If you’ve got a dog with a penchant for poop, you know the struggle is real. Some dogs are drawn to it like a magnet! Whether Fido is rolling in it, stepping in it, playing with it, or eating it, your dog likes poo! It’s perplexing what the appeal could possibly be. After all, it smells terrible, and it makes an awful mess.
Ever been sitting on your couch when Fido takes a running leap straight for your lips only to discover he’s got a wicked case of “poop breath”? Or maybe you come home from work to discover Fido’s walked in some stinky treasures and tracked them all over your freshly cleaned carpet and furniture. Ah! The joys of dog ownership.
The Poop Appeal
Yes, our dogs love poop. While their fecal fascination makes little sense to us, there are valid reasons behind our dogs’ love of all things poop.
Here is a list of your dog’s favorite things about poo:
It tastes yummy.
Well, clearly this is a matter of opinion. “Yummy” would not top the list of adjectives that YOU would use to describe the feces of Fido or his friends.
There are a lot of reasons why dogs choose to eat poop. Many experts believe this behavior is deeply rooted in the origins of our modern canine companions. The wild dog had to hunt to procure sufficient food for him and his pack. He knew the meaning of true hunger. Sometimes it would not be possible for the dog to find an adequate food supply. Under these circumstances, poop would be a little something to fill his aching belly and provide a nominal amount of “nutrition” to the ravished dog.
Dogs also learn by observation. If a dog in your home watches another dog with a favorite poop eating habit, you increase the chances that the second dog is going to follow in the footsteps of the first.
It is also possible that since dogs are naturally animals that love to scavenge, any discovery of poop is exciting for him. While human beings find the presence of poop revolting, dogs feel quite differently. Since dogs possess olfactory senses that are 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than our own, they are able to separate the components of a whole into parts. Your dog might sense something very tasty buried in amongst the very…ummm…not so tasty. He’s not quite as discerning as you are, so he eats the whole lump to get to the delicious parts his nose tells him are present in the poop.
It gives me information.
Scent plays a powerful role in our dogs’ intense love of all things poop. Their potent sense of smell enables them to unearth critical information from a few simple sniffs. With just a cursory nosing around, your dog can uncover what type of animal is responsible for the poop as well as many of that animal’s habits and characteristics. From the Eau de Poop-fume of another animal, Fido is easily able to learn the region the animal is from, what he had for dinner, how healthy he is, and the many different places he likes to frequent. He can even tell you about the animal’s “roommates” or family members! Our dogs’ sense of smell is amazing!
Consider poop-sniffing the canine equivalent of e-mail. Other animals leave Fido messages, and he is every bit as excited to “read” them as you are when you receive a piece of mail from a favorite friend.
It makes me smell different.
Camouflage was an important part of the life of every canine in the wild. The wild dog needed to be very cognizant of hiding his “scent” and the scent of his pack in order to avoid becoming a predator’s next meal. Rolling in poop played a critical role in helping the wild dog to achieve his purpose.
Though our modern furry companions need not fear becoming a bobcat’s lunch, the instinct remains powerfully strong in them today. Our dogs continue to roll in feces and seem quite gleeful to do so. Who knows? Maybe they’ve actually acquired a “taste” for smelling like fecal matter. Could today’s canine chicks dig the poo-fume? Highly possible, and if so, a powerful motivator for the canine male.
It keeps me and my family safe.
Eating the feces of other animals was another means the wild dog had for deceiving predators. Animals seeking nourishment in the wild would look for signs of life, and those signs of life would include blood, urine, and feces. If the wild dog ate any trace of feces, whether it belonged to them or not, it was a powerful means of keeping their nesting ground neutral and would discourage predators from searching there for food.
My momma used to do it.
Since puppies are born without the ability to urinate or defecate on their own, their mother must lick them to stimulate the ability to do so. These conscientious, loving mothers then ate the waste products of their babies to keep their den clean and to eliminate the possibility of a predator discovering her vulnerable young. Since dogs do learn by observation, it is possible that your dog watched his momma eating his poop, and he’s decided he wants to be just like his hero when he grows up, so he starts to eat poop too!
A Dog’s “Doody”
If your dog loves his doo-doo, there are a few different things that you can try to help him overcome his favorite hobby.
It is important to note that not all dogs eat poop. The act of doing this is called coprophagia. There are many home remedies for trying to rid your dog of this gross habit. Unfortunately, most of them are simply urban legends. Some people have seen limited success in the reduction of their dog’s poop eating while others have seen no change at all. At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to give these methods a try! Nothing ventured; nothing gained.
Your vet can offer suggestions as to various supplements you can give your dog with the proposed intent of reducing his desire to eat poop. Among the best on the market today are Forbid, Potty Mouth, or Deter.
But the best method of prevention when it comes to eating in, carrying in, or rolling in poop is being swift in removing it as soon as you find it. Fido can’t play with what isn’t there!
We can’t deny it. Dogs love “doody”! If your dog is a poop-loving fool, consult your veterinarian for a recommended treatment plan. If all else fails, you’ll get some extra exercise dodging Fido’s eager kisses when he’s just finished spending some quality time with poop!