Veterinarian Column: [Dog behavior problems] Can coprophagy be corrected?

by Alice's Dog & Catスタッフ

Problem behavior Can coprophagy be corrected?

Owners who bring their puppies to the veterinary hospital are asked how to correct coprophagia. I may be asked this question. In puppies, this condition often improves as they grow up, but it can recur into adulthood if proper training is not given. This time, we will explain in detail why dogs eat coprophagy and whether there are ways to correct it.

◎ Causes of coprophagy

① There are causes for an abnormal increase in appetite.

infected with parasites

Digestive and liver diseases

Endocrine diseases etc.

② Insufficient amount of food and nutrients

③ I get bored and end up eating while playing.

④When the dog eats, the owner makes a fuss and misunderstands that the dog will take care of him.

⑤Anxiety disorders such as separation anxiety

⑥ Stereotypic disorders caused by stress etc.

(In the case of puppies, causes ② to ④ and parasitic infection are possible causes.)

Problem behavior Can coprophagy be corrected?

◎ Countermeasures for each cause

① If there is a cause for an abnormal increase in appetite

If you are concerned about coprophagy, take your pet to a veterinarian and consult a veterinarian.

You will undergo a general physical exam and a fecal exam to check for any causes of an abnormal increase in appetite. Blood tests will also be performed if necessary. If a disease is found, priority will be given to treatment of that disease. When you come to the hospital, bring fresh stool with you so that the stool can be tested.

② If the amount of food or nutrients are insufficient

When puppies are young, they sometimes have problems with not getting enough food. Let's review the appropriate amount and frequency of meals according to the growth period.

It may also be lacking in nutrients. You may also want to try switching to a higher quality food.

③④ Eating out of boredom or while playing

・It is important to clean up immediately after defecating.

The best time to defecate is after eating, after exercising, and when you wake up. Don't miss this timing and be careful to clean up immediately after defecating. Also, if your dog defecates and eats during the night, try changing meal times or walking times so that your dog does not defecate until midnight.

・If you find your dog eating feces, never make any noise or scold him. If you make noise, your dog will think that you are playing with him or that he is paying attention to you.

・If the problem persists, try changing the smell, taste, and texture of your stool.

You can change the odor and taste by changing to a food with a different protein source or feeding your dog with supplements to prevent coprophagy.

Also, if you switch to a diet high in fiber, your stool will become dry and its texture will change, making it less palatable and causing you to stop eating coproecium. Please consult your veterinarian as there are high fiber diets available at veterinary hospitals.

⑤⑥ In case of anxiety disorder or stereotypic disorder

If the causes of ① to ④ are ruled out and you become abnormally obsessed with stool, you may actually be eating coprophagy because you are anxious or under severe stress.

If coprophagy is abnormal, behavioral therapy to relieve anxiety and stress, and in some cases, medication may be required. Consult your veterinarian.

Coprophagia cannot be cured.Before giving up, first understand the cause and take appropriate measures to address the cause. Also, the cause of coprophagia may be a hidden illness, so if you have any concerns about your dog's health, please consult your veterinarian.


Dog and Cat Treatment Guide