Coprophagia has grossed out and confounded many pet owners and veterinarians for a long time. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an effective way to stop dogs from eating their poop, although Benjamin Hart, DVM, PhD, DACVB, did offer some interesting statistics on the topic.
He cited a recent, unpublished study that included information from nearly 1,500 pet owners with dogs that had been seen eating feces daily or weekly at least 10 times. According to the survey, the top five feces-eating dog breeds were the Labrador Retriever (10.4%), Golden Retriever (5.8%), Basset Hound (5.5%), German Shepherd (5.3%) and Shetland Sheepdog (4.7%).
About 10% of the dogs ate only their own stool, whereas 32% ate the feces of others, and nearly half of all dogs who ate feces didn’t care who it belonged to. “Most dogs ate any ol’ stool,” Hart said.
Other findings include:
- Female dogs were more likely than male dogs to engage in this behavior (60% vs. 40%).
- The behavior does not reflect poor den sanitation: 82% of dogs in the survey almost never soiled their own house.
- Almost all dogs opted for fresh feces as opposed to aged feces.
- Neither behavior modification techniques nor food additives seemed to be effective in changing the behavior.