Coprophagia: A dog’s abhorrent habit

Popeye the Sailor Man owes his famous human strength from eating spinach. Dog owners have always been complaining about the pet’s obnoxious habit of eating feces. Is it possible that dogs consider feces as a food elixir that would enhance their strength?

The food bowls of pet dogs are regularly filled with food thus the habit of eating feces was not developed because the dog is hungry. Dogs are well loved pets and dog owners would not think twice to pay for pricey dog food as long as the health of the pet is ensured. Dog owners make sure that the pet have enough food. Dog owners would even go against the advice of dog behaviorists not to feed the dog before they have their meal so as not to encourage the pet to develop a pushy behavior. Dogs definitely do not eat feces because they are hungry.

The feces eating habit is a trait handed down to modern day dogs by their ancestors that live in the wild. The feces eating habit is associated with the dog’s self protection instinct. Like any other animal in the wild, dogs too would hide their presence from predators. The distinct and far reaching smell of feces is not unlike a red flag that announces the dog’s whereabouts. What can be a better way of removing all traces of the dog than eating the feces. Generally, modern day dogs live safe and secure inside the homes thus there is no need to hide from predators. The need to protect themselves from predators is deeply established so that even if hiding from predators is no longer necessary, dogs will still be seen eating poop.

It seems that dogs are skilled in knowing the abnormalities in their system. For instance, a dog will just eat grass if toxic substances are ingested and presto! the substance not accepted by the stomach will be ejected. Coprophagia or the habit of eating feces is associated with the dog’s need to fill up a nutrient deficiency that results from eating less nutritious dog food.

Dog owners are aware that their pets are social animals thus they would set aside some time to bond with the pet. Some dog owners though may not be aware of this need and others simply do not have the time. The habit of eating poop can be the dog’s way of getting the masters attention. True, this abhorrent habit will annoy the pet owner and the dog will be reprimanded but reprimands would be better than being ignored.



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