How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Feces

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How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Feces

Staff Writer · Apr 15, 2010

A dog eating feces is at greater risk for intestinal blockage and developing parasites, which can cause harm to both himself and the human(s) he lives with. While you shouldn’t try to get your dog to vomit any feces he’s already eaten, as that could cause more harm than good, you should try to modify his behavior so that he avoids eating the feces to begin with.

Limit Access to the Feces

The easiest way to stop your dog from eating feces is to limit his access to feces in the first place. Some dogs who live with cats will eat the cats’ feces. Put the litter box in a location where it’s easy for a lithe cat to access but not your dog. You can also stay on top of the litter and scoop it several times a day so that feces doesn’t sit long.

If your dog is eating his own feces, make sure you go outside with him when he defecates, a scoop and bag in hand. As soon as he’s relieved himself, issue a stern “no” in a low tone should he turn his head to sniff the feces and step in to scoop the feces away.

Use a Leash and Treat When Taking Your Dog Out

If using the “no” command and diving in to scoop up the feces isn’t enough to deter your dog from eating feces, take the dog out to relieve himself on a leash, This will give you better control over his behavior. The “no” command should be accompanied by a brief tug on the leash. Once he looks straight at you for a few moments instead of the feces, reward him with a small treat and say “good boy” in a sweet tone. Repeat as necessary.

Stick to a Regular Toilet Schedule

Dogs love regular schedules. You should take your dog out to go to the bathroom at 4 to 6 times a day, particularly after feeding. Your dog is more likely to defecate after eating or walking, so be ready to grab the feces for disposal at those times particularly. You can usually tell when he’s going to defecate instead of urinate because he will lower his bottom and squat.

Dogs that aren’t taken out regularly-including during the day when you may be at work or school-are more prone to go to the bathroom indoors, giving your dog access to his feces inside the house unsupervised. Make sure you or someone you know returns to your apartment during the day to take your dog outside at regular intervals.

Add an Additive to Your Dog’s Food

A dog eating feces actually finds the feces appetizing, believe it or not, because it retains some of the taste of the food he loved and ate in the first place. Look for dry food or a food additive containing monosodium glutamate. This chemical is safe for your dog to digest but becomes bitter after going through the intestines, so when it is present in the feces, it will make the feces far less appetizing for your dog.

If your dog eating feces is a frequent problem that even these tips do not completely eradicate, you might consider bringing your dog to a vet to have him evaluated for a disorder called coprophagia. Medication may aid you in stopping the behavior.

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