Firstly, don’t panic if you see your puppy eating its own poop. Apparently, it is a pretty normal behavior for a puppy and it is widely common. This stool eating behavior is known as Coprophagy. However, there might be some reasons behind this kind of behavior and you must take steps early to prevent it from becoming a habit.
Generally, the poop eating behavior starts when a puppy is still in the litter. The mother eats the stool of her puppies during the early ages to make sure that the den is clean and the smell doesn’t attract any predators. It is a natural phenomenon in the wild. Since, puppies see their mother eating stool, they begin to adopt the same behavior and follow their mother’s lead. Although, the mother stops eating her puppies feces when they start eating solid food.
The first thing that should be done to discourage poop eating in puppies is to keep the litter clean on regular basis, so that the puppy don’t get the chance to eat it. Dog proof litter boxes like these can help to stop them. It is the breeder’s responsibility! If your newly welcomed puppy engages into this habit, it means the breeder didn’t do his job properly.
Other Reasons for Stool Eating
Dogs who receive a good diet, eventually grow out of this habit in around a year. But if the behavior continues then it is important to consult a vet or a pet behaviorist to identify the reason behind continuance of this behavior. Here are some other reasons that can cause your dog to eat its own poop:
If your puppy is not able to digest its food properly, it means the food is low in digestive nutrients and the poop tastes the same as the food for the puppy. This causes them to eat it again. Switching to a better quality dog food can help here.
When they are bored
Yes, this is a valid reason for puppies eating their own stool. If they are left alone without any toys or stuff, they will start playing with their own poop and might eat it.
Too much stress
Stress is one of the major reasons why puppies and even dogs eat their own poop. If this behavior is an outcome of stress, then you need to figure out the reason behind the stress and help them de-stress. Don’t punish them as it will further depress them.
Feeling hungry all the time
There are various enzymes in your dog’s digestive system that can cause them to be hungry all the time. This makes them eat anything that closely resembles or tastes like food. Your puppy might also start eating its own poop if you are not feeding them properly. For Example, growing puppies need to be fed at least three to four times a day, depending upon the breed. Consult your vet for a diet chart. Feed your puppy good and nutritious food that makes them feel full and satisfied.
Dogs crave attention! If previously, you have given extra attention to them due to their poop eating habit, they might try to get that attention again by indulging in that habit. Even if your reaction was negative and you scolded the puppy, it was still attention for them. On the contrary, if you have scolded them for pooping inside the house, they might be afraid of you and eat their poop in order to hide it from you and to avoid being scolded.
Lastly, some dogs/puppies will eat their poop because they just simply enjoy it. There is no reason to it! You have to distract them or get a behaviorist to change this poop eating habit.