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Old 06.03.2021, 08:54
John_H
 
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Dog eating poop!

Our 9 year old rescue franchie had the classic breed breathing and snoring issues and a few weeks ago it got an operation to widen the airways etc.. All went well and it's totally transformed it. No more snoring and more significantly, it now runs around like a bloodhound sniffing everything and following scents etc..
It's even become friendly with other dogs now that's able to sniff ass .. Previously it just wasn't tolerant of other dogs, maybe 'cos it couldn't smell them..

However it's now developed an appetite for eating crap as well.. It's own will do but it's especially keen on cow poop.. The fields near us have just been covered in manure, to prep them for the cows coming back.. Doggo runs around munching it like it's in excrement heaven.

Do your dogs do it? I read all about possible deficiencies etc but it seems directly related to having the operation and getting a sense of smell back.. I can't imagine it's very healthy - parasites etc.
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Old 06.03.2021, 08:59
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Re: Dog eating poop!

Our previous pug had the same operation and used to do the same, although not to the extent that you seem to be experiencing. I never linked the operation to this habit, but it was a while ago. Apparently poo has nutrients, but I'm not sure if the habit is due to any deficiency.
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Old 06.03.2021, 10:02
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Re: Dog eating poop!

Coprophagia (the high falutin' term for eating poo) can have several different causes.

As you address this it's first key to determine if there is a medical cause, or if the coprophagia is simply behavioral.

It's generally easier, albeit more expensive, to rule out medical issues first. Possible medical causes are:

Parasites
Diets deficient in nutrients and calories
Malabsorption syndromes
Diabetes,
Cushing’s,
Thyroid disease. There are other conditions that might cause an increase in appetite as well.
Drugs such as steroids. Steroids can cause an increase in appetite, sometimes to the point of polyphagia.

With the exception of the first two, the other conditions listed should have other symptoms. Your vet could rule many potential causes out with a simple chat,. Or a full blood panel might be suggested before concentrating on any other likely suspects.

To look for parasites, you'll likely need a three day stool sample, so you might gather that ahead of an appointment. (Ask when you make the appointment.)

Also, as you discuss coprophagia with your vet, ask if your dog's worming routine is sufficient in light of the poo eating.

---


If there is no reason to suspect a medical cause, then the harder work of behavioral training starts. This could be temporary, as a renewed sense of smell as you mention. Or it could be something more deep seated. Coprophagia can be an excitement thing, a response to stress or anxiety, a territorial thing - or just the simply fact that dogs like the taste of poo.

In all behavioral cases, the first thing to do is work (and work and work) on your Leave! command. This is a good exercise anyway, as dogs should not eat off the ground at any time. There have beeen too many poisoning cases, accidental and deliberate, to allow a dog to eat anything on the ground, or indeed that is not given to him by the owner.

If you do 'Giftköder' training, anti-poo eating training is the same thing.

Start by laying a trail of low value contraband, and have a higher value reward to hand. With your dog on lead, follow the trail, interrupting the dog every time he shows even the slightest bit of interest in the contraband. Reward compliance by giving the higher value treat. The dog starts to see contraband as a trigger for a higher reward, rather than a reward in itself.

Don't use poo to start, as that is too high value. Train with low value, such as boring kibble, simply to get your dog used to ignoring whatever is on the ground.

Do this a few thousand times, upping the value of the contraband once your dog is consistently ignoring the lower value. The higher value contraband should, in your case, eventually include poo. (Yes, you will need to collect a supply.)

Then do this a few thousand times more off lead walking to heel.

Then do this a few thousand times more off lead at a distance from you.

The idea is to train the dog to ignore everything on the ground. Food only comes from you, nowhere else.

And of course, always have that high value reward with you on your regular non-training walks. Every time your dog encounters and ignores poo 'in the real world' be sure to reward.

---

Anti-contraband training takes time, obviously. So in the meantime, management is the best way forward.

It seems your dog eats both his own poo (and anything else he will find - which from my own experience of coprophagia might indicate behavior rather than medical, but that's for the vet to decide) so the first thing to do is to ensure that he doesn't have a chance to eat his own poo. Which means in your garden or on walks he does not go off lead until he has had a poo and you've picked it up.

I have trained Heffalump - my poo-eater - that he must sit after having a poo. It's always easier to train a dog to do an acceptable behavior than to train out an unacceptable one, so this is mine. After defecating, he was given a Sit! command - a few thousand iterations later this is now his routine. After defecating he automatically sits and waits to be released. The idea is that he is unlikely to turn around and eat his fresh poo because he is sitting, giving me a chance to pick up before he gets to it.

H2 only eats his own poo (it's a malabsorption problem) so I have a relatively controlled situation. If your dog is eating poo from other dogs or species, that's harder to deal with. The only thing you can really do is to keep an eagle eye out, work on that Leave! command, and only let him off lead in places where you have first scouted for poo lying around.

