Stool eating is a condition in dogs known as coprophagia. According to Douglas Island Veterinary Service, coprophagia is caused by pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatitis, intestinal infections, malabsorptive syndromes or over-feeding. Coprophagia can also be a learned behavior. Luckily, there are home remedies that can help put an end to a dog’s stool-eating days.
According to the Partnership for Animal Welfare (PAW), changing the dog’s diet from a low-quality food to a natural or holistic food provides the dog with nutrients that it may be lacking. Veterinarian Nicholas Dodman suggests adding certain foods to the dogs diet that taste good the first time around, but taste foul when eliminated in stool. These foods include hot sauce, meat tenderizer, pumpkin, pineapple and spinach.
PAW recommends restricting access to stools while your dog has this habit. Picking up feces when they are fresh means the dog does not have the chance to eat them. If your dog’s coprophagia is related to a cat litter box, make it inaccessible to the dog. Place it in a closet with a pet gate, or in the garage with a cat door to allow access for the cat, but block access for the dog.
According to Dodman, training simple commands such as “leave it” using positive reinforcement can put a stop to coprophagia if the behavior has become a habit. PAW recommends keeping the dog on leash when around feces, and saying “leave it” when the dog approaches the stool. Distracting the dog with praise or a tasty treat teaches the dog that paying attention to what you are doing is more fun than eating feces.
Writing since 2009, Catherine Hiles is a British writer currently living Stateside. Her articles appear on websites covering topics in animal health and training, lifestyle and more. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Chester in the United Kingdom.