You have just taken your daily walk with your dog and while you have just finished praising his behavior to your neighbor, he starts eating from the litter box. What does he take? Coprophagia (a technical term for the act of eating dirty) is unpleasant but is not an unusual behavior in dogs.
The good news is that in general, this is not dangerous for your dog. The bad, you already know it, is that it is disgusting, dirty and that it gives your dog the worst breath imaginable. There is also the risk that your dog catches parasites if it eats the stools of other animals.
No one is really sure of the reasons for this behavior, but several are possible. It may just be that they like it. Dogs communicate with the world by their mouths. They like to wear sticks and they love to chew toys or bones.
Dogs also love things that smell strong and the excrement obviously falls into this category. Strange as it may seem, your dog is probably eating dejections to look at something that interests him.
It sometimes happens that puppies eat their own feces when they learn to clean. This happens because they are not yet sure where they can defecate or not. Afraid of having done something stupid, the puppies will “destroy all evidence”.
This kind of behavior can also happen with adult dogs that remain locked inside. The dogs often eat the stools of their puppies by cleaning them at their youngest age. This is perhaps a basic instinct.
In the wild, eating the droppings of her cubs would have served to lessen the attention of a possible predator on its scope.
One of the most common theories about this behavior is to think that dogs compensate for certain nutritional deficiencies in their diet. Herbivorous feces may contain vitamins that do not fit into your dog’s usual diet.
Cat food is rich in protein. So cat litter can attract your dog. You must imperatively and quickly discourage this behavior because cat litter can be toxic to your dog.
To solve this problem, the best thing is to simply pick up your dog’s stool and manage a right garbage disposal after he has made his needs. Some suggest sprinkling pepper, Tabasco or paraffin on stools to give them a “bad taste”. There are also additives for your dog’s food that taste good when ingested but that become bitter when digested so that the feces become inedible.
Unfortunately, these methods are not effective for all dogs. Generally, to manage coprophagy, the best solution is to be gentle but firm in discouraging this behavior. Be above all constant in your discipline.
Do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian who will detect any additional nutritional needs of your dog.