Dogs may eat pooh because they are seeking out additional nutrients that may be lacking in their diet. When a dog is feeling hunger, his body is asking for essential nutrients that it needs to function. The body prefers to receive these nutrients in their whole form, rather than through processed foods.
Why Do Dogs Eat Pooh?
Dogs eat pooh because they are short of readily available nutrients and micronutrients (vitamins etc.) in their diet.
When your dog experiences hunger, his body is asking for nutrients and micronutrients. The body prefers to receive these essential vitamins and minerals in their whole, natural form. This means all food should arrive in your dog's stomach raw, and with natural enzymes attached, as it would in the wild.
Cooking, Heating And Processing Destroys Food
Cooking and processing destroys precious enzymes. This is turn makes the nutrients and micronutrients in the food unavailable to the body. So even after eating, the body does not get what it needs and the sensation of hunger continues.
This is the main cause of obesity in both the human and pet population.
Two Main Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop
There are lots of reasons why a dog may eat poop. They may eat their own faeces or the faeces of other dogs or other animals. Faeces must smell attractive to a dog before they decide to eat it. But there are two main reason they eat poop.
Most Dog Poop Contains Undigested Food
Firstly, the digestive system is unable to break down and absorb all the processed food. Therefore it remains largely undigested.
When a dog eats processed food, undigested parts of it reach the large bowel where most of the beneficial bowel flora (probiotics, 'friendly' bacteria) live. They attempt to digest and break down this undigested food, releasing noxious gases (flatulence) as they do.
This process is the same within the faeces once it has been expelled from the body. Because the dog ate processed food, his or her pooh contains partially digested food and loads of probiotics. The pooh therefore becomes a very attractive prospect for the same dog, or another dog that is starved of micronutrients.
When you add Pet Plus to dog food, you are adding the missing digestive enzymes. This will enable the dog food to be digested, absorbed and utilized in the gut, nourishing the dog and reducing flatulence. The dog's pooh won't end up containing anything like as much attractive nutrition!
Secondly, dogs fed on a processed food diet will not be able to access nutrients and micronutrients efficiently. So they'll be hungry for these essential ingredients.
The poop of dogs fed a processed diet will be full of bacteria and undigested food particles. This will lead them to eat their own pooh in a desperate attempt to nourish themselves.
Adding Pet Plus to your dog's diet diet supplies them with desperately needed micronutrients. Your dog will no longer feel the need to eat their own poop to satisfy hunger.
Of course, there are other reasons that dogs eat poop. It could be a behavioural problem as opposed to nutritional one.
Why Does My Cat Not Eat Pooh?
Cats rarely suffer from this condition as they are much more careful about what they eat. Cats are obligate carnivores, whereas dogs are more adaptable carnivores, being happy to scavenge whatever they can.
Also, cats are usually able to hunt, so can contribute to satisfying their nutritional needs by hunting and devouring wildlife.
Whose Poop Is My Dog Eating?
Dogs love to eat herbivore poo because it is bursting with excellent nutrients. In the wild, carnivores would consume whole herbivores, guts and all, so would naturally eat their poo whilst still warm inside their prey.
Herbivores eat grass and other vegetation. They also have the teeth to grind it up and the digestive system to digest this tough, fibrous material. Carnivores on the other hand, are not good at digesting vegetation, relying on the cellulase enzymes in the herbivore's gut (or in PET Plus) to do this job.
There are two digestion systems in land-based herbivores, depending on where the fermentation chamber is.
Ruminants - Like Sheep, Cows And Goats
Ruminants, such as cows and sheep, have a huge fermentation chamber at the beginning of their digestive tract. There's the rumen (tripe), followed by three other stomachs, all involved in the digestion of vegetation.
The rumen especially is full of healthy bacteria and other microorganisms which digest and ferment the cellulose cell walls of plants.
The rumen contents are burped up and chewed again many times (eructation, chewing the cud). This aids the bacterial fermentation process and releases the nutrients inside the cells. The cow, goat or sheep is then able to absorb the nutrients.
Their pooh is full of good bacteria and some partially digested vegetation. But you never see cows, sheep or goats or any other ungulates eating their own pooh. Why is that?
It's because their digestive system is very efficient. They've got the fermentation chamber at the beginning of the digestive tract and they chew the cud many times. They spend their days chewing then swallowing then digesting then regurgitating the food, repeating the process many times, so they don't need to eat their pooh to satisfy their nutritional needs.
Other Herbivores Like Rabbits And Horses
However, other types of herbivore such as horses and rabbits have their fermentation chamber at the end of their digestive tract. So to get all the available nutrients in their food, they do have to eat their own poo.
This is called coprophagia and is an essential part of the digestive process of these hind gut fermenters. Horses and rabbits that are denied this activity suffer from severe nutritional imbalances.
Chewing vegetation with specially adapted herbivore teeth helps break down the cell walls of those plants. Enzymes do more work to break down the tough cell walls of plant food.
This allows a certain amount of nutrient to be absorbed in the small intestine and be available for use by the body. But many plant cells get through into the large intestine without being digested.
Micro-organisms in the large bowel of horses and rabbits ferment the partially digested food. This breaks down more of the cellulose walls of plant cells and releases more nutrients. But much of this fermented food, along with the goodness within it, is lost at defecation.
It is essential for the horse or rabbit to eat their excretion so they can absorb the nutrients that have been released.
Dogs also love to eat herbivore pooh because it provides them with partially digested vegetation, probiotics and the prebiotics necessary for their health.
If you provide your dog with all the nutrients and micronutrients they need, they won't need to go looking elsewhere for extra nutrition. There will be no need for them to eat their own pooh or anyone else's.
Can We Stop A Dog From Eating Poop?
Feed your dog with bioavailable food (raw meat, bone and liquidized greens). To really make a difference, add a whole food supplement like Pet Plus to satisfy all their nutritional requirements. For more details, please see the diet sheet.