One of Labrador owners’ most prevalent complaints tends to concern with their dog’s poop-eating habits. Imagine having some guests at your home, and then you notice your dog eating its own poop. If you are already wincing at the scenario, then wait. The worse is yet to come.
Imagine those long sloppy tongues that tasted poop in the morning, licking your face or hand. Well, that’s indeed gross. So, if you are one of those Lab owners who is irritated with this terrible habit of your dog, read ahead to find your solution to this problem.
What causes the Labradors to feed on their own poop?
To get rid of your dog’s nasty habit of poop-eating, you need to ascertain the exact cause. Here are some of the presumable causes of your dog’s poop-eating addiction. Before you go through them, remember that the solution is inherent in the problem itself.
- It is in their heredity.
Dogs were not always such domesticated animals. At a point in time, they used to be scavengers and lived in the wild. Consequently, they had to survive on whatever food they got after spending an entire day scavenging. However, as you know, uncertainty is the trademark of savage life. As a result, there were times when they didn’t get any food and survived by eating their feces, and that tradition is still continuing.
- As a way to evade punishments
Punishments do not work with dogs. Instead, they can lead your dog to develop such nasty habits. If you frequently punish your Lab for defecating indoors or make it rub its mouth on the mess, stop this practice today only. Otherwise, your dog will become anxious and stressed whenever it defecates inside the house. Consequently, it will resort to such methods as eating its own poop to erase its crime evidence.
- Enzyme Deficiency
With time, there has been a tremendous amount of change in the food habits of dogs. When they lived in the wild and scavenged animals, they used to have enzyme-rich food from their prey’s digestive systems. However, with their subsequent domestication, their eating habits completely changed. Today, they mostly survive on either processed kibbles or packaged foods. These dog foods often contain too many fillers and carbohydrates. Since your dog is not having proper digestive enzymes, its body is unsuccessful in absorbing adequate nutrition. Due to such a condition of enzyme deficiency, your Lab develops an unusual attraction towards its enzyme-rich poop.
- An issue with the Pancreas
One of the main reasons behind your dog’s poop-eating habit can be a disease called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Under this medical condition, your dog’s pancreas won’t secrete the essential digestive enzymes. Consequently, its body won’t absorb the necessary nutrition, and it will always feel hungry. Consult a vet immediately if you observe the following symptoms in your Lab:
- Loss of weight
- Voluminous stools
- Feces of grey or yellow color.
- Grumbling sounds in the stomach.
- Frequent passing of gas.
Sometimes, parasites like protozoa and worms may make your Labrador’s digestive system their home. Consequently, they may absorb the essential nutrients from the food your dog ingests. As a result, your dog’s body won’t get the required nutrition, and your pup will start starving and develop conditions like Coprophagy. To free your dog from these parasites’ shackles, you need it to provide some natural dewormers.
- Nutritional Deficiency
You may have discerned from the previous sections that there is a direct relationship between nutritional deficiency and Coprophagy. So, ascertain that your dog is presented with all the vital nutrients, especially minerals and vitamins. Otherwise, it will start craving for its poop, which contains all these nutrients. Besides that, ensure that the food you give is rich in hydrochloric acid. A lack of hydrochloric acid will cause indigestion in your dog. Consequently, its body won’t be able to break down the nutrients from the food. As a result, your Lab will starve and start eating its own feces.
This is the most apparent reason behind your dog picking up this nasty habit of eating feces. So, ascertain that your Labrador is fed well.
- To fight boredom
Labradors tend to be a very energetic breed. Therefore, it is important to exercise them enough to shed off their excess energy. Besides that, they are too intelligent. If you do not engage their minds and bodies in constructive work, they will get too frustrated. As a result, you will find them indulging in such undesirable behaviors like poop-eating.
- Puppy Exploration
Labradors tend to be very inquisitive creatures, especially when they are in their puppy stage. For dogs, nose and mouth are their ultimate tool for exploration. So, if you see your Labrador puppy eating poop, do not get tensed. This habit will go away as they grow up. However, some corrective measures (not punishments) will help your dog to get rid of this habit at the puppy stage itself.
Living in the wild has its own share of problems. Although there is freedom, there is a lack of security as well. To keep her puppies safe from predators, the mother dog had to clean up all her litter’s remnants. Such remnants included her pups’ feces. This drive for cleanliness still exists in the dogs, and eating feces is just a part of this drive. So, ascertain that your dog’s living area is clean. Otherwise, your dog will do the honors itself.
First of all, consult a vet before you plan to adopt any trick to deal with your dog’s poop-eating habit. There can be various medical reasons behind your dog developing this condition called Coprophagia. As you have observed in the above causes, there is a direct relation between Coprophagy and nutritional deficiency. Consulting a veterinary will help you to decide which dog food is suitable for your Lab. Besides that, they can also suggest some medicines if your dog got a problem in its pancreas or digestive system.
Apart from proper nutrition, you need to provide your dog with appropriate obedience training. Monitor its activities from the puppy stage itself. However, do not resort to punishments. They can have counterproductive reactions. Use positive reinforcement. Reward your dog’s good behavior and use weapons like ignorance or denial to rectify your pup’s bad behavior.
A nutrition-rich diet with effectual training will definitely mitigate this behavioral issue of your dog.