Many dogs eat poop
23% of dog owners have observed their dogs eat poop, and 16% say it is disgustingly part of their dog’s regular diet.
Have you ever seen your dog sniffing behind a bush and when you went to look, he had found a “delicacy” and started the first bite? I bet the answer is yes.
Wild dogs diet includes poop
A comparative study between free-ranging dogs and wolves in Ethiopia concluded that the diet of dogs and wolves was completely different. While wolves mainly ate rodents, dogs included a very varied percentage of ingredients, including fecal matter. Therefore, there was no food competition between wolves and dogs. The niches they occupied were different.
Specifically, 21% of the daily diet of Ethiopian dogs consists of human poop, making it the second most frequent dish on the menu. Being coprophagia is more than usual.
Human poop is a very nutritious option for dogs
A study conducted on African dogs concluded that the ingestion of human feces provided dogs with a high amount of protein.
And another narrates how the dogs licked the children’s asses and cleaned the towns of excrement. Reason, for which, they were not persecuted or hunted by the locals.
What happens if a dog eats poop?
A recent study found that there was a reservoir of parasites of the Dracunculus medinensis species, which were thought to have been eradicated, in dogs.
This study also reports that the diet of these dogs is rich in human excrement.
If a dog eats poop, they can ingest parasites and harm their individual health and public health.
The cleaning team
It seems clear that dogs have played an important role in the sanitation of the towns before the existence of the sewage system. This role could have led them to end up conquering our homes and hearts.
Why do dogs eat poop from other animals?
It could be that dogs find similar biological value in the droppings of other animals as they seem to find in human faeces.
On the other hand, due to the sewage system and the “zero” availability of human poop to be ingested, dogs could find an alternative to release a trait inherited from their ancestors.
Do wolves eat human poop?
Some scientists have suggested yes. Others that is not clear. There is no doubt that a larger number of studies are needed to elucidate this aspect.
Dingoes, which are canids that live in Australia and are closely related to dogs as well as displaying social behavior similar to wild dogs, seem to include droppings in their diet if reported.
Why does my dog eat his own poop?
With all that we have said, this unpleasant habit could be related to the genetic inheritance of domestic dogs from their wild ancestors, added to the unavailability of other types of excrement, such as humans.
However, it should be noted that, on many occasions, this habit hides a behavioral problem, generally related to poor education. For example, trying to teach the puppy not to relieve himself in the wrong place through punitive techniques or positive punishment.
On the other hand, a dog that eats its stool may, in addition to wanting to clean its environment, suffer from an anxiety disorder or boredom.
Folk remedies to stop your dog from eating poop
It would not be strange if you have heard that in order for your dog to stop eating poop, you have to sprinkle the poop with Tabasco or give him pineapple immediately after. These remedies seek to produce an unpleasant taste in the dog that is associated with the stool ingested so that they find rejection when eating the next one.
The truth of these remedies is that they are impractical, and there is really no clear evidence that they are a reliable and legal solution. Therefore, it will be better to understand the origin of this behavior and treat it appropriately, rather than follow the advice of the “park expert” without criteria.
The infallible remedy
Collect each of the stools that our dog makes. With this infallible remedy, we will prevent not only our neighbor from stepping on it, but also another dog from eating it.
Atickem, A. et al. 2010. Competition between domestic dogs and Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) in the Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. African Journal of Ecology, 48(2), 401-407.
Hart, BL et al. 2018. The paradox of canine conspecific coprophagy. Veterinary medicine and science, 4(2), 106-114
Herzog, H. (2020). Did Eating Human Poop Play a Role in the Evolution of Dogs?