What do you know about coprophagia (Eating Stools)
Maybe you’ve experienced it before; you’re walking your dog and he’s just finished doing his business. Then your dog turns around and eats his own stool …
It is also possible that your dog eats the faeces of another dog. You will probably find this behaviour very distasteful and would rather have your dog not doing this. Why does a dog eat its own faeces or the faeces of another dog? Do you know the answers?
Fable or fact, what do you think?
- A bitch eats the stools of her puppies. The puppies mimic this behaviour and do this during their puppy time, but sometimes a puppy will sill show this behaviour even in adulthood.
- Your dog’s food does not contain all the nutrients and because of this your dog has a shortage of certain nutrients. In order to compensate for the deficiencies, your dog eats the faeces of other dogs.
- Faeces contains undigested nutrients. These undigested nutrients smell very attractive and therefore your dog eats the stool.
- Your dog suffers from worms or other intestinal parasites. These worms or parasites absorb the nutrients from your dog’s intestines, so that your dog gets a shortage of nutrients. He will eat faeces to compensate for the shortage.
(The answers to the quiz can be found on the next page)
A bitch with a litter of puppies eats the stool for two reasons:
– To keep the litter ‘clean’.
– The second reason is related to a dog’s instinct; the bitch eats the stool so that the smell of the stool can’t spread and therefore can’t attract predators. Even though there are no predators in your house, the bitch will eat the stool for this reason.
Because puppies are still ‘learning’ from their mother how to do certain things, they mimic this behaviour. The bitch will stop eating the faeces once the pups get solid food and are able to leave the nest to do their business. However, sometimes puppies continue to eat faeces and do so even when they are adults.
Dog food with the label – complete – must meet strict requirements in the EU. This means that a complete dog food provides your dog with all the essential nutrients. Do you feed your dog a complete dog food? Then it’s not possible for your dog to get a shortage of certain nutrients (unless there is a health problem which prevents the dog from properly absorbing nutrients from the food, but in that case the dog food is not the problem!).
Various causes for undigested nutrients in stools can be: overfeeding, a condition where there is a shortage of digestive enzymes (e.g. EPI) or poor digestion of nutrients. When your dog eats his own faeces, you can solve this by feeding him less, or by giving him a food that only contains high quality ingredients (e.g. Riverwood or Profine).
Does your dog eat the faeces of other dogs? Then you can only tackle this problem by keeping an extra close eye on your dog when he is out for a walk, and thus making sure that he doesn’t eat stools.
When your dog suffers from worms or other intestinal parasites he can no longer (well) absorb the nutrients from the food; the worms or parasites in fact absorb these nutrients instead of your dog. Nevertheless to come to nutrients your dog will eat everything that could contain some nutrients, this can thus also be faeces. If you suspect that your dog eats faeces because he has worms or other parasites, it is necessary to treat him against these parasites.