What’s NOT for Dinner

5 Aug




Many of my clients have asked me, “Do you know of any natural remedies that will stop my dog from eating poop?” Why, yes I do!


Coprophagia – a.k.a. poop-eating – sounds disgusting to us, but it’s a natural part of puppyhood. A mother dog cleans her newborn puppies’ rear ends to stimulate them to poop, then eats it to keep the “den” clean. Her handsome-young-man-arms-air-pushing-away-as-if-to-say-just-stop-conversation-closeup-portrait-looking-shocked-35843399behavior comes from a natural instinct to keep predators from being drawn to the scent. For dogs that aren’t mothering, though, poop-eating is a problem.
It may result from a dietary deficiency, so the first thing I do is ask the owner about the nutritional quality of the pet’s diet. Packaged pet food from the grocery store is usually full of cheap fillers such as corn, soy, wheat, by-products or “meat meal”. Switching your pet to a real meat-based diet makes a huge difference, and adding probiotics to your dog’s food can also help.

For a natural deterrent, try feeding your pet some crushed pineapple. It has an enzyme that, when digested, makes poop taste gross to a dog. Chopped parsley is another good deterrent. Before cleaning the dog poop out of your yard, put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a pile – it will make Fido think twice about eating it. (I’ve also heard of using hot sauce for the same purpose.) If your dog raids the litter box, add something bitter to it. A product called Bitter Apple works well, or you can make your own bitters spray by mixing 2 cups of lemon juice with one cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Be consistent with whichever method you choose, so that your dog learns that poop always tastes bad.
There are also natural products on the market that you can mix into your dog’s food, such as “S.E.P.” (“Stop Eating Poop”), which is made by the company Solid Gold. Another natural product, made by NaturVet, is called Coprophagia Deterrent.

For some dogs, it seems to be a behavioral problem, such as compulsively eating their own poop, getting into the litter box, or foraging around the horse barn. This habit is not only gross, but also dangerous – for instance, most horse de-wormers contain the chemical Ivermectin, which can cause neurologic toxicity in collies.


You can change this behavior by teaching your dog the command to “Leave it”.  Keep a pocket full of healthy treats with you, and if your dog approaches any poop, say the words “Leave it”. If your dog ignores the poop, immediately reward him or her with a treat. You will need to be consistent and patient, but it does work.


By:  Brenda M. Tobin-Flood, Cert. C.N.









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