This story starts on a snowy day in Kansas. It’s evening and despite the below freezing temperatures, biting winds and foot of snow on the ground, nature calls and the dogs need to answer. After several minutes, Bentley requests to be let in and Nessa comes running when called. Before my husband lets her in, he sees that she seems to have carried something to the door with her… she complies gladly when he requests she hand it over and suddenly I hear a yell. “AAH! Poop!!” and I see him THROW something out the door. I am doubled over with hysterical laughter at my husband’s handling of the turd-sicle Nessa so generously handed over. Since then, its become a frequent issue, Nessa consuming the waste she and her brother deposit faithfully in the yard.
I know that this is a disgusting (not amusing, as my initial reaction indicated) issue that many owners struggle with. Turds (whether frozen or warmed by the sun) seem to be top on many dogs’ snack lists (cat or dog, they’re not picky). Many dog owners ask, “How can make this dog stop eating poop?”
We’ve all seen the products that pet stores market as magical solutions but these have never been proven effective.
Another explanation that runs the gamut is that coprophagy is secondary to nutritional deficiencies. Studies have shown that is not true. Coprophagy has its roots in the dog’s evolutionary ancestry. Wolves are known as predators, but they are also scavengers. Unlike most felines, wolves will eat a carcass left by another predator or dead from natural causes. They will also eat some types of vegetation or garbage. Coprophagy is a type of scavenging behavior observed in both pet dogs and wild wolves. The feces of herbivores appear to be especially desirous, but they will also consume cat feces as well as feces from themselves or other canines.
The best way to prevent your dog from engaging in this unsavory behavior is to limit his or her access to feces. I usually keep an eye through the window if I see Nessa slyly sniffing around in the grass. If I see her pause and really focus, I open the window and give a war cry that causes her to run to the door, as if shamed by her filthy habit! Best of luck to you all!