Coprophagy in the animal world is not uncommon. There is a love of excrement and the four-legged friends of man. Why does a dog eat excrement? No one can give an exact answer, as there are many reasons, but there has been no specific scientific research on this issue. So we can only guess where such extravagant eating habits in dogs come from.
Reasons for eating dog excrement
Scientists have a few thoughts on this.
Version one: it is believed that in this way dogs replenish their diet with essential trace elements.
Yes, the owners notice that animals that sit on a chain often eat their own excrement, especially if they forget to feed them. In the wild, representatives of the family of canids in the hungry time eat the feces of other animals. This is especially true for individuals who are weak and sick, who cannot hunt for food.
In addition, predators in nature, unable to extract nutrients from plant food, eat the excrement of herbivores - a source of fermented greens. But why do pets who are fed with selected, balanced food eat feces not only of herbivores, but of similar predators and even humans?
Perhaps - this is the result of "genetic memory" - the need for such an addition to the basic diet has disappeared, but somewhere in the depths of the dog's body sits his predatory ancestor, who requires just such "vitaminchchiki."
Version two : coprophagy - the memory of wild life.
Females of wild animals eat calves in order not to reveal the location of the lair. In addition, the female maintains cleanliness in the burrow. Puppies eat feces, imitating their mothers, and this may eventually develop into a bad habit. Animals that are kept in an open-air cage eat their feces when the “dwelling” is not cleaned for a long time.
Version three : an imbalance of microflora in the dog's digestive system.
This assumption is logical, since the animal's faeces contain enzymes, enzymes, hormones and microorganisms necessary for normal digestion. This behavior often affects puppies who have not yet developed a digestive function.
Version four : coprophagy - the result of stress.
Obviously, behavioral abnormalities can cause psychological trauma, prolonged stress, or a desire to draw attention to one’s person. If the owner is too strictly raising his pet, then eating feces may be an attempt to hide the "traces of crime" when the animal has not reached the street.
It is believed that eating piles may entail the fact that the beloved owner removes his pet's feces for a walk. To help the owner maintain order, the dog eats excrement and, thus, shows his love and devotion.
Version five : eating a litter is the result of a lack of attention.
With a lack of attention, the animal is trying to "deviant" behavior to attract the attention of the owner. Thus, it can be said that psychoemotional reasons underlie coprophagia in animals.
Version six : coprophagy - a sign of submission.
In a pack of dogs, weaker individuals eat the feces of the leaders, showing their submission to their authority.
Version Seven : dogs just like the taste of excrement.
As a rule, this version sounds interspecific coprophagy. Especially often dogs eat the feces of cats living with them in the same apartment. Dog breeders point out that some dog breeds are more prone to coprophagy. What is the reason? Perhaps in the ancestors of these animals. Some breeds were bred from canine scavengers, despite long selection work, gene memory periodically causes these dogs to eat not only feces, but also rotten meat, corpses of rodents, etc.
According to statistics, 16% of dogs of different breeds suffer from an unpleasant habit; in 85%, this “oddity” occurs periodically. But there is one breed that will never eat feces - this is a miniature poodle.
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Types of coprophagy in dogs
Types of coprophagy are distinguished, depending on whose animal excrement eats:
- autocoprophagia - eating a dog's own feces;
- intraspecific coprophagy — when a dog eats the feces of an animal of its own species;
- interspecific coprophagy — the consumption of the excrement of other animals — cats, deer, horses, etc.
It is impossible to name the exact reasons for such behavior, but such an anomaly causes not only concern and disgust with the owners. Eating feces can lead to serious pathologies in your pet.
Diseases due to coprophagia
The most common cause of infection with various parasites can be droppings of wild or domestic animals infected with worms. Especially dangerous to the health of the dog feces feline. They can be a source of Toxoplasma, which in dogs cause damage to all organs, including the central nervous system. Excrement can also be a source of serious viral diseases - hepatitis and parvovirus infection.
Possible treatment options
There is no specific algorithm for the behavior of the owner of the animal, as there is no clear understanding of the causes of the pathological behavior of the dog. However, experienced dog breeders advise to adhere to the following rules:
- Food processing with special enzymes that provide the best digestion or addition to food of probiotics, normalizing the composition of the intestinal microflora.
- Introduction to the diet of special vitamin-mineral complexes that can compensate for the lack of trace elements and vitamins.
- Adding to food substances or preparations that safely change the taste and smell of feces. One of the means of this group is the drug Forbid. It is a dietary supplement that can be purchased at a veterinary pharmacy only by prescription. Its counterpart in the method of action is the means Deter. It can be purchased without a prescription. Both supplements are completely safe for the animal, but their effectiveness only works with intraspecific coprophagy. Also use different bitterness, seasonings and additives with a sharp, pungent or sour taste. Prolonged use of, for example, mustard or red pepper will discourage the pet's desire to absorb excrement. Certain inconvenience creates the need to handle all the piles of feces, both at home and on a walk.
- It is not recommended to punish the dog for a crime, because shouts, punishment, can provoke stress or reinforce such addiction because of the fear of punishment or the desire to please the owner.
- No need to go to extremes and ignore the behavior of the dog. Such tactics can only work if the animal tries to attract the attention of the host with coprophagy. In this case, the promotion of an animal that executes the command and leaves the heap will work more likely.
- The most effective is the tactic of concealment. If the owner will clean the tray or clean up excrement in a timely manner, the problem itself will disappear.
- A warning to eating feces is a mechanical obstacle - a muzzle. If the dog can feel comfortable and muffled for a long time, then you can put it on before walking and walk the dog in it.
- Products that can heal animal coprophagous animals are pumpkin seeds, pineapple, mint, anise, papaya, etc. To prevent the dog from eating feces for saturation, it is necessary to feed it 2 times a day.
- You can just wait. As a rule, in puppies coprophagia goes to a certain age, etc.
From practice, it became clear that the most effective method of stopping coprophages is a combination of incentives for refusing to eat and timely cleaning of feces.
Patient and attentive attitude to the animal will help to gradually save him from eating feces, and the owner - from unpleasant moments during the walk.