Does your furry friend have a taste for the unmentionable?

It’s a pretty dirty habit, but there can be many valid reasons why your pet eats poo (aka coprophagy).

Boredom and loneliness can affect dogs in different ways. If they start eating or playing with poo it may mean they aren’t getting enough real food or stimulation from other places. It can also be a form of “housekeeping” if their area is not kept clean as most dogs don’t like to live around their own faeces.

Quite often dogs that spent time as puppies in shelters, puppy mills or kennels, where they had to exist with their own faeces in the cage with them for hours, will have a habit where they clean up after themselves. This habit then follows them into adulthood and because this behaviour started when they were very young it isn’t always easy to break.

If your dog is eating a nutritionally deficient diet or not enough food they may look for other options. This could mean scavenging in the back yard or dog park to fill their tummies with other options.

It’s quite common for a mother dog to “clean up” after her little ones. This is a natural instinct created to hide the puppies from any nasty predators who might like to prey on them. Even though they have nothing to fear nowadays, it is one of those "wild" behaviours that seems to have continued into modern domesticated dogs.

Cat poo is actually considered a tasty treat for some dogs. This may be because the modern diets of cats contain more meat-based protein than dogs or even have different flavourings your dog will find interesting.

The best way to prevent coprophagy is to keep your dog’s environment clean and free of any droppings, monitor their access to any outside areas and make sure their walk doesn’t give them access to other dog’s waste. Also have a look at their diet to make sure it contains everything they need.

If this problem persists please consult your veterinarian.

TIP: Try feeding your dog a little bit of pineapple in their meal each day if they eat their own faeces. This gives their droppings an unfavourable taste (not that they are all that favourable to begin with!)