Poop Eating

Posted by kjd
Apr 21, 2010
Disgusting habit, yes?

My dog, Sunna, used to recycle her food all the time. It was especially noticeable at night, when she would come up to the bed to say good night and give me a wiff of poop! Ugh! I kept Greenies nearby to mask the aroma.

I finally found a grain-free, very expensive, food that she would eat. She actually gets less of this than her old food. Surprise! She no longer eats her poop!

Now I am wondering. Dogs are not supposed to be able to digest corn and other grains, yet you can see on the ingredient list of almost every popular brand of dog food that corn and other grains make up a large proportion of the ingredients. Is it possible that poop-eating [B][I]is [/I][/B]actually recycling? The second (or third) time through, the grains may be broken down enough for the dog to digest.

All I know is that Sunna's breathe no longer stinks of poop. (Of course, it is [I]possible [/I]that she has learned to use mouth wash before she comes to me. . .)

What do you all think?

Posted by luv-big-paws
May 9, 2010
Just saw where pineapple or meat tenderizerlittle in their fooddiscourages poop eating. I know I tried pineapple (crushed--canned) just a small scoop, and haven't noticed a problem again; however, bought some meat tenderizer today in case.

Also that DrsFosterSmith.com have "Dis-Taste" formula in chewables to help stop.

Good luck,

luv big paws
Posted by timirving
May 15, 2010
You can buy proteolytic enzymes as well which may help to prepare the food.

Honestly, it sounds like a possible nutritional deficiency; I would add some enzymes and HCL pills before eating.
Posted by kjd
May 16, 2010
Wait a minute, folks. I don't think you read that last post of mine correctly:
She HAS STOPPED EATING HER POOP!! Thanks for the suggestions, but it does seem she is getting more value from her more expensive food.

Posted by mindysquillace
Dec 14, 2010
It makes sense that we are not feeding them what they are intended to eat and are thus unable to fully digest it. We have had this problem for a LONG time and have tried all of those other fixes (pineapple, meat tenderizer, pumpkin, etc). I will stop the insanity and get a grainless food!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Dec 14, 2010
Hey kjd,

Certainly in other species, recycling nutrients is the reason for eating their own waste (termed coprophagy). I've never related this to dogs, but thinking about it, it would seem reasonable that this could why at least some dogs eat their own (or other animals) poo.

Grains are a good thing to include in a dogs' diet, and actually are found in some proportion in nearly all commercial dog foods. They help with skin and coat condition, as well as digestion. Some dogs "require" more than others for healthy function, and Sunna might be one of those dogs. The facts are that dogs are really omnivores/scavengers, as opposed to cats which are termed "obligate carnivores". So dogs actually do well on a diet thats not made entirely of meat products, which surprises some.

I"m glad that you found a food Sunna does well on, and bonus that its helped her decrease her poo intake! Some dogs do eat poo as a psychological thing, others out of boredom, some just think it smells good, and some probably are recycling nutrients.
Posted by roxieruffian
Feb 3, 2011
I recently adopted 2 sisters from a small rescue in Arkansas. They are wonderful in every respect exept for... poop eating. They are voracious about it and i am desperate.

It is to the point that I am afraid to take them to the park and even let them out in the yard by themselves. It seems their only interest in going out it so find some "treat".

I tried the zucchini with the only result that one of them has terrible diarrhea... I'll try the pineapple next and then why not the meat tenderizer. I am feeding them good holistic food (Health extension), highly recommended by the vet and the store owner. I add vegetable mix to their food and a little wet food (same brand).
Posted by KOPCaroline
Feb 4, 2011
Hey roxie,

Definitely try putting "additives" onto the poo piles you have at home...if the meat tenderizer and pineapple dont work, try anything citrus based or spicy - chili powder has been one suggestion I've heard over and over.

Are they both well behaved and obedient on commands? Let them out into the yard as usual at home, and as soon as you see one approach a poo pile, give a stern "leave it", or "no", etc., followed by "come" to get them to change interest and come to you. If they don't listen, try having treats on you or a squeaky toy or ball to add interest to you, and take away from the poo pile. Train them on this sort of command every time they go out - that is, dont let them out on their own for bathroom breaks, and if you're going to leave them out a while, be sure to go out with them at first, work with them to leave the poo piles, then pick up any piles in the yard before leaving them.

If they absolutely won't leave poo at home, approach them, get them by the collar, and remove them from the area saying "no", or "leave it" again. You have to be repetitive with this, and make sure they know they're doing wrong. You can start out keeping them on leads if you like, even just letting them drag it around the yard so that its easier to get a hold of them and remove them from the poo area.

