Photo by Marcus Löfvenberg on Unsplash

Eating poop is probably one of the more disgusting habits many dogs have. If you've ever seen your dog eagerly chomping down on feces, it can be mortifying. What's disgusting for us, is actually relatively common and normal, and doesn't necessarily mean somethings wrong with your pooch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why dogs eat poop

The activity of eating poop, or coprophagia in technical terms, is thought to have to do with our dog’s wild ancestors, wolves. Several theories exist, but one of the most common one believes that wolves regularly eat feces left in the den by their pups as a way to stop the spread of intestinal parasites. The most common intestinal parasite found in wolves, doesn't become infective for two days. So by eating the feces, and getting rid of it, they can help stop the spread of parasites to them and their young. Some believe that our dogs are displaying similar, ancestral behavior when they engage in coprophagia. Another theory suggests that since dogs naturally clean their puppies at birth, they are used to cleaning up feces and therefor have the urge to "clean it up" in less appropriate situations.

Should you be worried?

Aside from bad breath, there are few side effects from your dog eating their own poop. If your dog eats feces from other animals, there is a real risk of spreading bacterial and intestinal parasites. Most mammals harbor intestinal parasites and when they deposit their poop, those intestinal parasites enter the environment. When another animal comes along and digests the feces, they also ingest the intestinal parasites and so the cycle continues. Dogs are susceptible to all sorts of parasites and many can be inadvertently spread to us! The good news is, intestinal parasites are preventable and by giving your dog regular heartworm preventative you're also helping to protect them from these intestinal parasites. Contact us if you have any concerns.

Curbing your dogs habit

The easiest way to keep your dog from eating poop is to make sure you clean up after your dog whenever you go. You can also keep a leash on your dog when they do go, so that if they start to engage in the behavior, you can quickly tell them "no" and pull them away. The right training can also be very successful in eliminating your dog’s unsightly behavior. Contact us for a list of reputable trainers in the Asheville area. There are food additives that are marketed to help curb the behavior, but recent studies have suggested that they may not be too effective.

 



5 Ways to Exercise Your Dog This Winter

Oh, the weather outside is frightful - and Fido’s behavior isn’t so delightful. They say that a tired dog is a good dog, and there’s a lot of truth in this! When they are stimulated both physically and mentally, undesired behaviors (e.g. destructive chewing, barking, digging in the trash, eliminating inside, etc.) are curbed. Their health, of course, also improves as exercise keeps weight in check and hearts healthy. When they’re not… well, you start to see a lot of issues.



The Puppy editionCongratulations! Having a new puppy is a fun and exciting experience and we're here to help guide you. Whether you've had pets before, or you're a first-time dog owner, this article covers all the bases.



top items animal shelterThousands of animals live in shelters across North Carolina, and their numbers only swelled after Hurricane Florence hit with a vengeance. The folks who work at these facilities are driven by compassionate hearts and the desire to give cats, dogs, and other critters a new chance at life. They rely on their communities for the resources they need to properly care for animals. What can you do to help out?



Keep pets safe in cold weatherThere’s a chill creeping into the air, the days are getting shorter, the nights longer. Winter is on its way! How can you make sure your faithful companions stay safe, healthy, and cozy when the cold weather hits?