Don’t you just love it when you walk in on your dog munching on a steaming pile of their own poop? Isn’t that a lovely welcome? As much as we love our furry friends, their poop-eating habit is definitely one of the most unfortunate things they do.
If you’ve ever wondered what to put in dog food for it to stop eating poop, you’re one of many desperate pet parents. While there isn’t a single solution that will work for every pup, there are some things you can try to deter your canine from eating their own (or other dogs’) poo.
Why Does My Dog Eat Poop
Before getting into the details of how to stop a dog from eating poop, let’s determine why they do it in the first place. Sure, it’s not the most appetizing behavior, but there are particular reasons coprophagia—the scientific name for poop eating—is so common in dogs.
Believe it or not, some canines simply enjoy the way feces tastes. While there’s no particular explanation as to why they might like it, many experts believe that they can still smell traces of undigested food in their stool, which appeals to their sense of smell.
But even if they enjoy the flavor, it’s not the healthiest of diets. Poop can contain harmful toxins and parasites that can make your dog sick, so it’s not something you want them to be consuming ever.
In some cases, eating poop can signify that your dog lacks certain nutrients in their diet. If they’ve got vitamin and mineral deficiencies, they might crave things they wouldn’t normally eat—like poop.
But even those with well-rounded diets can still be tempted to sample some stool from time to time. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anything wrong with their diet. They might just be curious or have a powerful sense of smell.
For wild dogs, eating poop is a perfectly natural behavior. Their ancestors were omnivorous explorers who would eat just about anything they could find—including feces. The scarcity of food in the wild meant that they had to take advantage of every possible source of nutrition, no matter how unappealing to us it might seem.
Not to mention that mothers tend to clean the ‘nest’ by eating the feces of their young. This helps keep them healthy and free from diseases.
While our domesticated pups don’t have to worry about food scarcity, they still have those instinctual urges to eat fecal matter.
Pet owners often get frustrated when they see that their little friend has pooped all over the dog crate or in the middle of the living room. In some cases, they might even resort to physical punishment in an attempt to discourage the behavior.
This is something you should never do.
Sure, it might scare them off for a little while, but it could also make them more likely to eat poop to avoid potential punishment. Dogs are very adept at associating certain behaviors with negative outcomes, so if they think pooping will result in being hit or yelled at, they might start eating it instead.
Not having much to do can lead to all sorts of behavioral problems in dogs, including coprophagia. If they’re not fully stimulated, they might get restless and look for ways to entertain themselves.
If sinking their teeth into a turd sounds fun to them, then that’s probably what they’ll do. Boredom is often the root cause of many problem behaviors in dogs, so it’s essential to ensure that they have enough toys and attention.
What to Put in Dog Food to Stop Them From Eating Poop
Now to the central issue of preventing your dog from eating poop—what to put in their food? There are a few different options that you can test, but it’s important to remember that there is no guaranteed solution.
What works for one dog might not work for another, so you might have to try a few different things before you find something that works.
This is perhaps the best supplement to stop a dog from eating poop, as it will ensure that your furry friend gets all the nutrients it needs. A lack of vitamins and minerals can lead to an imbalance in its system, which, in turn, can make it crave things that it usually wouldn’t eat.
B vitamins are a fundamental group since they help support the nervous system. If your dog lacks these, it might start experiencing anxiety or stress, making them more likely to turn to coprophagic behavior as a way of coping.
If you’re not feeding your dog high-quality food, some essential nutrients may be missing from their diet—especially if it’s cheaper, grocery store-bought.
In some cases, it might even contain ingredients that can upset their stomach or cause constipation. This can result in many health concerns, including diarrhea and intestinal distress.
Digestive enzymes and probiotics can help to alleviate these problems by filling in the gaps in their diet. Bromelain and Papain are two examples of enzymes that can assist with the digestion of proteins, while Lactobacillus acidophilus is a probiotic that helps to maintain healthy gut flora.
How to Stop Dog From Eating Poop—Home Remedies
While supplements are often the most effective way of preventing coprophagia, you can also have a go at some natural remedies. These are usually safe to use and are often more affordable than commercial products.
How to make dog poop taste bad so your dog would avoid it? Meat tenderizers might be the answer. This is because they contain enzymes that can break down proteins and make them taste unpleasant.
Sprinkle a little bit of meat tenderizer on your dog’s food and see if it makes them turn their nose up at it. You can also add a little water to make a paste that you can spread on their feces.
Just make sure it doesn’t contain artificial flavors or MSG—an additive with a specific metallic taste that can be toxic to dogs. Check the label before using it to be on the safe side.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The acidic nature and strong smell of apple cider vinegar can act as a natural deterrent for dogs. It contains hydrochloric acid, which can upset their stomach and make them less likely to want to eat poop.
To use it, add one tablespoon of ACV per 25 pounds of body weight to your pet’s food or water. You might need to experiment with the amount to see what works best for your dog, but this should give you a good starting point.
Does pumpkin help dogs stop eating poop? The answer is a resounding yes. This popular fall treat is packed full of fiber which can help to regulate their digestive system. It also has a sweet taste that most dogs enjoy, so it’s a great way to make their food palatable.
Add a quarter cup of canned pumpkin—not the sugary pie filling because that can be nauseating to them—to the meals once a day. You can also give them the fresh variety, but make sure it’s pureed so they can digest it properly.
This tropical fruit is another ace up your sleeve for making dog poop taste bad. It contains an enzyme called bromelain that can instantly make fecal matter less appetizing for your pet.
Chop up fresh pineapple or give them a few slices of canned as a treat. This will make them think twice before chowing down on their next doggy deposit.
Considered by many as the best dog food for poop eaters, green veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They’re an excellent way to bulk up your pet’s diet healthily and can also help make their poop less attractive.
Add some chopped broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or spinach to their food. You can also give them a small amount of green beans on the side. Just make sure they’re cooked first because raw ones can be hard for them to digest.
If you’re struggling to keep up with your dog’s poop-eating habit, then don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to make dog poop taste bad, so they’ll stay away from it for good.
Enzymes, probiotics, and home remedies can all be used to diminish their cravings. Just remember to be patient and keep at it—eventually, they’ll get the message.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much pineapple should I give my dog to stop eating poop?
A quarter cup of canned pineapple or a few slices of fresh should do the trick. Look for puree varieties or slices without added sugar to avoid making them sick.
Does broccoli stop dogs from eating poop?
Yes, broccoli is an effective way of altering the taste of dog feces. Green veggies should be your go-to if you’re unsure what to put in dog food to stop eating poop.