Why did my dog just starting eating and playing with his poop??

by Jolene
(Hamilton, ON)

My dog is 5 1/2 months old and up until now he never did this...

One day I came home from work and found that he had rubbed his poop all over the carpet and played with it. I thought maybe it was because he was bored or I left him home alone.

Then it started happening during the night as well. He would get up and poop and play with it during the night before coming back to sleep with me.

Every time this happens and I find it, I usually yell his name and he runs to his bed for shelter.

I had a small feeling he was eating his poop because he smelt food in there. A friend told me to put pineapples in his food because it will make his poop taste horrible after the food's been through his system.

Unfortunately, I found him the next day eating the pineapple out of his poop. So that obviously is not the case.

Do you know why he just started doing it?

Thanks, Jolene

Hi Jolene,

Thanks for participating here with us! Coprophagia or poop-eating is a disturbing habit to us humans.

As far as the pineapple goes, here's a great paragraph I found on www.professorshouse.com...

"There is also some recent speculation regarding the added benefit of the digestive enzymes in the feces for dogs with a compromised digestive system. Much like dogs instinctually eating grass when they need to vomit because of too much bile acid in their stomachs, maybe some dogs instinctually eat their own feces to garner more digestive enzymes to aid in digestion. Hard to say and researchers do not have an answer on that one. However, one of the ‘old wives’ tales’ on stopping your dog from eating their own feces is to feed them pineapple with the thought that it makes their feces unpalatable. What is not considered by the old wife is that pineapple is a major source of bromelain – a fruit-based protein digesting enzyme. So by feeding the feces-eating dog pineapple, the instinctual need for the dog to supplement his diet with recycled digestive enzymes is nullified. The old wife decides that the pineapple makes the feces unappetizing and continues to feed it to him meanwhile his compromised digestive system is now working at top form. The old wife was right in application, just was a little off in the reason why the pineapple worked."

This behavior is something that is common in wild dogs and wolves, starting with bitches eating the feces of their pups to keep the den hidden. A domestic dog will often do this as well, at least until the puppies are 4 or 5 weeks old.

Another time this will happen is if a dog's diet is incomplete. They will "recycle" their food to try to get what is lacking. The same goes for a stray dog, who might do this because of a lack of food.

And like you thought, another reason for coprophagia is boredom. To combat this problem, try leaving more toys with them, spending more time with your dog, and most importantly, exercising him more.

If you need to go to work for the day, be sure to take your dog for a really good walk (or jog) before you leave. A tired dog does not get into trouble.

The best way to fix this problem? Make sure there are never any times when it may happen, and thereby breaking the habit! Crate train your dog, and put him in there with some toys while you are away and at night.

So making sure there's never feces lying around, plenty of exercise to alleviate boredom, and crate training - problem should go away within a few weeks at the most.

Good luck and thanks again!

Shannon Pennings

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I saw a product at the pet store for this. You add it to their food or water so it makes the poop taste bad. Its worth looking into.

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