Admit it: you’re not that keen on doggy affection when his snout’s been in a pile of droppings. Luckily, your fridge might have the answer. Here are our top tips for breaking the faeces-eating habit.
The Pineapple Method
Weird, but true. Putting pineapple juice in your dog’s food will give faeces a bitter taste.
The Zucchini Method
Another simple idea that works the same way pineapple does – cook up some zucchinis until soft in a small amount of olive oil. Add one to two teaspoons at mealtimes for a small dog and up to a tablespoon for a larger dog. You can make a batch and store it in the fridge for a few days.
The Bait Method
You can try baiting poo with a foul-tasting substance like tabasco sauce – but be warned, they might simply develop a taste for that, too.
Dr Jo says:
For some dogs, the above tips are like adding relish to the poo!! It makes some dogs want to eat them even more. Better to do some training. It takes longer and owners need patience but this will stop the unwanted behaviour.
Why do dogs like eating poo?
As gross as it sounds, eating faeces (coprophagia) is actually quite a common activity in nature. And if your dog is eating poo, the first thing you may want to check is whether he’s getting all the nutrients he needs. Ask your vet for some advice, though if you’re feeding him a good dog food, there shouldn’t be an issue. Also check his digestion with the vet – there’s a chance he might not be able to absorb the nutrients you’re dutifully serving up. In some cases it can also be caused by liver or hormonal problems.
On the other hand, your dog could be having behavioural issues. Here are some other ways to tackle the problem:
- Don’t leave faeces lying around. Clean up swiftly and supervise his outdoor time.
- Some experts recommend a basket-type muzzle for outdoor time in extreme cases.
- Pay him a bit more attention – he might be acting out because he’s bored or lonely.
- If it is attention-seeking behaviour, don’t make a big thing about it when it happens. It will just encourage him more!
- Reward good behaviour with a tasty treat.
- Make sure he has lots of great chew toys.
Training your dog not to eat poo
Lead your dog, on a leash, up to the poo. Make sure they are aware of the faeces, then ask your dog to “Leave”. Focus their attention on you and give them a treat, their favourite food. Your dog is being rewarded for not eating poo. Practice this often, as well as cleaning up poo whenever you can, and your dog will get out of this unwanted habit.
What to Do:
While it can be unhealthy and certainly yucky, eating poo is not always as bad for dogs as you might think. Check with your vet if you have any concerns.
Dr Lisa says..
- Faeces eating is common, especially in puppies, but you don’t have to put up with it
- Pineapple and zucchini both give faeces a foul taste
- Rule out any nutrient deficiency or digestive, liver or hormonal problems with your vet
- Clean up any faeces fast to reduce their opportunities
Dr Jo says..
- Stay cool and reward good behaviour.
- Puppies often pick up this behaviour form their mothers, who do this naturally when pups are young.
- Kenneled dogs often eat poo to combat boredom but also to clean up their living space. Ideally dogs have a living space that is away from their toileting area.
Did you know?
Some experts believe poo eating in particular dogs may be a symptom of vitamin B deficiency.
If your dog eats old poo it may increase the risk of roundworm. Make sure he’s wormed regularly.