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sandgrubber

Why dogs eat poop

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Roova   

I'm not so sure.  Is asking dogs owners the best way to conduct a 'scientific study' about this? Sometimes it's the environment dog owners set up for the dog which contribute to the problem. 

 

I kind of prefer this article on why a dog might start eating things it shouldn't and how to help break the habit..

 

https://issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_september_2015_online_version/30

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I guess the fact that LH levels in de-sexed dogs can be 30 time higher (due to lack of feedback from the gonads) rendering them to guzzling eaters, in combination with kibble where the production process renders important amino acids indigestible for dogs (google Maillard reaction), is a more plausible explanation. For de-sexed dog used to kibble, poo from another dog fed with kibble is still kibble, so why wouldn't they eat it.

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@talking dog can i see this study?

 

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We had a challenge with T1 eating poop while on Meals for Mutts salmon. Switched her off that, and she stopped eating her poop. I haven't worked out the particular cause but my suspicion was the crude protein count (20%) was pretty low for what I usually have her on (around 25-30%, she is an active girl). Haven't had any repeats since we dropped MfM and kept an eye on the crude protein levels.

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19 minutes ago, Thistle the dog said:

@talking dog can i see this study?

 

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We had a challenge with T1 eating poop while on Meals for Mutts salmon. Switched her off that, and she stopped eating her poop. I haven't worked out the particular cause but my suspicion was the crude protein count (20%) was pretty low for what I usually have her on (around 25-30%, she is an active girl). Haven't had any repeats since we dropped MfM and kept an eye on the crude protein levels.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255690889_The_Maillard_reaction_and_pet_food_processing_Effects_on_nutritive_value_and_pet_health  

 

For me it is pretty obvious - just compare the weight of kibble you have to feed with raw: although raw contains 70% - 80% water, while the kibble has only 10%, you still feed the same or even higher kibble mass. The only positive side effect with kibble is that - assuming it doesn't create a running poo - the poo is bigger thus helping to empty the anal glands (if it is firm enough). If you really rely on kibble, add eggs or sardines as they have a high lysine content. If your dog has issues with the anal glands due to small poos while fed with raw, feed only once a day or sometimes even only every second day and of course enough bones for a firm poo. 

 

Edit to add: the crude protein count is not a good criteria - a lot of companies advertise with a high meat / protein percentage, ignoring that halve of it might be rendered indigestible for the dog.

Edited by talking dog

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In response to 'talking dog' - with regard to helping to empty the anal glands..... If feeding Vets All Natural adult complete mix... you will notice there are some full oats sitting on top of the complete mix once it is soaked... I always thought that perhaps these full oats had just missed being crushed but then Bruce Syme had an article about the anal glands... the whole oat soaked goes thru the dogs system and then out, this helps to clean out the intestines and also push to empty the anal glands. Pretty clever idea....
 

For others feeding raw who want to help the anal glands... the same can be done even just feeding the dog some corn kernals.... (not the cob) the corn doesnt break down hence ends in the poo again doing the job of helping clean the anal glands.

 

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@ alpha bet: I found it more likely to be an issue if you are an ambitious trainer and let's say you trained the dog 2 days in row, 3 sessions a day, and all the food are given via treats (I use raw, or hand made raw treats processed in a food dryer). So that's a little bit an unhealthy feeding pattern, bits and bits over a whole day leading to 2-3 small poos. So the third day I might feed all in one chunk, and might ad a bone / brisket in the evening. That solves the problem (if there would be one) normally for me.

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Maddy   
On 20/01/2018 at 1:33 PM, talking dog said:

I guess the fact that LH levels in de-sexed dogs can be 30 time higher (due to lack of feedback from the gonads) rendering them to guzzling eaters, in combination with kibble where the production process renders important amino acids indigestible for dogs (google Maillard reaction), is a more plausible explanation. For de-sexed dog used to kibble, poo from another dog fed with kibble is still kibble, so why wouldn't they eat it.

Perhaps in some situations, that might be the case but I have a coprophagic dog, myself, and he was doing it from the first day we brought him home. He and our other two dogs are raw fed and get a range of protein sources.

In his case, I suspect it was learned behaviour because he doesn't just eat it, he also likes to play with it.

If I had to guess, I'd say causes would likely vary. Besides the poo eater, I've had one other dog with pica and his preferred things to eat were rocks (but only gravel rocks) and bleach (which made cleaning a bit of a challenge). He was otherwise a very healthy dog with no other abnormal behaviours :shrug:

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7 minutes ago, Maddy said:

Perhaps in some situations, that might be the case but I have a coprophagic dog, myself, and he was doing it from the first day we brought him home. He and our other two dogs are raw fed and get a range of protein sources.

In his case, I suspect it was learned behaviour because he doesn't just eat it, he also likes to play with it.

