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Question
Posted by: El | 2012/02/26

Dog eating " pooh" 

We have a dog that is now 12 years old and for past few years eat its own ''poo" , which is obviously disgusting. We now have a Labrador, 4 years old that has now started the other one''s behaviour! They will often eat it fairly soon after being excreted but other times only after some time. Calling them away, distracting them, shouting, nothing seems to work. We do try to pick up and keep area clean, but obviously we cant always pick up immediately after it was excreted. What can we do or use to prevent it, change it or add to their diet to change this behaviour? Please help!

El

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi El, although poo eating (called Pica)is often thought to be a symptom of a lack of something the dog needs, it is more likely to be a psychological problem. However, due to your older dogs age, I would suggest talking to your vet and perhaps trying to put the older dog onto a senior diet to make sure there are no deficiencies present. At the same time, there are specific enzymes that you can get from the vet to add to the food that apparently make the stool taste disgusting (although i have not tried personally!). Another old wifes tale that works with some dogs is to grate up pineapple. and add a bit to the food - this apparently has the same effect.

The younger dog is simply mimicking the older dogs behaviour, which is not unusual.

As this is normally a symptom of psychological behaviour and is usually linked to boredom and/or frustration/stress, I would suggest you also look at this side of things - make sure the dogs are getting out for a walk on a regular basis (keep on lead so they cant eat another dogs stool - supply nice interesting chew toys such as large sized rawhide bone (you can even smear a little peanut butter in the cracks, organic better, as large amounts of pbutter can be toxic). Invest in various types of Kongs and put their daily food in these. On my free www.friendsofthedog.co.za site there are two articles that will help: 50 Ways with Kongs and Chewing and Toys. These will give you some good ideas on this topic.

Your next step is pure and simple - management. Work out when the dogs eliminate and pick it up. this has become a habit and each and every time the behaviour happens it is reinforced.

Your last option, which I really dont like but is sometimes necessary, is dog wears a basket type muzzle. As the dog cant eat and drink, it really is not an option for long term, but if you are there to supervise, can be brought in to prevent the behaviour from happening.If you have a helper in the home, this is an area they can help with.

What I would also suggest is that when you figure out when they eliminate, you go outside with the dog, watch the behaviour, and the second the dog is finished, call it, praise lavishly and offer a food treat. This is not to be done on an isolated occasion, but each and every time the dog eliminates.

The above need to all be done at the same time, and as with any habit, it does not change overnight, it takes time.
Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

4
Our users say:
Posted by: scotty | 2012/03/05

Hi, you can add the grated pinapple to the dogs food, or even enzyme''s that can be bought from the vet. However, if you are going to the trouble of putting on top of the poo, why not rather just pick it up and eliminate the possibility of the dog eating it in the first place.

Your question as to whether or note a vinegar/water mixture works with helping to toilet train. Yes it does as the majority of house hold cleaners contain ammonia which is found in urine. If you additionally put on some drops of pure citronella oil on the cleaned area it does deter the dog. However, what is very important is to retrain the dog where toilet etiquette is concerned and also to look at the reason why the dog is eliminating inappropriately. Thks S

Reply to scotty
Posted by: Ron | 2012/03/01

Give the dog a bone.

Reply to Ron
Posted by: WB | 2012/02/29

Hello There! I was reading through some posts and randomly stumbled across yours. They had a spray on Expresso a month or so back that you could use to make doggydoo unappetising. They also discussed something to add to the diet so that the smell puts the dogs off.
I was wondering ... if vinegar is used to get rid of flies and ants etc, can it be used on doggydoo to repel them from eating it afterwards? Curious about that one.
I have read somewhere that you can mix vinegar and water and spray your floors with it to stop pups from urinating inside. Do you think this really works?

Reply to WB
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2012/02/28

Hi El, although poo eating (called Pica)is often thought to be a symptom of a lack of something the dog needs, it is more likely to be a psychological problem. However, due to your older dogs age, I would suggest talking to your vet and perhaps trying to put the older dog onto a senior diet to make sure there are no deficiencies present. At the same time, there are specific enzymes that you can get from the vet to add to the food that apparently make the stool taste disgusting (although i have not tried personally!). Another old wifes tale that works with some dogs is to grate up pineapple. and add a bit to the food - this apparently has the same effect.

The younger dog is simply mimicking the older dogs behaviour, which is not unusual.

As this is normally a symptom of psychological behaviour and is usually linked to boredom and/or frustration/stress, I would suggest you also look at this side of things - make sure the dogs are getting out for a walk on a regular basis (keep on lead so they cant eat another dogs stool - supply nice interesting chew toys such as large sized rawhide bone (you can even smear a little peanut butter in the cracks, organic better, as large amounts of pbutter can be toxic). Invest in various types of Kongs and put their daily food in these. On my free www.friendsofthedog.co.za site there are two articles that will help: 50 Ways with Kongs and Chewing and Toys. These will give you some good ideas on this topic.

Your next step is pure and simple - management. Work out when the dogs eliminate and pick it up. this has become a habit and each and every time the behaviour happens it is reinforced.

Your last option, which I really dont like but is sometimes necessary, is dog wears a basket type muzzle. As the dog cant eat and drink, it really is not an option for long term, but if you are there to supervise, can be brought in to prevent the behaviour from happening.If you have a helper in the home, this is an area they can help with.

What I would also suggest is that when you figure out when they eliminate, you go outside with the dog, watch the behaviour, and the second the dog is finished, call it, praise lavishly and offer a food treat. This is not to be done on an isolated occasion, but each and every time the dog eliminates.

The above need to all be done at the same time, and as with any habit, it does not change overnight, it takes time.
Good luck

Reply to Dog Behaviour Expert

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