Many dog owners are confronted with a bad habit taken by their companion: coprophagy. Coprophagy is the feeding of feces. When a dog eats cat droppings or its own feces, one wonders where this disgusting habit comes from, but more importantly, what it means.
Why is my dog eating cat droppings? How can I prevent my dog from eating excrement? Is it dangerous for him? In this article, we explain why your dog starts eating your cat’s feces and we give you solutions to remedy this.
Why does my dog eat cat feces?
Did you catch your dog eating a snack that was repulsive, to say the least? Know that you are not alone in this situation, many owners wonder about their dog’s interest in cat droppings. There is no universal answer, as there are so many reasons.
It may seem surprising, but some dogs find a certain appetence in the excrement of other animals, including cats. It is the food of the animal in question that creates this appetence in its stool, which is why your dog finds it interesting and develops a bad habit that is difficult to remove. Limiting access to your cat’s litter box to its user is one solution, but if you have a garden in which your tomcat does his needs, it will be difficult to control your dog.
Always with behavior problems, it can happen that a dog will start eating the droppings… to clean his environment. If your cat does its needs in your garden and nobody comes to clean it, your dog, who does not appreciate living in a dirty environment, will be able to take care of it himself. He will then eat your cat’s droppings and his own droppings to clean his living space.
Beyond a simple behavioral problem, it may be a health concern. A diet that is not rich enough may cause your dog to find what it lacks in your cat’s defecation. But this behavior can hide another medical problem. In any case, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary to eliminate or confirm this hypothesis.
Stress, anxiety, and boredom are reasons for coprophagia. Is your dog anxious by nature? Do you spend enough time with him? To make up for his discomfort, he will find an occupation.
What should I do when my dog eats cat feces?
The first thing to do when you notice that your dog has developed this bad habit is to consult a veterinarian. On one hand, this will ensure that he is up to date in his vaccinations and deworming. Since feces can be infested with worms or disease, it is best to check that nothing has been transmitted to your dog. But it is also a way to do a health check to see if he is not lacking anything in terms of nutrition, suffering from anxiety, or any other health problem that could lead to this behavior.
If your dog is suffering from any problems, your veterinarian will prescribe treatment to put his health back in order. However, if he concludes that it is a behavioral problem, he will give you advice on how to eliminate the bad habit.
Tips to prevent your dog from eating excrement
There are several solutions to divert your dog’s attention from your cat’s droppings.
First of all, we recommend that you prohibit your dog’s access to the litter box by opting for a covered box or a barrier to block the passage to the room where it is located. If you have an outdoor area, you will need to clean your garden more regularly to remove the dog and cat droppings (or those of the neighborhood) so that your dog does not have to do so or be tempted to eat them.
You can also ask your veterinarian for tablets to give to your cat that will suppress the palatability of its stool. Your dog will no longer be satisfied, and this will help him to forget this disgusting habit.
To prevent your dog from focusing on his desire to eat other people’s poop in your yard or while out for a walk, you’ll have to divert his attention. At home, give him something to keep him busy and channel his energy: balls, squeaky toys, and other interactive toys will keep him occupied for hours. Take time to play with your child so that he or she doesn’t get tired or lonely.
If your dog approaches a poop on a walk, pulling his leash slightly and calling him to give him a treat or a cuddle will make him forget what he was about to do. If he smells a turd without swallowing it, praise him as well. With positive reinforcement, he will gradually stop doing this.
If these solutions don’t work, advice from a canine behaviorist may be possible.
Have you ever faced this problem with your dog? If so, please share your story and the solutions you have found to help other members of our community who have a coprophagous dog.