SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – Poop

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Yes, you read that right, we’re mythbusting about poop today. We’re joining Sugar, the Golden Retriever’s Scoop that Poop blog hop – a hop dedicated to raising stealmypooawareness on the importance of scooping your dog’s poop. Along with Dogster.com they’ve created a great InfoGraphic that describes all of the harmful things that happen when people leave the poop and don’t clean up after their pets.

Truth be told, the dogs would probably prefer that you leave the poop behind – it’s like a newspaper to them – telling them all about who’s come by, where they had dinner last night, etc. But we get it, it’s no myth that it can be harmful to us and to your dogs, so please scoop away.

I’m going to bust the myth about why dogs like to eat poop so much. Yes, they do, you may not want to admit that your dog eats poop, but they all do it. It might be their own, it might be another dogs, or they might be connoisseurs of rabbit, cow, horse, coyote or even bear poop. I know you’ve experienced it first hand…but why, why do they enjoy those little morsels so much – especially why do they eat their own poop?

The phenomena has a very fancy name for it – coprophagia – and I have heard a number of reasons why dogs do it:

  1. It tastes good.
  2. They are trying to hide themselves from predators or misbehavior from the owner.
  3. They are confined and are hungry.
  4. They are lacking something in their diet.
  5. All of the above

ieatpoopThe reality is the answer is #5. Depending on the dog and their life situation and environment the reason they eat their stool could be anyone of those answers, or even a combination.  I’ve only had two dogs with the habit – my first Lab, Maxine who I think fit in #4 group. A dog’s pancreas secretes enzymes to help them digest their food. Some dogs don’t secrete enough, so they look to supplement this deficiency with other animals feces – typically rich in these enzymes. When I altered Maxine’s diet to a higher quality food, the behavior diminished.

Maggie also eats poop – not often, but I think she does it as a lingering habit of #3. She was a breeder dog in a puppy mill and so was confined all of the time. I know she struggled to get a place at the table during mealtime (as evidenced by bite marks on her head) so I think she does it because she used to eat other dog’s poop for subsistence.

It’s also true that dogs may do it to hide themselves, or the evidence of misbehavior. Two of my dogs (Jack & Tino) back up into a bush in order to poop. They appear to be trying to hide it within the leaves of the plant. A dog who is punished for accidents in the house, may eat it to get rid of the evidence.

In order to stop the behavior, you need to think of which of these reasons might be at the root and attack it from that vantage. The simplest solution is to pick the poop up immediately – don’t leave it around for them to have access to. Educate your neighbors about the dangers, so they pick up their dog’s poop too. Post signs and poop bag dispensers at local dog walking areas. If there’s no poop around, there won’t be any for them to eat. Now, preventing your dog from eating rabbit, coyote, horse, etc. poop…well that’s a different story for a different day. I’ll have to figure it out first 😉

Here’s a couple of other good resources on the topic:

  1. Why Do Dogs (and Cats) Eat Poop?
  2. Coprophagia in Dogs – Behavior
  3. Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?
  4. Coprophagia (Eating Feces)

scoop-poop-badgeRemember, if you Scoop that Poop, there won’t be any there to eat – so take care of it!

We’re joining the Scoop that Poop Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever. This is the 2nd Scoop That Poop blog hop. Find some time to visit all the participants. Sugar thanks her September co-hosts The World According to Garth Riley, Oz the Terrier, Terrier Torrent, My GBGV Life, Pawsitively Pets, and Boingy Dog



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41 Comments

  1. That is so true, your multiple choice question! Thanks for sharing your resources.
    Ruckus the Eskie recently posted…Who’s your Water Buddy?My Profile

  2. Shiner prefers cat poop, but we no longer have a cat inside the house. I have never seen her own poop thankfully! I wrote about coprophagia before, but it was regarding pet species that are supposed to do it. It’s one of my favorite medical terminology words 🙂 lol
    Ann “Paws” Staub recently posted…Every Dog Poops | Be a Scooper Hero and #ScoopThatPoopMy Profile

    • It is a good word isn’t. I have mastered pronouncing it yet…or spelling it either for that matter.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – PoopMy Profile

