Coprophagia (often incorrectly spelt as Coprofagia) is a medical term for dogs eating poop. It's pretty common in puppies, and they're not always fussy about whose poop they eat! Learn more about this disgusting habit, why dogs eat poop, and what you can do to stop it!
Yuk! I hear you say, but although it's deemed anti-social by us, it's relatively common in the dog world.
It's often seen in puppies up to a year old who, thankfully, will eventually grow out of it, but dogs of any age can indulge in this 'unpalatable' habit.
And to make matters worse, they're not always fussy about whose poop they eat. Some dogs have been known to eat the contents of the cat's litter box, treating it like a cookie jar!
Before our dogs became domesticated, their mother would lick her puppies' bottoms to stimulate bladder and bowel movement. She would then eat their poop to remove any evidence of her puppies to help protect them from predators.
You'll still see mothers cleaning their puppies in this way today as the instinct is still strong within and drives her to 'protect' her young puppies.
It could be that by keeping her nest area clean, the mother is also teaching her puppies not to soil in their own den, which they tend not to.
Unfortunately, at some time, our pets may suddenly decide to indulge in coprophagia for many reasons.
Max went through a short period where he ate his poo when he was a very young puppy. (I was horrified when he sicked it back up in the car on my lap!)
Unfortunately, in my panic to remove it, I pushed it down between the seat and the handbrake. It took ages to get it out and get the car smelling fresh again.
If you discover your puppy or dog eating poop, it's best to do something about it sooner rather than later before it becomes a habit that's too difficult to break.
Aside from being a pretty disgusting habit, ingested poop can pass on unpleasant diseases and/or parasites to your Cocker Spaniel, not to mention what it could pass on to our kids and us!
Although our children are often taught to wash their hands at an early age, it's a good idea to emphasize the importance of washing their hands after petting their dogs. You can never be too careful, especially if your dog enjoys rolling in poop!
He is? In that case, let me reassure you, you're not alone.
Whilst it may not be delightful to witness, coprophagia in puppies is quite a common sight. If your puppy begins to eat his own poo, you shouldn't really worry about it too much because the chances are he'll soon grow out of it.
In the meantime, continue to do your regular 'poop patrol' in the garden to help reduce his opportunity to snack.
You could try adding pineapple to his diet, as this is thought to make your dog's poop unpalatable. (I can't believe I just wrote that!).
You can also step up on the Leave command, but you'll need to ensure the treat you have ready for him is tastier than the poop he's about to eat. Chopped liver or chicken will probably do the trick!
There are several reasons why your pet may be indulging in Coprophagia:
There are many different ways of addressing this problem, and I can recommend one or a combination of these solutions to help stop your puppy from eating poop.
Meanwhile, keep your pup away from poop, and clear away any mess quickly to remove the temptation; don't allow the opportunity to indulge in Coprophagia in the first place!
The excellent news is that your Spaniel will (almost certainly) grow out of it!
Understanding why your dog is eating poop in the first place will help you to rectify his anti-social activities.
It's essential to stop your puppy from eating poop before Coprophagia becomes a habit; otherwise, it may become more challenging to deal with.
If you catch your puppy in the act of Coprophagia, don't get angry with him or punish him for it. If you do, he may believe he's being punished for pooping.
In his mind, the punishment may confirm that his decision to eat (i.e., dispose of the evidence) was the right one.
Go to the next page to learn how to stop your puppy from eating poop and enjoy his sweet scented kisses (albeit slobbery!) and loving licks once more!
Photo Credit: Why Dogs Eat Poop:
1. Copyright About Cocker Spaniels.com
2. Crabchick at www.Flickr.com - https://www.flickr.com/photos/62327186@N00/3523890628
3. Copyright About Cocker Spaniels.co,
If you'd like to read more on Coprophagia in dogs, you can do so here.