There are actually very few side effects or symptoms of coprophagia, because it does not cause much damage. Nonetheless, many people find it repulsive to see a dog eating poop. Also, it is possible for dogs who are unprotected from worms to contract them from infested feces, but it is a simple and common practice for pet owners to keep them up-to-date on worm and parasite preventatives.
Bad Breath is a very common symptom of coprophagia, because the smell of the feces may linger in the dog’s mouth. This may be counteracted by brushing the dog’s teeth with toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs. The bad breath should fade away after the behavior has been successfully addressed.
Intestinal Worms are often found in the excrement of dogs. If the worms and larva are present in feces consumed by an uninfected dog, the dog may become infected. Because a dog prone to coprophagia has a slightly greater likelihood of contracting worms, it is important to safeguard them with a worm preventative, such as Heartgard Plus. Also have your dog checked twice a year by your veterinarian for worms.
Kitty Litter Sickness can occur if the dog frequently consumes feces mixed with kitty litter. The small stones used in kitty litter are engineered to clump together when wet. If a dog consumes too many of these stones they can interfere with digestion, causing severe diarrhea and vomiting, and possibly will require surgical removal, which is risky because they tend to be scattered throughout the intestines. Cat poop seems to be very attractive even to dogs that do not usually eat poop, so keep an eye on dogs when a litter box is nearby.
Human Disgust is a very common response to coprophagia, and can really interfere with the relationship between dog and human. It is difficult to want to snuggle with a dog whose breath smells like poop, especially after catching them in the act. Unfortunately, humans do not always know how to behave in response, and may make the anxiety of the animal worse by yelling and scaring the dog. Humans have even been known the euthanize the animal.
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.