  3. Tynan was and Huxley is a backing up into the bush to poop dogs. Fortunately, their need to hide their poop didn’t go into the eating it extreme. Cat poop is a whole different story though…! Thank you for this myth buster. I have read some very disturbing stories about the lengths people have gone through to stop this behavior in their dogs and I have always wondered why they don’t just clean it up quickly, as you suggested!
    Bethany recently posted…Make a Community Poop Bag Share Station, Help Neighbors Remember To #ScoopThatPoopMy Profile

    • That’s the easiest solution! It works with Maggie and she does it less and less now too.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – PoopMy Profile

  4. Love the explanation! Dina would fit in four when she used to do it.
    Dina recently posted…Black and White SundayMy Profile

  5. Yup. Daisy and Jasper eat poop too. I am sure it is from their upbringing as younger dogs. I also pick up poop right away. Jasper knows that I will call him away if I see him heading for Daisy’s poop and will watch for me. Daisy will drop it if I catch her picking it up. I hate that they do it, but it is manageable if you pick up the poop right away.

    Winter is harder due to the snow and ice. Daisy loves popsicles. 🙂
    MelF recently posted…What is a dog threshold and why does it matter?My Profile

    • Oh dear – Maxine used to love the popsicles too and it’s so much harder to clean up in the winter!
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – PoopMy Profile

  6. This was one of the BEST “poop” posts I have read! This made me laugh “dogs would probably prefer that you leave the poop behind – it’s like a newspaper to them – telling them all about who’s come by, where they had dinner last night, etc.”

    I never knew about “coprophagia ” thank you for sharing!
    Caren Gittleman recently posted…#ScoopThatPoop you don’t want me biting ya do ya?My Profile

  7. I enjoyed grabbing a snack out of the litter box, but since it is clumping litter and Mom did not like me snacking there in the first place, that snack source was removed from my reach. Katie and I do enjoy a nice rabbit pellet or two or three sometimes but otherwise, we aren’t into eating poop which makes for a much happier Mom.
    emma recently posted…Stink No More | GBGV | #ScoopThatPoopMy Profile

    • Rabbit poop I can deal with…doesn’t bother me too much, its the horse & coyote poop that really get to me…and cleaning it up isn’t really an option.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – PoopMy Profile

  8. Our dogs go for rabbit, deer, and other wild animals. I would say it is because it tastes good, or they think it might. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Monday Mischief–Too Much Cover and #ScoopThatPoopMy Profile

  9. Sheba’s never ate her own poop, when she was a pup she liked the contents of the cat’s litter box though, great post.

    Sheba.
    Sheba’s Life Story recently posted…Scoop the Poop Campaign and blog hop. #ScoopThatPoop.My Profile

    • Cat poop does seem to be a favorite among our readers, so Sheba is in good company.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – PoopMy Profile

  10. Our dogs don’t eat poop and I’m thankful for that, but I know that it’s a condition and something to look out for in our future dogs. What our dogs will do, if allowed, is snack on the litter box, so it’s upstairs with a cover and the dogs don’t go near it (thank goodness).
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Grains in Dog Food | Hill’s Ideal Balance Grain Free Dog Food GiveawayMy Profile

    • Its funny what attracts them. Sally loved rabbit poop and could dine for hours on it if I let her. Jack & Maggie – only a passing interest. Maybe it’s an acquired taste.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – PoopMy Profile

  11. You and I have had this conversation before about Callie’s poop-eating habits. And I think I decided at the time that since Callie would leave her poop alone if she didn’t see me cleaning it up, she must have placed higher value on it when she did see me cleaning up. But, since I switched them over to the Fresh Pet Roasted Selects, she has stopped eating the poop. I really believe now that it was the increasingly lower quality of the kibble I was feeding them that caused Callie — and Shadow on occasion — to try to get the nutrients she was missing out on. Not only is she walking away from it now, but it is now healthier-looking than it ever was (and doesn’t stink to high heaven either, even on a hot, humid day)!
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…FOLLOW UP FRIDAYMy Profile

    • Great news – I’m glad Callie has abandoned her old habits…and that she’s healthier for it!
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – PoopMy Profile

  12. Hmmm, I don’t eat dog poop at all…but bunny chocolates, well that is a whole other story (they are delicious)! You are right, if everyone would scoop their poop dogs wouldn’t have the opportunity to eat another’s poop. This is especially important as other dogs’ poops can spread contaminants (germs and disease). Great post, SlimDoggy and thank you for joining in the hop!
    *high paw*
    Oz
    Oz the Terrier recently posted…#ScoopThatPoop: PoopBuddy and Scooper OzMy Profile

    • Bunny chocolates used to be a delicacy here, but Jack and Maggie don’t seem to like them too much…which is FINE by me.

