Coprophagy in the animal kingdom is not that rare. There is a love for feces and for four-legged friends of man. Why does the dog eat excrement? No one can give an exact answer, as there are many reasons, but no special scientific studies of this issue have been conducted. So we can only guess where this extravagant food addiction in dogs comes from.
The causes of dog eating excrement
Scientists have several thoughts on this matter.
Version one: it is believed that in this way dogs replenish their diet with the necessary trace elements.
Yes, the owners notice that animals that sit on the chain often eat their own excrement, especially if they forget to feed. In the wild, representatives of the family of dogs in a hungry time eat the feces of other animals. This is especially the case with weakened and sick individuals who can not afford to get their own food.
In addition, predators in nature, unable to extract useful substances from plant foods, eat excreta of herbivorous animals - a source of fermented greens. But why are pets, who are fed with a select, balanced diet, eat feces not only herbivores, but also the same predators and even humans?
Perhaps - this is the result of "genetic memory" - the need for such an addition to the main diet has disappeared, but somewhere in the depths of the canine organism sits its predatory ancestor, which requires such "vitamin".
Version two : coprophagy - the memory of the wild life.
Female wild animals eat the feces of the young, so as not to reveal the location of the lair. In addition, so the female maintains purity in the burrow. Puppies eat feces, imitating their mother, and this can eventually develop into a bad habit. Animals that are contained in the enclosure, eat their feces when the "dwelling" is not removed for a long time.
Version three : imbalance of microflora in the dog's digestive system.
This assumption is logical, since in the feces of the animal contains enzymes necessary for normal digestion, enzymes, hormones and microorganisms. This behavior often affects puppies that have not yet developed a digestive function.
Version four : Coprophagia is the result of stress.
Obviously, behavioral anomalies can cause psychological trauma, prolonged stress, or the desire to draw attention to one's personality. If the owner is too strict in raising his pet, eating a stool can be an attempt to hide the "traces of crime" when the animal has not endured to the street.
It is believed that eating a bunch, may entail the fact that the beloved owner removes the feces of his pet for a walk. To help the owner maintain order, the dog eats excrement and, thus, shows its love and devotion.
Version five : eating litter is the result of a lack of attention.
With a lack of attention, the animal tries to attract the attention of the owner by "deviant" behavior. Thus, it can be said that psychoemotional causes lie in the basis of coprophagy in animals.
Version Six : Coprophagia is a sign of submission.
In a flock of dogs, weaker individuals eat the feces of leaders, showing their submission to their authority.
Version seven : dogs just like the taste of excrement.
As a rule, this version sounds at interspecific coprophagy. Especially often dogs eat the feces of cats living with them in one apartment. Dog breeders note that some breeds of dogs are more prone to coprophagy. What is the reason? Perhaps in the ancestors of these animals. Some breeds were removed from the scavengers, despite the long selection work, the gene memory periodically causes these dogs to eat not only feces, but also rotten meat, rodent corpses, etc.
According to statistics, 16% of dogs of different breeds suffer from an unpleasant habit, 85% have such "strangeness" periodically. But there is one breed that will never become a feces - it's a dwarf poodle.
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Types of coprophagy in dogs
The types of coprophagy are different, depending on whose excrement the animal eats:
- autokoprofagiya - eating a dog own feces;
- Intraspecific coprophagy - when the dog eats the feces of animals of its kind;
- interspecific coprophagy - eating feces of other animals - cats, deer, horses, etc.
It is impossible to name the exact reason for such behavior, but such an anomaly causes not only concern and disgust among the owners. Eating feces can lead to serious pathologies in a pet.
Diseases due to coprophagy
Most often, the cause of infection with various parasites can be the litter of wild or domestic animals, infected with helminths. Especially dangerous for the health of dogs are feces of felines. They can become a source of toxoplasm, which in dogs cause damage to all organs, including the central nervous system. Feces can also become a source of serious viral diseases - hepatitis and parvovirus infection.
Possible treatment options
There is no specific algorithm for the behavior of the host animal, as there is no clear understanding of the causes of pathological behavior of the dog. Nevertheless, experienced dog breeders are advised to adhere to the following rules:
- Treatment of food with special enzymes that ensure better digestion or addition of probiotics in food, normalizing the composition of the intestinal microflora.
- Introduction in the diet of special vitamin-mineral complexes that can fill the lack of trace elements and vitamins.
- Adding to food substances or drugs that safely change the taste and smell of stool. One of the tools of this group is the drug Forbid. It is a food additive, which can only be purchased in a veterinary pharmacy under the prescription of a doctor. Its analogue by the way of action is the Deter tool. It can be purchased without a prescription. Both additives are completely safe for the animal, but their effectiveness is effective only for intraspecific coprophagy. Also used are various bitterness, seasonings and additives with a sharp, burning or sour taste. Long-term use, for example, mustard or red pepper will repel the desire of a pet to absorb excrement. Certain inconveniences create the need to handle all heaps of feces, both at home and on a walk.
- It is not recommended to punish a dog for a fault, because shouting, punishment, can provoke stress or fix such addiction because of fear of punishment or desire to please the owner.
- Do not rush to extremes and ignore the behavior of the dog. Such tactics can work only if coprophagy tries to attract the owner's attention. In this case, the encouragement to the animal that performs the command and leaves the heap will work more likely.
- The most effective tactic is concealment. If the owner will clean the tray or clean up excreta in time, the problem itself will disappear.
- The prevention of eating stool is a mechanical obstacle - a muzzle. If the dog can long and comfortable feel in the muzzle, then you can wear it before walking and walking the dog in it.
- Products that can cure an animal from coprophagia are: pumpkin seeds, pineapple, mint, anise, papaya, etc. To prevent the dog from eating feces for satiety, it is necessary to feed it 2 times a day.
- You can just wait. As a rule, in puppies coprophagy passes to a certain age, etc.
From practice it became clear that the most effective method of stopping coprophagy is a combination of encouragement 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 a walk.