If I had to guess, I'd say causes would likely vary. Besides the poo eater, I've had one other dog with pica and his preferred things to eat were rocks (but only gravel rocks) and bleach (which made cleaning a bit of a challenge). He was otherwise a very healthy dog with no other abnormal behaviours :shrug:

it might well be conditioned. When dogs are young, their digesting system is not so efficient, so their poo might have some valuable nutrients left and are attractive for them. And then they might grow into the habit. If you have an obsessive guzzler (which is more likely when the dog is de-sexed due to the LH level), then it is obviously more challenging to eradicate this habit. As long as the smell of the ingredients reminds them of their usual food they will go for it. They have actually less taste buts than humans (why would they have more, they don't chew like we do), so the decisive criteria is always the smell. All entire dogs fed raw that I know grew out of it once they got their real teeth.

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@talking dog sorry i meant this LH study you keep referencing. Not that the Maillard study wasn't an interesting read, it is always worth comparing and analysing different food preparation techniques to see how they affect the end result.

 

It's a perfectly good criteria for me that suspected low crude protein, my dog ate her poop (and lost weight). On higher crude protein levels, she doesn't eat poop and she keeps her weight on. She is healthy, her poops small and solid with a bit of give. They're pretty odourless, is anyone going to find it funny I'm proud of that? :laugh: My favourite aspect is after a couple of days they disintegrate into the dirt, meaning minimal yard cleanup for me.  I'm sharing my experience because it is doubtful poop eating is caused by one or two blanket reasons across all dogs and I figure if anyone is going to be interested about my dogs input and output (why is there no poop emoji????!) it's a dog forum. She doesn't eat poop anymore, even though she's both desexed and food obsessed. Win for me.   

 

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Maddy   
5 hours ago, talking dog said:

it might well be conditioned. When dogs are young, their digesting system is not so efficient, so their poo might have some valuable nutrients left and are attractive for them. And then they might grow into the habit. If you have an obsessive guzzler (which is more likely when the dog is de-sexed due to the LH level), then it is obviously more challenging to eradicate this habit. As long as the smell of the ingredients reminds them of their usual food they will go for it. They have actually less taste buts than humans (why would they have more, they don't chew like we do), so the decisive criteria is always the smell. All entire dogs fed raw that I know grew out of it once they got their real teeth.

The dog in question continued to do it long after his adult teeth came in. And although he is now desexed, it hasn't made the problem any worse. He shows no preference between poo from raw fed dogs and that from dogs fed kibble.

I think it's also worth pointing out that nutrient deficiencies are not the same thing as just an increased appetite. A dog of mine required medication that caused fairly severe polyphagia and despite being constantly hungry, he never attempted to eat poo (or anything else abnormal, for that matter). 

I think it's safe to assume that pica/abnormal eating behaviours are likely caused by either some behavioural issue (as can be seen in humans who feel a compulsion to eat abnormal things, and can trace that back to some triggering event) or actual nutrient deficiencies. I find it hard to believe that desexing a dog might increase its appetite so severely that it would spontaneously become coprophagic. The study you linked certainly doesn't draw that conclusion.

Edited by Maddy

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6 hours ago, Maddy said:

I find it hard to believe that desexing a dog might increase its appetite so severely that it would spontaneously become coprophagic. The study you linked certainly doesn't draw that conclusion.

I don't know whether my theory is correct - I never had the chance to conduct a comprehensive study about this, however, the 2 studies I cited (and many others) indicate that this can be a plausible explanation for some dogs eating poo. Obesity, respectively hunger in dogs can definitely change behaviour, can increase aggression and will let them eat things that they wouldn't without this underlying hunger feeling. Same for humans - our selection of food wrt quality and health is heavily impaired if we are feeling very hungry (I remember when my wife was pregnant). In addition, dogs don't have this yuk, ew, bah attitude when it comes to food - they don't see poo as yuk, it is just something else that might be eatable. And if it still smells somehow like the food they get anyway from their owner: why not trying it. Of course, my and your observations are just anecdotal, they aren't verifying anything.

Wrt nutrient deficiencies: of course, it is not the same thing as increased appetite. What I meant is that when dogs are fed with kibble, beside that this might cause nutrient deficiency due to the indigestible lysine, some ingredients will come out the other end still being what they were before. The dogs olfactory sense is superior, it is meant to draw the dog to food sources. So if they smell something they have been fed with before they might test it. IMO it is a combination of hunger / food drive and conditioning.

Another of my theories is linked to territorial behaviour. If two wolf packs are in competition for a territory, they might try to remove any markings of their competitors. Urine markings get sprayed over with own urine, and poo, well, they normally don't carry poo bags with them. So for dogs eating poo it might also be linked to a buried old instinct that had some value for their ancestors.  