As far as the park, I would recommend taking them but keeping them on lead at first, so that you can walk them around, let them get the smell of any piles lying around, see if they're showing interest, but still be able to correct them and (if needed) remove them by pulling them away. Once they are better at home and listen everytime, try letting them off lead at the park and using the same technique.

Be slow and gradual with the process, I totally understand not wanting your dog to go around deciding every bathroom pile is a goodie to be had I hope you can find some deterrant for home to get them off eating it there, and that should help at the park too. Let us know how you get on!
Posted by kjd
Feb 8, 2011

Sunna doesn't have any grain in her food, but she does get lots of vegetables. You might check the ingredients in Orijen 6 Fish. I see the need for carbs, but how much grain would a dog swallow in the wild? Most of the animals they kill are going to be eating fruits, nuts, vegetables. When they feel the need for grass, the dogs usually play lawn mower.

When I had Zoey, a vet told me dogs tend to acquire allergies to many of the grains. So, while I totally agree that dogs shouldn't be fed only protein, a diet of cat food would be terrible for them, I am against using grains for the carbs and fiber.

The most popular grain in American-made dog food is corn, a grain the dogs cannot even digest. I believe its added not only because it is cheap, but because the dogs need larger meals, since a lot of the food isn't being used.

I realize you know more about this than I do, but don't you think vegetables can fill any needs the grains would be giving?

Posted by KOPCaroline
Feb 9, 2011
Hey kjd,

I think for some dogs, no grain but plenty of vegetables is perfectly adequate. When I say grains I should specify I'm including both wheat/corn/etc and things like rice and other starches that are good for dogs, especially those with sensitive stomachs, skin problems, or those who have recently undergone surgeries.

Grains and starches are great for coating the GI tract and making the meat and other content of a diet more easily digestible and passable, which is why I do believe they are a good thing to include in at least a proportion of dogs diets. If meat and veggies makes a dog healthy and happy, then no, I wouldnt say theres a need for more grain content. But again, I know a lot of vets who have recommended the grain/carb content to increase after surgeries for easier recoveries when theres a chance of an upset tummy, or for shinier coats/less dry coats/etc.

Overall, its about figuring a diet that works for an individual dog I think meat and veggies is a good one to keep dogs on, like you said, just not a strict meat only diet! Dogs' diets do need to be more balanced than some people realize, but just like people, each one will be different.
Posted by kjd
Feb 10, 2011

Years ago, I belonged to a GSD email group that had puppy parties and sometimes met just as people. A group of us met at Hamburger Hamlet in Washington, DC. I think everyone else in the restaurant gradually moved away, as the subject inevitably went to poop-eating. Now imagine: You are sitting there, quietly eating your hamburger, and the crowd at the next table (also eating their hamburgers, but not as quietly) get on the subject of poop and their dogs. One woman had two GSDs. One loved the poop of the other -- enjoyed it so much she would follow the other dog around the yard, catching it before it hit the ground!:eek: Didn't bother our appetites at all, but that person at the next table. . .

Just had to share,
Posted by emersonj
Mar 2, 2011
I have 2 rescued little sister puppies 8 months old,Maltese mix. They like to be together and when they were left kenneled for 5hrs, I have seen that one of them has pooped and it is eaten. I watch them carefully when taking them out to do their jobs to prevent any poo eating and I remove the poo from our yard right away. I would like to do whatever I can to stop this behavior it is gross!:eek: They are doing very good otherwise and we really are crazy about them.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Mar 3, 2011
Hi emerson,

Have you tried the tips outlined in the thread? You can try putting things like chili sauce, pineapple, or citrus juice onto piles to discourage eating of poo by providing an unpleasant taste for your dogs.

You might also consider kenneling them seperately if they just won't stop eating each others poo while you're away.

When you are home and taking them out to the bathroom, work on their training. They should respond to "come" every time, so that when one poos, you can call the other to you to get it away from the pile. Also, working on a command like "leave it" is invaluable for owners with dogs who have obsessions with whatever object. My own dog used to be bad about eating random food scraps off sidewalks, until he got to know what "leave it" and "no" meant, and now we can walk past whatever and he doesn't go for it. Try working this into both dogs' daily training, so that you can tell them to leave the poo alone in the backyard, or even use it at a dog park if need be.

I hope this helps, eating poo is a pretty common problem, and it can usually be solved by simple, repetitive command training to get your dogs' attention honed onto you, not the pile
Posted by roxieruffian
Mar 22, 2011
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I am slowly moving Roxie & Ruffian to a meat/vegetable/and some high quality kibble diet. I tried zucchini and they immediately developed diarrhea. I tried pinapple and it didn't seem to make any difference. The vet gives them a clean bill of health so it's most likely behavioral (they were found "in the wild" at around 4 month old). I just start sprinkling some meat tenderizer... let's see.

Again thanks everyone.