---

So while coprophagia is often more disgusting than dangerous, one concern with eating poo is the potential for nasty stuff in it. It's a habit that needs to be trained out.

Parasites can linger in poo, eating it could infect the dog. When H2 had a nasty bout of Giardia I had to be extra vigilant, as he could keep re-infecting himself by eating the larvae in his poo. And certainly I had to be careful that the other dogs did not come near his poo.

Another example: I've had to be very careful around horse poo with my two MDR1 -/- dogs, as horses are regulary treated with Ivermectin. The amount shed in horse poo could have killed my dogs . This is only true if your dog is MDR1 -/-, though - not really a worry for unaffected dogs. A limited example, but because you can't know what's in any other critter's poo your dog needs to be trained to leave it.

---

You might have read about adding supplements to your dog's food that would discourage him from poo eating. This, of course, would only be effective if your dog only ate his own poo. But it seems that your dog is eating indiscriminately, so supplements are unlikely to be of any help.

I'd lean towards training, training, training. After, of course, a quick chat with the vet.

---

ETA:

Oh, and don't forget a good round of teeth brushing after a coprophagia incident. Why is it that our dogs especially love to kiss us smelling of poo-breath?

---

I'm so glad to hear that the op was successful. All the best to you and your pup.

Last edited by meloncollie; 07.03.2021 at 13:10.
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Old 06.03.2021, 10:47
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Re: Dog eating poop!

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Coprophagia (the high falutin' term for eating poo) can have several different causes.
.......
I'm so glad to hear that the op was successful. All the best to you and your pup.
Thank you! It's a strange one but does seem directly related to the operation. We've only had it for 15 months, no issues with training generally, recall, leave etc is spot on. No issues with eating stuff generally, if the kids leave stuff on floor even the dog will just sit and look at it, it won't take it..

When we're out we only have a very short walk (50m) on lead until we reach the forest and fields and river where it runs free.. So it's harder there, nearby I see the nose going down and and i just make the pssst sound and it leaves it.. But further away, it harder..

My guess is that it has just found a whole new world of smells and loves it.. It eats the same food and same amount as before but is just totally different in terms of sniffing .. and this recent cow poop spread around is particularly attractive. We'll see what vet says next time we're there.
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Old 06.03.2021, 11:48
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Re: Dog eating poop!

just think of the dog food savings!
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Old 06.03.2021, 11:57
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Re: Dog eating poop!

Our first rescue, a collie cross who lived to be at least 17 - could not resist sheep poo- it ate them like choco pops- and there was nothing we could do to stop him- and certainly never caused him any problems.
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Old 06.03.2021, 15:04
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Re: Dog eating poop!

Horse poop - I have to have my eyes peeled because for some reason my dog loves it
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Old 06.03.2021, 15:34
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Re: Dog eating poop!

my one has a cat poo radar. Cow poo is also appealing.

if she's not inclined to eat it, she is likely to want to roll in it.

a previous dog I had used to get into the kitty litter. You could tell that because she would appear with bits of litter in her moustache
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Old 06.03.2021, 17:17
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Re: Dog eating poop!

What really helps is putting Pineapple in their food - I had this issue with one of my dogs, he would poop and instantly eat it - I tried it and it did work - I believe it emits an odour in the poop that isn't too tasty
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Old 06.03.2021, 17:27
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Re: Dog eating poop!

I keep reading

Dog-Eating Poop!
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Old 06.03.2021, 17:30
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Re: Dog eating poop!

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What really helps is putting Pineapple in their food - I had this issue with one of my dogs, he would poop and instantly eat it - I tried it and it did work - I believe it emits an odour in the poop that isn't too tasty
So how do you get the neighbourhood cats, the sheep and the cattle to eat pineapple?
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Old 06.03.2021, 17:37
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Re: Dog eating poop!

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So how do you get the neighbourhood cats, the sheep and the cattle to eat pineapple?
Apparently, it becomes a habit forming action so if the dog begins to not like eating his own poop he loses the desire to eat any other animals..
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Old 06.03.2021, 17:57
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Re: Dog eating poop!

Our Pepper never ever ate his own - only sheep poo. He was a stray and we found him near countryside, and perhaps the sheep poo had sustained him for a while after he was abandonned?
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Old 06.03.2021, 18:46
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Re: Dog eating poop!

Your dog has opened a social media account. Find and delete to solve the problem
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Old 06.03.2021, 19:19
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Re: Dog eating poop!

I respect pet owners even more now.

It sounds...complex.
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Old 06.03.2021, 20:10
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Re: Dog eating poop!

It is, especially when, like us, we always adopt animals that have found us, rather than the other way round- and we have no idea what their past history is. However our first adoptee, Pepper- was the only one that ever ate poo, and only dry, hard sheep pellets- so not too bad.
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