Eeeewwww! Why does my dog eat cat poop?
This phrase has been uttered by many frustrated and disgusted pet parents. But the fact that your dog may be indulging in Kitty's waste is not an uncommon problem.
In this article we are going to consult with the experts to answer the question of 'why do dogs eat cat poop'. You may indeed be surprised to learn the reasons.
Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop? It's Coprophagia!
According to Vet MD, a dog eating cat poop is actually called, coprophagia. This behavior is not uncommon among the canine species, in fact, it can be brought on by an instinctive drive.
Coyotes and wolves (both in the canine lineage) will scavenge for feces when other food sources are scarce. As unappealing as it may sound, this excrement does contain some essential nutrients the starving animal can utilize.
Another reason for coprophagia and the instinctive behavior is a mother canine will lick her puppies to stimulate their bladders and bowels. Once the pup has eliminated, the female dog will then eat the feces to keep her den and puppies clean. This in turn can be passed on as a learned behavior to the puppy.
In addition, when a puppy sniffs its mother's breath, it can smell feces on it and believes this is an acceptable meal. This type of "appetite inoculation" can set your dog up for a lifetime of feces feasting.
Has there been a major change in your household like the addition of a new family member (pet or person)?
Some dogs can suffer from anxiety and stress which can lead to the eating of cat poop. Canines that are subject to isolation/confinement, or living with other sick or elderly dogs can also exhibit the cat poop eating behavior.
Bored dogs may also eat cat poop or dogs that are seeking to gain their pet parent's attention have also been known to grab a kitty poo to engage their owner in a run-and-chase session.
Your Dog May Be Eating Cat Poop Because It Tastes Good
A good quality cat food is high in protein, which can still retain an enticing smell when eliminated. And since a dog's nose contains millions of scent receptors, it's only natural that it would be attracted to the feces.
Once the cat poop is consumed your canine companion may actually enjoy the taste of those ingredients and additives found in commercial cat kibble.
Another reason for a dog eating cat poop is simply the fact that your dog may be hungry. Even if you are feeding your dog according to the recommendations of the kibble, your pooch may still be hungry.
Highly active dogs or those suffering from internal parasites can have a larger appetite than normal, so make adjustments for these situations and definitely get your pup checked by your veterinarian for internal parasites.
A Dog Eating Cat Poop Could Be Caused By Pica
Pica is a medical condition where the pet will crave and eat foreign objects, cat poop included. Vet MD recommends visiting your veterinarian to eliminate any underlying health issues. If all is well with your pooch, behavior modification may be required to stop the habit. Read on for some helpful hints to help you combat that cat poop eating indulgence.
A Dog Eating Cat Poop Can Be Stopped
The easiest way to stop a dog eating cat poop is to remove the opportunity to do so. Move the litter box to a less reachable spot and invest in a covered cat litter box to make the dining more difficult.
Your veterinarian or local pet retailer can also recommend products to sprinkle on your cat's kibble to make the feces less appetizing to your dog.
Some experts also suggest putting a small amount of cayenne pepper, tabasco sauce or chili pepper in the litter itself as a deterrent for "nosy" dogs.
In addition, training your dog for the "leave it" command is extremely helpful when training this behavior out of your canine companion.
Never scold your dog for eating cat poop, as this can bring on or add to any anxiety or stress issues she may already be experiencing.
Reference sources: http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/why-dogs-eat-poop/
The answer to 'why do dogs eat cat poop' may be caused by a number of reasons, but finding the cause is half the battle. Watch your dog closely for anxiety, pica or just being plain ole' hungry. Make the opportunity to eat the feces more difficult and praise your pup when she follows your commands.
Combating this behavior will take time, patience and understanding but it will be well worth the effort when your dog is feces-eating free.