It’s challenging to raise puppies, especially when you’re a new dog owner. From the cost to ensuring your new companion buddies are healthy, raising puppies often proves to be a nightmare. But why do mother dogs eat their puppy’s poop? This post will tell you why mother dogs eat their puppies poop and how to stop them.
Why Do Mother Dogs Eat Their Puppies’ Poop?
Mother dogs eat their puppies poop to ensure their “den” is spotless and protect their puppies from predators who follow their poop smell.
Generally, mother dogs eat their puppies poop continuously until they are weaned and start having an appetite for solid food. Usually, they are also leaving the den to go through its natural process(defecate).
Even though mother dogs stop eating poop after the puppies are grown, the puppies continue the habit since it’s what they’ve learned. Sometimes it’s just the puppy’s curiosity that makes them pick on poop eating behavior.
The best way to make puppies stop eating feces or poop(coprophagia) is not to react. Why? Because if you respond, they’ll be curious to know why you don’t want them to eat it, which may lead to them going back to the behavior. Ensure you clean up your puppy’s poop so that they don’t eat it.
Other Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop
If your dog starts eating poop, then you should probably contact and consult a vet to check and possibly rule out problems like:
- Fewer nutrients in the diet and calories
- Malabsorption syndromes
In many instances, Man’s best friend(dogs) start eating poop because of environmental stress or some behavioral triggers like:
- Isolation: Studies have proved that man’s best friends isolated in kennels or sometimes in the basement will eat poop most of the time compared to dogs that interact with people most of the time.
- Restrictive confinement: Bering confined in a small place can cause challenges, especially for dogs. You can’t fix dogs’ eating poop problem by enclosing them in small areas.
- Anxiety: This is mainly due to a dog owner using harsh punishment when training his dog in new house behaviors. This theory suggests dogs eat their poop to hide the evidence to avoid being punished more, but they are still punished.
- Attention-seeking: Sometimes, dogs decide to eat their poop to trigger humans reactions while at the same time seeking attention. So if you notice your dog eating poop, don’t give them the response they need, and hopefully, they’ll stop.
- Inappropriate association with food: Normally, when dogs are fed close to their feces, they connect between the food odors and poop and sometimes won’t tell the difference.
- Scenting it on their mothers: In some instances, puppies get confused by smelling fecal odor, mainly on their mother’s breath after the mother has eaten them. This will confuse the young ones on the smell of food and feces, and hence they’ll continue with their bad habits.
- Living with a sick or elderly dog: There are times when mother dogs find themselves eating poop from weaker immune dogs, especially when they have many dogs. Scientists say that this is a way dogs use to protect the pack from any danger like predators.
How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop
Dog owners and veterinarians have seen some developments in how dogs handle themselves. Let’s look at them:
- Vitamin supplementation: There’s a theory floating around that dogs eat feces mainly because they lack some vitamins in their diet. To be precise, Vitamin B is the primary suspect nutrient many scientists think dogs are lacking. This was discovered way back in 1981 when scientists identified fecal microbial activity in one research while the others discovered other nutrients missing.
- Enzyme supplementation: The dog diet is primarily rich in carbohydrates but not rich in meat-based proteins or sometimes even fat that was initially the ancestral diet of dogs. Whereas some people have been lucky using meat tenderizers, some haven’t had much success.
- Taste-aversion products: Just as stool eating is disgusting to humans, tastes and smells extremely disgust dogs. That’s why there are poop eating deterrents added to treats and food to make the produced poop less appealing for dogs. Poop eating deterrents consist of camomile, pepper-plant derivatives, monosodium glutamate, garlic, yucca, and parsley.
Perhaps the best way to make your dog desist from eating poop is through training and environmental management like:
- To ensure the dog’s living area is sparkling clean. This includes the yard so that there are no feces for him to consume.
- If you happen to have a cat, ensure the litter box is out of the dogs’ reach or cleaned.
- Supervise your dog so that you can pick up the poop before he tampers with it.
- Your dog will require training, including him learning commands like “leave it” or “come.” You’ll have to ensure the dog comes to you after relieving himself, but you’ll require a treat for this method to be effective. It would help if you were not harsh during training so that the dog can slowly abide by your command.
Facts About Dogs Who Eat Poop
When you notice dogs or puppies start to eat poop, know that it’s part of their learning process and, sometimes, exploring the world around them. Some puppies will instantly be satisfied just by smelling it, but others will have to dine. It’s a little bit like human children who want to put everything in their mouths.
An interesting fact about dogs is that they don’t like poorly and softly formed poop; they want hard ones. I know it’s strange, but that’s what they find appealing, tasty, and easy to gulp down their throat. There’s a study by Hart which shows observations of why dogs eat poop. Let’s find out:
- Dogs eating poop is primarily common in multi-dog households. However, in single-dog homes, just 20 percent of man’s best friends ate poop, while in houses with three dogs, the percentage was 33.
- It’s easy to train poop eaters house dogs compared to other dogs.
- Female dogs eat poop more than male dogs.
- Dogs that eat poop prefer a day or two long poop. Their percentage is 92.
- 85 percent of dogs that eat poop prefer those of other dogs compared to theirs.
- Greedy dogs who mostly steal food from the dining table eat poop.
How Long Will, a Mom Dog, Continue to Eat the Puppies’ Poop?
Mom dog will continue to eat their puppy’s poop for up to three weeks. This is because as puppies grow, they stop drinking less of their mother’s milk and start more puppy food and drinks. Introduce your puppy to food when three to four weeks have elapsed to prevent the mother from eating their puppy’s poop.
The mother dog stops eating puppies poop because it no longer leaves a strong smell that attracts predators or prey. It might also be because the mother doesn’t like their poop anymore. After all, they no longer drink her milk but instead eat puppy food. Sometimes, she doesn’t have to clean by clearing poop as she is not nursing the puppies anymore.
When the mother dog stops eating the puppy’s poop, it means that the place will be dirty, and someone needs to chip in and help out. Well, the duty transfers to the breeder or you and the owner. You have to consistently clean the poop so that the puppies don’t pick up the behavior.
Is Poop Eating Poop Normal for Dogs and Puppies?
Yes, for animals like Rabbits, eating poop is normal. They do so in acquiring essential nutrients that they might be missing in their diet. Moreover, if you stop rabbits from eating poop, they will have health problems, and their young ones will not grow well. Thankfully, dogs do not need nutrients from poop as urgently as rabbits do. However, it’s just a natural behavioral stage that they must go through.
Mother dogs lick puppies to encourage them to get rid of and clean up their poop by consuming them for three weeks after birth. Puppies will also eat poop from other dogs, their own, or even other cats because that’s what they were taught.
Some dogs find goose droppings and horse manure exciting and appealing. Even though eating their poop is harmed, eating from other animals will cost them their health. This is most likely to happen when the faces they eat are contaminated with toxins, parasites, and viruses.
The harsh reality is that dogs will always eat poop until they undergo a particular stage in life. Even though we love our dogs, we must accept that cannibalism is a reality we must face cautiously.
However, all is not lost as there’s something you can do—keep a watchful eye and pay close attention to your mother dog and puppy’s moves. If you notice any aggression, separate the puppies from the mother and seek advice from a vet.