blue]You could try combining the poop eating with a reprimand so that your dog knows that you are not happy with this behavior. You leave a poop her toileting area, and when she approaches it, give her a firm reprimand, by squirting her with cold water, or shaking a can of pebbles. It is not recommend to issue a verbal reprimand as this may just be giving her the attention she is seeking. If you do this for a month, with any luck, she would have learned that eating feces is not appropriate.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=blue]On the occasions that you do not catch your dog eating poop, reprimands are not recommended. For reprimands to be effective you need to issue them at the same time that the unwanted behavior is occurring. Doing them after the fact will have no effect on the poop eating behavior.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=blue]While, if your dog is eating the poop of other dogs or species, there is a chance that parasites will be passed onto your dog, the risk of this is MINIMAL. If your dog is healthy and is only ingesting her own stool, then there are no risks to your dog’s health. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=blue]Best of luck with fixing this behavior and please let us know how you progress.[/COLOR]