Archive for March, 2011

Does your dog eat…..poo?

March 16, 2011

As a trainer, I have come to realize that there are a lot of dogs out there that eat poop!   And I have to say, it is probably one of the most frustrating things for a dog owner, however my clients have been able to concur this issue with the help of training. 

Here is a recent study I came across that I wanted to share based on Dr. Benjamin Hart’s  study with includes some interesting findings.

Benjamin Hart, DVM, PhD, DACVB, and distinguished professor emeritus at the University of California – Davis, addressed some of the more inexplicable behaviors of companion animals in his talk at the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) conference this year: “Why do they do that?   Why does my dog eat poop?

Coprophagia has grossed out and confounded many pet owners and veterinarians for a long time. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an effective way to stop dogs from eating their poop, although Hart did offer some interesting statistics on the topic.

He cited a recent, unpublished study that included information from nearly 1,500 pet owners with dogs that had been seen eating feces daily or weekly at least 10 times. According to the survey, the top five feces-eating dog breeds were the Labrador retriever (10.4%), golden retriever (5.8%), Basset hound (5.5%), German shepherd (5.3%) and Shetland sheepdog (4.7%).

About 10% of the dogs ate only their own stool, whereas 32% ate the feces of others, and nearly half of all dogs who ate feces didn’t care who it belonged to. “Most dogs ate any ol’ stool,” Hart said.

Other findings included:

Female dogs were more likely than male dogs to engage in this behavior (60% vs. 40%).
The behavior does not reflect poor den sanitation: 82% of dogs in the survey almost never soiled their own house.
Almost all dogs opted for fresh feces as opposed to aged feces.                  Neither behavior modification techniques nor food additives seemed to be effective in changing the behavior.

I have worked with dogs with this issue and although Dr. Hart’s study states that “Neither behavior modification techniques nor food additives seemed to be effective in changing the behavior”, I have to disagree.  I have had several clients with whom through training and behavior modification we have been able to stop Fido from consuming poo.  If your dog has a poo eating issue, don’t lose hope, WHATADOG is here to help!