WHY DO DOGS EAT POOP & HOW TO STOP IT
The medical term for dogs eating poop is Coprophagia.
There are many reasons proposed across the Internet for why dogs eat poop that range from the dog being bored, to being under stress, to learning the behavior from it’s mother, and a few dozen other reasons that are vague and not very helpful if you are trying to get your dog to stop eating poop. Too many possibilities.
While all these reasons may have a slim thread of possibility I’m going to forgo listing every possible cause and suggest that if you understand the primary thing that motivates a dog to eat poop you will be better equipped to find a practical solution to stop your dog from eating poop.
Dogs are primarily carnivores, that are opportunistic scavengers in the wild. Their Mitochondrial DNA, that determines what they are designed to eat and their energy pathways, is 99.8% identical to the 25,000 year old Gray Wolves they are direct descendants of, and because their stomach acid can go as low as PH 1 when digesting food their system can pretty much neutralize the harmful aspects of anything they eat, including rotting carcasses, or poop, so at least you need not worry too much about harmful effects to the dog from Coprophagia.
Dogs are designed by Mother Nature, first and foremost, to find food and eat it. They use their highly developed sense of smell, through which a dog gets most of its information, to determine what they can and should eat. Dogs are primarily designed to recognize animal sourced protein as their primary, and preferable food source.
This is a problem if you are a manufacturer of most of the dry kibble dog foods made these days because that are filled with cheap high glycemic carbs like grain, white and sweet potatoes, and other fillers, and they use high percentages of less expensive vegetable protein to replace expensive animal sourced protein. How are you going to fool a dogs nose into believing that it should eat that stuff?
The solution came in the form of concentrated synthetic meat flavors that could be mixed into the bag of stuff they knew the dog wouldn’t eat unless it were starving. This got the dogs to eat the unappetizing combination of this stuff but it created two problems, both which lead to a dog eating poop.
First problem was that these dry foods were not nutritionally well balanced despite falling within acceptable AAFCO minimums and maximums for certain vitamins because they do not set a standard for balancing the nutrients to each other and there are basically seven nutrient pairs that need to be balanced to each other. So over time it is highly likely that eating the same dry food over and over will create a vitamin or mineral imbalance which will cause the dogs nose to seek these minerals out wherever it can find them, and poop is one place that some of these things can be found.
The second problem is that the synthetic appetite stimulants are not neutralized by the dogs digestion and therefore end up in the poop. This has the same effect on the poop as it had when they added it to the pile of carbohydrates the dog wouldn’t normally eat. It makes the dogs nose think it is food to be eaten.
THE SOLUTION TO DOGS EATING POOP
1) Feed a diet that is grain and potato free and high protein (30% to 40% with over 90% of the protein being animal sourced protein) and balanced nutrition to prevent a nutrient imbalance.**
2) Feed a food that is nutritionally enhanced with Selective PREbiotics, Encapsulated PRObiotics, and Digestive Enzymes to produce and maintain a healthy gut where the absorption of vitamins and minerals takes place.**
3) You will still need to be vigilant when walking your dog near poop that is full of synthetic appetite stimulants, which you won’t know until he tries to eat it, because there are lots of dogs eating that stuff. But at least you won’t be chasing your tail trying to decide which of 36 possible reasons your dog is trying to eat poop occasionally.
** Brothers Complete Dog Food is one possibility