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Why Do Dogs Eat Their Poop?

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Why Do Dogs Eat Their Poop?

By Morieka Johnson, MNN.com

Q: My older female dog has begun to eat her poop and we cannot figure out the cause. She gets the same amount of dog food that she always has. Why is this happening?

A: There comes a time in every dog owner’s life when poop dominates the conversation. Welcome to not-so-nice aspects of dog ownership. While my dog Lulu does not share your pet’s particular problem, she has taken extreme measures to hide evidence of “accidents” every now and then. With such a strong sense of smell, she still seems to forget that poop leaves an odor.

Since your little poop eater leaves the crime scene squeaky clean, she may have a condition called coprophagia.

“Unfortunately this is a topic that is brought up quite often,” says Dr. Arhonda Johnson, owner of The Ark Animal Hospital in Atlanta. In most cases, this problem is behavioral and stems from curious hounds exploring the environment and all it has to offer. (Dogs don’t exactly have discriminating taste.)

Sites like Amazon.com are flooded with products such as For-Bid or other supplements that make a dog’s poop “unpalatable” — now that’s an oxymoron. Customer reviews tend to vary, and many of the products require continued use to reap the benefits. Also, these supplements fail to address the core problem, which Johnson notes could be an underlying health issue.

Next: Why is she eating her poop?

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Megan, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, MNN.com strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.

157 comments

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1:51PM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

We often catch our dog eating poop, but she always goes and does it again. She never learns...

2:02AM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

Sapevo che per i cani era ricostituire i sali minerali persi con la deiezione.
Per ciò che riguarda invece il mangiare le feci dei gatti, ( purtroppo ho una cagnolina che se mi distraggo ne approfitta ) non riesco a capire le motivazioni.

9:31PM PDT on Jul 25, 2014

Thanks. My dog has yet to do this, but she thinks the litter box is some kind of weird cookie jar.

8:52AM PDT on Jul 25, 2014

Ty

6:22AM PDT on Jul 25, 2014

I've always had cats, and they will eat their own vomit. Now why do they do that? Is it to hide their "accident"?

6:15AM PDT on Jul 25, 2014

Yuck! We anteaters don't eat our poop.

2:11AM PDT on Jul 25, 2014

Lol... I'm so glad that I'm a cat person! They don't eat their poop.

2:40AM PDT on Apr 7, 2013

Our family dog got through phases of eating her own poop. My dog never does it, though sadly, she is a lover of cat poop :( In the winter, when the cats are inside (which also means a litter box), I have to keep a close eye on her to avoid any poopy breath situations and her being too full to eat her own dog food! It's horrible and disgusting!

5:20AM PDT on Apr 5, 2013

Only a dog would understand I guess.

5:59PM PDT on Oct 6, 2012

thanks

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