Why Dogs Eat Poop and Cat Litter

Many dogs eat poop and cat litter. Most of us consider the practice disgusting. But dogs don’t. To them, in fact, poop and cat litter go together like bacon and eggs.

Coprophagy

Eating feces is so common among dogs that veterinarians have given poop eating a scientific name: Coporophagy. The term comes from the Greek words for “feces” (corpo) and “eat” (phagy). Not all dogs eat poop, though. Of those that do, some start eating it early in life while others start eating it later.

Different Poop for Different Dogs

Dogs don’t all like the same kind of poop. For example, my canine companion Mac loves cat poop, and won’t touch his own feces in the backyard. Other canines enjoy eating:

 

  • Dog poop
  • Deer poop
  • Rabbit poop
  • Goat poop
  • Horse poop

Cat poop, though, seems to be the most popular.

 

Theories About Why Dogs Eat Poop

The fact is that no one knows why dogs love to eat poop so much. But theories abound:

 

  • Dogs tried poop when they were exploring different things in the world as puppies. They liked the taste of it, and continued eating feces as adults.
  • When toilet training puppies, the trainers rubbed the pups’ noses in their feces.
  • When guardians trained their puppies, they kept them in crates for so long that the pups pooped. Then, because the puppies didn’t like their soiled crates, they ate their feces, and continued eating it as adults.
  • They’re stressed out.
  • Eating poop is a hereditary behavior that is passed down through the generations.
  • Sometimes dogs don’t get enough nutrients from their food. By eating feces, they get the nutrients they’re lacking.
  • They have internal parasites or some other medical problem.
  • They’re hungry, and need to be fed more often.
  • Their caretakers don’t exercise them enough or play with them enough.
  • They’re bored.

The most generally accepted theory, though, is that dogs eat poop because it tastes good. Eating feces is a normal canine behavior.

 

Health Problems Caused by Dogs Eating Poop

Herbivores and carnivores both have parasites. Dogs are carnivores. If they eat poop from herbivores such as rabbits and deer, they can’t get the parasites in the poop. But if they eat poop from fellow carnivores such as dogs and cats that live outside, they can get the parasites in the poop. They also can transmit those parasites to other dogs.

If dogs eat poop that’s two or three weeks old, they can become infected with whipworms and roundworms.

Why Dogs Eat Cat Litter donate your poop

Just as no one knows why dogs eat poop, no one knows why dogs eat cat litter, either. They just like to do it.

Dogs can develop serious problems if they eat clumping litter. When the litter mixes with the digestive liquids in the dogs’ stomachs, the litter can clump and block their intestines. The situation can be fatal if left untreated, and expensive to treat through surgery.

Keeping Your Companion Safe from Poop and Cat Litter

The best way to keep your canine companion safe from poop and cat litter is to limit access to it. Some suggestions include:

 

  • Picking up the poop in your yard frequently so your dog won’t eat it
  • Walking your companion on a leash so you can prevent her from going off to investigate a tempting pile of feces
  • Bringing your companion to the vet if you suspect she’s eating poop because of a medical disorder
  • Feeding your companion more frequently during the day, but without increasing the total amount of food
  • Giving your companion something more interesting to play with than feces, such as a Kong toy filled with food
  • Making the litter box inaccessible to your companion

 

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