  13. It’s so important to clear up after your dog, both your yourself and others!
    Michelle Liew recently posted…Speaking out against animal abuseMy Profile

  14. We read that a vet can prescribe drops that make the poop smell so bad they wouldn’t want to eat it. But we can’t even imagine what that smell would be like.
    jan recently posted…Do dogs feel guilt?My Profile

  15. The last time we were at the vet, there were dogs that were ill because they ate poop. From what we read too, it is very common to small dogs. We think the best solution is having a good diet. On the articles we read, many add certain “supplements’ on dog’s food for them to dislike poop. One reason every dog owner must be responsible on picking up after their dog. Lots of Golden Thanks for joining our hop and help us SPREAD #ScoopThatPoop. Lots of Golden Thanks, Sugar
    SUGAR: Golden Woofs recently posted…#ScoopThatPoop: Be A Scooper HeroMy Profile

    • It’s pretty common to pick up parasites from poop – Sally used to get it from the rabbit poop – had to have her checked pretty regular.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – PoopMy Profile

  16. Fascinating post today SlimDoggy…I’ve never had a dog that ate dog poop, but cleaning out the cat box is a whole different story…Gizmo likes to go to the farthest corner to poop which I find interesting…he leaves the scent far from home to ??? dissuade predators??? Have you ever noticed that a car ride will get a dog to poop? No matter how much he poops before we leave home, as soon as we get out of the car he needs to poop again…so I always have an extra couple of bags in my pocket or purse…Thanks for joining the hop!
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…All the Poop That’s Fit to Scoop – #ScoopThatPoop #2My Profile

    • I’ve never had a dog that had to poop after a car ride – that’s a new one.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Mythbuster #5 – PoopMy Profile

  17. Man, I’m glad I’ve never had a dog do this. I think my husband would toss his cookies if our dog did that!

  18. Mom hasn’t figured out why I like to eat poop so much, so she just uses the scoop immediately strategy. Changing me to a higher-quality food hasn’t helped – it’s made my poop even more yummy!

    Thanks for pawticipating!!!

    Garth
    Garth Riley recently posted…Be a SCOOPER HERO! Garth’s TOP TEN Reasons to #ScoopThatPoopMy Profile

  19. Great myth buster! I’ve never seen Sherman or Leroy eat other dogs poop, but my Beagle ate the Newfs poop all the time! They ate different food so I assumed he liked the taste of it!
    Jen recently posted…When You’re Walking The Dog And The S.W.A.T Team Asks To Speak With YouMy Profile

  20. This was a excellent post for scoop that poop day. Bravo loved it!
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Tuesday’s Tails~Miss Holly LoverMy Profile

  21. Easy reading post that is informative and fun at the same time 🙂 I’m one of those that are thankful that the dog only sniffs at poop and doesn’t eat it. I heard my aunt had a dog run away once and when they finally found him, he had developed a habit of eating poop. Life outside sure is tough for a lost dog.
    weliveinaflat recently posted…Phoneography Weekly: DepartureMy Profile

  22. I admit it….Chester eats his poop out of the back yard….a lot of it. We have decided that resistance is futile. Hey, at least that is less I have to pick up 🙂
    Jessica recently posted…Dog Owners Who Feel Peer Pressure More Likely to Pick Up Dog PoopMy Profile

  23. Thanks SlimDoggy! Great post and the memes are awesome! I think Lucky eats poop for similar reasons as Maggie. When she was in the shelter she was bullied out of eating the food. I think her only recourse was to eat the poop in the kennel. A couple of trainers that I work with have also talked about poop eating (or eating off the ground) as a compulsion that arises from anxiety. Might be interesting to look into for your post about dogs eating other dogs’ poop.
    BoingyDog recently posted…5 Reasons to #ScoopThatPoop (Infographic)My Profile

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