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Coprophagy in Dogs (eating feces)

General Information

Many dogs develop the unpleasant habit of eating feces. In some animals, it becomes almost compulsive behavior. These pets eat not only their own feces, but also those of any other animal.

Several theories have attempted to explain this behavior. Among possible causes are boredom, too much confinement, lack of certain enzymes in the digestive system, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and neuroses.

Coprophagy usually does little harm except transmission of intestinal parasites and fecal bacteria, which may cause tonsillitis or intestinal upset.

Important Points in Treatment

In some pets, nothing seems to stop this behavior. However, here are a few suggestions that may help:

1. Remove the feces from the premises daily. Prevent access to cat litter boxes.

2. Do not confine your dog to an area where it has bowel movements.

3. Provide regular exercise for your pet.

4. One or more laboratory stool examinations may be required to rule out hidden causes.

5. Provide your veterinarian with an accurate description of the pet's current diet, including snacks.

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur:

* There is blood in your pet's stool.

* Your pet's bowel movements are abnormal.

* Your pet's general health changes.