 

Eta:

just had another idea regarding other parameters that can give poo a higher value, independent from whether it comes from a raw or kibble fed dog: I always found that the use of ABs here in Australia is shocking high. ABs will certainly render the digestive systems of dogs less effective, thus leaving more nutrients in the poo making it more attractive for other hunger driven dogs.  

Edited by talking dog

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Maddy   

But the studies don't suggest that at all?

The second one included a list of health issues associated with desexing, which included obesity. There was no suggestion at all that desexing, or diet following desexing, might lead to issues such as coprophagia.

Your theories seem to contain an awful lot of conjecture, being worded in a way that suggests that it is fact. For example.. you suggest wolves "might" eat the faeces of rival wolves. They either do or they don't, and if you're claiming coprophagy is a territorial behaviour, by way of such an example, you're going to need to provide some evidence.

 

As far as AB use goes, again, it sort of seems as if you're thoroughly determined to find some physical explanation for a behaviour that is already known to not necessarily be physical in cause.

My coprophagic dog's favourite poo comes from one of my other dogs. This dog has never been given antibiotics, eats raw meat from a local producer who is very strict about observing witholding periods and whose gut health appears to be excellent. The poo eater learned a natural behaviour from his mother and that behaviour was not limited when it should have been. End result is a dog with a compulsion to eat something that does not benefit him. In fact, contrary to the odd claim about worms in the original article, my coprophagic dog has picked up worms from eating poo. 

 

As an aside, did your pregnant wife get so befuddled in her hunger that she was snacking from the toilet? If she was, I suggest that in future, you may wish to supply her with food. I've had two children, myself, and when I felt hungry (which was no more severe than regular hunger), I got something from the fridge, not the bathroom.

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31 minutes ago, Maddy said:

But the studies don't suggest that at all?

The second one included a list of health issues associated with desexing, which included obesity. There was no suggestion at all that desexing, or diet following desexing, might lead to issues such as coprophagia.

Your theories seem to contain an awful lot of conjecture, being worded in a way that suggests that it is fact. For example.. you suggest wolves "might" eat the faeces of rival wolves. They either do or they don't, and if you're claiming coprophagy is a territorial behaviour, by way of such an example, you're going to need to provide some evidence.

 

As far as AB use goes, again, it sort of seems as if you're thoroughly determined to find some physical explanation for a behaviour that is already known to not necessarily be physical in cause.

My coprophagic dog's favourite poo comes from one of my other dogs. This dog has never been given antibiotics, eats raw meat from a local producer who is very strict about observing witholding periods and whose gut health appears to be excellent. The poo eater learned a natural behaviour from his mother and that behaviour was not limited when it should have been. End result is a dog with a compulsion to eat something that does not benefit him. In fact, contrary to the odd claim about worms in the original article, my coprophagic dog has picked up worms from eating poo. 

 

As an aside, did your pregnant wife get so befuddled in her hunger that she was snacking from the toilet? If she was, I suggest that in future, you may wish to supply her with food. I've had two children, myself, and when I felt hungry (which was no more severe than regular hunger), I got something from the fridge, not the bathroom.

you sure know what a theory is? And believe me, in some circles it is well accepted to draw conclusions based on scientific evidence from multiple, other studies put in context. And when one day an institution decides to follow up a theory by sponsoring a scientific study, the theory might be proven correct or gets rebutted.

 

For now, I apologize for not being in the position right now for delivering a scientific study that would verify or rebut my theories. I must have missed that this is mandatory here in this forum. 

 

Eta: 

Btw, if you think that none of my theories are valid for your dog's behaviour, and that there are no medical /digestive conditions whatsoever, and if the behaviour is unwanted, than there is a simple remedy that would solve it: training. (It actually works and is scientifically proven).

 

Edited by talking dog

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This  post from  ( talking dog )   reminded  me of  how  @Willem   would  talk about his ideas  &  theories.

 

   Maybe the same guy 2 years later  :laugh:  :laugh:

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Maddy   
On 1/24/2018 at 1:08 PM, PANDI-GIRL said:

This  post from  ( talking dog )   reminded  me of  how  @Willem   would  talk about his ideas  &  theories.

 

   Maybe the same guy 2 years later  :laugh:  :laugh:

I knew the posting style was familiar, but couldn't put my finger on it. You're probably right though, there have been plenty of miraculous reincarnations of various personalities, over the years. 

Oh, and hey, he's now a suspended user. Pandi wins the intehwebs for today!  :champagne::winner:<- Pandi, with intehwebs trophy

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m-j   
On 1/25/2018 at 5:27 PM, Maddy said:

 

Oh, and hey, he's now a suspended user. 

While I dont know why, it is a bit of a pity as he certainly stimulated discussion. He was a bit tiresome with the obsession of not desexing dogs and ignoring the consequences for the unwanted pups/dogs though.

Edited by m-j

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You can't see the deleted posts (as Willem) where he crossed the line. I'm not sad to see him go, again. 

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