Dog eats poo. Pet owner gags. Dog eats poo again. Pet owner runs screaming from the room.
Yes, it’s disgusting. Yes, it’s potentially unhealthy. And, yes, it’s fairly common in the animal world.
A pup will eat his own poo for a number of reasons:
- He thinks it smells and tastes good. (Dogs are notoriously poor arbiters of taste.)
- He’s hungry.
- He may suffer malabsorption.
- He likes to keep his territory or bedding clean.
- He has fun playing with it. (This is especially true for dogs that are mouthy.)
- He’s bored.
- He knows that removing the evidence means no punishment for inappropriate elimination.
- He knows that fewer predators will give him grief if there is no physical evidence of his having been around.
There may be other reasons for routine coprophagy, as the condition is known. It can be hard to figure out why a dog chooses to eat poo, but if the problem persists, ask us about a remedy for this habit. What we do know is that it is normal behaviour for a wide variety of species — even if humans are revolted by the very idea.
This post was originally written in 2012