Sometimes our dogs eat things that range from disgusting to perplexing. We all have gone through it. Here is a simple guide of what it might mean when your dog eats something seemingly out of the ordinary, like stools or grass. What should you do and should you worry?
Why does my dog eat feces (stool eating)?
Stool eating... Dogs will sometimes eat their own feces, or the feces of other animals. Commonly called stool eating."Why does my dog eat his poop?!" you might ask. Truthfully, nobody knows for sure why dogs tend to eat feces. There are some theories ranging from vitamin deficiency to anxiety. Even though it's somewhat common, there are health risks for stool eating dogs. Dogs can infect themselves with parasites or, with the eating of older feces (two to three weeks), roundworms and whipworms may be present in the stools.
Here are some suggestions to address the problem:
- Pick that stuff up before your dog can get to it (including poop in the cat box that is accessible to your dog).
- Make sure your dog is not hungry. One way to do it is to split their food into two meals per day.
- Addressing Nutrition: Your dog may be trying to fill a nutritional need by eating odd items like feces. Consider supplementing the diet with a vitamin & mineral supplement, such as, Spectrin, as well as a vegetarian digestive enzyme supplement, like, Enzyme Miracle. This will ensure that all your pet's nutritional needs are met; often times, this solves the problem.
- Give them room to roam. In more confined spaces they may just be trying to keep their area clean
- Reduce anxiety by spending quality time with your pet.
Why does my dog eat grass?
Again, grass eating in dogs is fairly common, but there is no clear answer why they do this. It could be they are lacking nutrients, it could be they are feeling sick (anecdotally, upset stomach seems to often be the case), they may be hungry, or they may even just like the taste. Sometimes, dogs will vomit after eating grass, but, studies have shown that vomiting is incidental to eating grass but not caused by it. Perhaps, that supports the theory that the grass eating is due to feeling ill.
- Addressing Nutrition: Your dog may be trying to fill a nutritional need by eating odd items (like "stool eating"). Consider supplementing the diet with a vitamin & mineral supplement, such as, Spectrin™, as well as a vegetarian digestive enzyme supplement, like, Enzyme Miracle. This will ensure that all your pet's nutritional needs are met, and, support any digestive issues that may be at play; often times, this solves the problem.
- Make sure they are not hungry: Again, split total food intake into two meals per day.
- If they are vomiting a lot, you may want to see the vet.
- If no vomiting (or very little) is experienced, then dont spend to much time stressing about it if you are addressing the two areas above.
How about eating or chewing on other non-food items?
Toys, wrappers, keys? Yes, dogs have been known to eat these things. Usually, when dogs eat unusual items, it is due to curiosity; after all, smelling and tasting is how they see the world. Other times, it can be just boredom or a way for dogs to get attention. In most cases, it is no problem other than the irritation of cleaning up their messes made. In some cases though, it could cause some harm to your dog if the item gets stuck in the intestines.
What to do:
- Lock or close off rooms in the house (i.e where the garbage is stored, or the pantry), where your dog can get in and do damage.
- Pick up around the house, especially looking for items that your dog would be interested in.
- Regularly comb through your yard for items that could be a problem.
- Give them things to chew on that are ok (chew toys, treats).
- Spend time with them and keep them stay active (consider keeping them on a leash if they tend to eat items they find on their walks).
So, at times our pets may make us go "ick!" or "what?!" But, with some simple steps, we can control the behavior and stop them from eating things that we dont want them to.