Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

adp_description_block353
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

A Tasteful Discussion

Like any companion or roommate, dogs — for all their love and cuteness—have habits we just don’t understand. One question dog owners often ask their pets: “Why? Why would you eat poop?”

 

default album dogs eat poop graph
 

When we polled* dog owners recently, most thought it was because a dog is lacking nutrients (49%), they’re anxious (43%) or they just think it tastes good (40%).

Dogs are significantly more likely to eat the droppings of another species (e.g., horses, rabbits) than their own.
 

But Why? Whyyyyy?

We held our noses and got to the bottom of the issue with the help of some experts.
 

Do Dogs Eat Poop Because They Lack Nutrients?

While those in our poll thought this was the number-one reason for the behavior, it has actually never been proven. “It’s a myth dogs eat poop because they’re seeking nutrients they aren’t getting. There’s no evidence to back this,” says 

Opens a new windowDr. Jo Gale, BVetMed CertLAS MRCVS, Senior Manager, Global Science Advocacy at Waltham Petcare Science Institute.
 

 

eatpoop fr dog

 

Do Dogs Eat Poop Because They're Anxious?

According to Opens a new windowDr. Tammie King, Applied Behavior Technical Leader at Waltham Petcare Science Institute, “It can occur where there is lack of environmental enrichment. You see this often in dogs who are kenneled and have a lack of opportunity to exhibit normal canine behavior.” So if you need another excuse to get out and play with your pooch, this is a good one.
 

 

Do Dogs Eat Poop Because of the Taste?

Believe it or not, this is the main reason dogs eat poop. Dr. Jo Gale explains: “Dogs are scavengers by nature and use any opportunity to eat what they can, when they can. They consider it a ‘tasty snack.’” Dr. Tammie King adds that “[Dogs eating poop] is a learned behavior. They’ve done it, enjoyed it, and that behavior is repeated.”

We love our dogs so much that we’re willing to trust our best friends on this. Maybe we should come out with a line of doggie breath mints though. Hmm.

 

eatpoop frdog
 

Is Eating Poop Harmful to Dogs?

“Ingesting feces from any animal increases potential for ingesting parasites and pathogens,” cautions Opens a new windowDr. James Serpell BSc, Phd Professor of Humane Ethics & Animal Welfare at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He went on to say, “[It’s] not something humans should ignore, but it's not worth getting too excited about it.”

All the experts we consulted said that if your dog occasionally eats poop, it’s nothing to be overly alarmed by. Just keep an eye on the frequency and their overall health. And as always, make sure they’re getting a nutritious diet and plenty of exercise and attention. If you have any concerns contact your vet.

Despite dogs liking the taste of poop, we’re going to stick with the healthy range of more traditional flavors offered in all IAMS dog foods.
 

*Surveyed U.S. dog owners, age 18+

Sample Size: n=201

Fielded May 8 to May 10, 2020

  • 4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet-mob

    adp_description_block160
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet

    Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.

     

     

    4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food

    1. Introduce the new food gradually.

    When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:

    • Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
    • Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
    • Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food

     

    At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.

     

     

    2. Watch your body language.

    Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.

     

     

    3. Don't give in to demands.

    Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.

     

     

    4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.

    Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.

    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
  • 4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet-mob

    adp_description_block160
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet

    Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.

     

     

    4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food

    1. Introduce the new food gradually.

    When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:

    • Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
    • Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
    • Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food

     

    At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.

     

     

    2. Watch your body language.

    Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.

     

     

    3. Don't give in to demands.

    Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.

     

     

    4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.

    Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.

    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet

Shop Dogs

Shop Cats

Copyright © Mars 2022, Trademark of Mars Incorporated and its affiliates