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Why do dogs eat feces? Causes of coprophagia


Why do dogs eat feces? The behavior known as coprophagy can be unpleasant for us humans when we observe it in our four-legged friends. "Smells really good; then it sure tastes good too" - Dogs don't find faeces disgusting - Shutterstock / Igor Normann

The question is much discussed among veterinarians, scientists and dog owners; So far there are many possible explanations, but no unified answer.

Most dog owners will have already seen it in their four-legged friends: When walking the dog, Wuff suddenly stops, sniffs a pile of feces lying around and suddenly eats. What seems pretty gross in our eyes can have many reasons. However, coprophagia is not a biologically necessary behavior and can lead to health problems if worms, parasites or pathogens are ingested via the excrement. If your dog eats more feces, a visit to the veterinarian is advisable.

Natural causes of coprophagia

Basically, coprophagia can be described as natural behavior. Especially in the case of bitches that have given birth, it is increasingly common that they eat the droppings of their puppies in the first days after birth. It has not yet been clarified why - the bitches may check the health of their puppies or want to keep their nest clean. Speaking of puppies: puppies or young, growing dogs also eat faeces - presumably to support the development of a healthy intestinal flora. The excrement demands the immune system and thus indirectly strengthens it. Another reason why puppies eat faeces: curiosity. Young dogs discover their environment, are interested in everything and also like to examine or try out what comes out of them at the back.

Feces smell attractive for dogs

In contrast to humans, dogs do not find their excretions and those of other dogs smelling bad, but mostly even pleasant. The reason for this is probably certain fatty acids that arise during the digestive process and are excreted in the feces. So excrement of other animals can smell good for dogs and apparently taste good too.

Improper nutrition as a cause of coprophagia

Dog food is not the same as dog food. Inferior food, which lacks important minerals or vitamins, for example, leads to nutritional deficits. A theory of the reasons why dogs eat feces says that malnutrition can be behind it. Therefore, always make sure that you only feed high-quality dog ​​food and ensure that your dog receives all the important nutrients he needs.

Dog eats feces: when does coprophagia become a problem?

An adult dog eats feces if something is wrong with it. Only with dog mothers who ...

Other causes of coprophagia

Dogs can be forced to coprophagy by certain circumstances. Poor hygiene, for example, can increase behavior. For example, if a dog lives in a neglected dog kennel, eating feces can be a result of poor husbandry conditions.

In principle, a lack of attention can also increase the urge for coprophagia. Dogs who are alone a lot and suffer from a lot of boredom may want to attract attention by eating feces. Therefore, always give your dog sufficient attention and keep him or her species-appropriate. Diseases can also be responsible for coprophagia. Pancreatic insufficiency, a disease of the pancreas, can be the cause of the feces consumption. The dog tries to compensate for an underactive digestive enzymes by taking up the faeces. A parasite infestation can also be the cause. Severe worming sometimes triggers coprophagia.