The 30 secs summary
In most cases, this is only a bad habit. Some dogs have picked it up from their mom.
In other cases, your dog might do it to seek attention (if you react strongly).
Or to hide the evidence of a mistake (your dog wants to avoid the punishment).
Finally, it might be a sign of a defiency in your dog's diet or poor digestion. If this is recurring issue, you should talk about it with your vet.
The full article
While this is a rather common habit amongst puppies, you must address it. You want to make sure it doesn't become a recurring thing.
Here are some common reasons why your dog might be doing it:
If your dog is nursing
At birth, it is natural for a mother to eat her puppy stool to keep her litters den clean.
She also does it to protect the puppies from predators.
uhh... how does eating poop helps to protect puppies?
Well, a long time ago. When dogs were wolves. Predators were drawn by the scent of the puppy stool...
Thanks to evolution, mothers developed this habit to keep predators away.
So this is normal behavior for a mother. It's nothing to worry about. She will stop on her own.
But your pup might pick up that habit from her. Thus, once your pup gets older, appropriate training will be required to get rid of that habit.
Your pup, like a baby, is curious. They explore things with their mouth. While some puppies will be okay with a scent, some might try to taste it.
A quick way to solve this is to limit your pup's access to feces.
In some cases, poop eating is a sign of other, more serious, underlying issues. Eating stool is a way for them to find the nutrients they are lacking in their daily diet.
Signs of digestive issues are watery stool or stool with large pieces of undigested food. If that's your dog's case, talk with your vet to plan your dog's diet.
Your dog is an adult and still does it?
In most cases, that's because they're scared of punishment. Positive reinforcements and limiting your dog's access to the stool is crucial.
- Make sure you feed them a high quality food that is formulated for your dog's age. It's essential that your pup has the right amount of vitamins, protein and minerals.
- Make sure to clean up right after your dog eliminates. Never give your pup a chance to play with or inspect its stool.
(To be honest, this will get rid of the habit most of the time).
- Redirect your dog's attention. As soon as the job is done, reward your dog for a job well done and distract them with treats.
Btw, there are some stuff such as taste-aversion treats to make the poop less appealing. If you use those, make sure they don't contain any garlic powder as garlic is toxic for dogs.
However, I'd rather work hard on commands such as "leave it" or "come".
Your dog might like the taste of poop but a juicy treat is 100x more appealing.
See ya next week!