Coprophagia can be caused by a physical need or an emotional compulsion. Coprophagia dog treatment can either be diet adjustment, medical treatment for ailments, or behavioral training. If there is a deficiency in the dog’s diet, consult with your veterinarian to find the best diet to suit the digestive needs of your dog. If the coprophagia seems to be compulsive, it may take intensive training to fix the problem.
Treatment for Possible Medical Causes and Diet Related Causes of Coprophagia
If the dog is suffering from a medical condition that results in ravenous hunger, coprophagia may become a problem.
Malabsorption Syndrome has been identified as a possible cause of coprophagia. In order to address this behavior, treatment of the malabsorption syndrome must occur. When the intestines are not functioning properly, the dog becomes severely lacking in nutrients. The dog’s body tries to make up for this by triggering a voracious appetite as a survival mechanism. The malabsorption issue must be addressed before the coprophagia will subside. Often it requires a biopsy or thorough veterinary testing to determine the precise reason for malabsorption, and the results may indicate a one of several possible causes, such as celiac disease, lack of digestive enzymes or cancer. If the dog has celiac disease, for example, the veterinarian will recommend a gluten-free dog food as a remedy for the lack of nutritional absorption. Eventually the dog may regain the ability to absorb nutrients, resulting in a normalized appetite, and potentially lessening the desire for the dog to eat feces.
Treatment for Behavioral Causes of Coprophagia
If the dog is experiencing a compulsive need to eat feces, there are ways to train them to avoid this behavior.
Odor Sprays are commonly recommended, because these sprays are designed to be applied to the feces directly, creating an odor that your dog finds far to offensive to desire. Bitter apple or a water and vinegar mix are known to be effective odor sprays.
Anti-Coprophagia Food Additives make the feces of your dog undesirable. Natural foods can have the same result, such as pineapple or zucchini.
Intensive Training may be necessary if the behavior is deeply compulsive. Avoid screaming and scaring the dog when they eat feces. To begin with, give them a stern, “No.” and lead them away from the poop. Repeat this anytime there is any indication of interest in the stool. If this does not dissuade them, seek help from a dog trainer for a more intensive approach. Every dog is different. Keeping a clean environment will help this form of training, and lessen the possibility of coprophagia.
Long Walks with a Wire Basket Muzzle are a very effective treatment tools for coprophagia. Increasing the dog’s exercise is a great way to reduce the anxiety that may lead to compulsive behavior. The wire basket muzzle prevents the dog from consuming anything while wearing it. Do not leave the muzzle on the dog when the threat of coprophagia is not around.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.