Coprophagia is an unfortunate and frequent phenomenon in today’s world. Scientists believe it is mostly caused by pancreas, brain, or metabolic disorders. However, this nutrition way may sometimes provide a dog with the necessary enzymes when an animal is very hungry. Nevertheless, this habit can cause serious damage to everybody’s health.
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Why coprophagia is dangerous
The main reason for the danger is the penetration of such parasites as helminths, whipworms, and roundworms into the body. The dog can even get infected with a number of severe diseases: intestine inflammation, leptospirosis, or toxoplasmosis. The owners of the ill pets can also become infected with the parasites and diseases unless the animal is treated properly.
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If the dog is noticed to eat the feces, it is necessary to find out the reason.
1. Improper nutrition. A dog may lack minerals and vitamins in its diet. Coprophagia can occur when a pet eats cheap food, some of the meat products, cereals, sweet or fatty food in large amounts.
2. Digestive organs disorders. The dog tries to treat indigestion instinctively the way its wild relatives do. If the dog is noticed to eat feces, most likely, its organs have already suffered from serious harm and require urgent consultation from a veterinarian.
3. Dirty territory. This happens when the feces aren’t removed for too long, and the dog decides to clean the area itself.
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4. Hunger. When the dog is too hungry, it begins to eat feces. This reason occurs quite often out in the wild.
5. Maternal instinct. A dog may instinctively eat its kids’ feces to prevent predators from smelling their scent. This habit soon disappears, however, the puppies try to repeat after their mother due to the curiosity. If they are not retrained, the habit will remain.
6. Stress. Some zoopsychologists believe this can be a way of attracting the owner’s attention.
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How to wean away a dog from eating feces
- first, you need to find out the exact cause of this habit;
- if it is an internal organs’ disease or metabolic disorders, it is important to conduct the tests at the veterinarian and treat the dog. However, be ready that after this the habit of eating feces can remain;
- keep your house and premises clean. Try to remove the excrements immediately not to make a dog do it instead of you;
- watch the dog during a walk and don’t let it eat other feces. For example, you can distract an animal with the games;
- if the animal is caught eating feces, the prohibiting order should follow immediately. Late punishment can be ineffective, as the dog won’t understand why you abuse it;
- use the muzzle during a walk;
- provide your pet with other special nutritional supplements, which can distract the dog from eating feces. Your veterinarian will advise you a variety of products that will exactly fit your pet.
In any case, it is necessary to give a dog drugs against parasites as preventative measures.
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Have you ever faced such an issue? How did you solve the problem? Share your solutions in the comments.
Source: Zoologist Ekaterina Zakharova
The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.