What is coprophagia?
Sometimes, our really cute chihuahuas can do some really nasty and disgusting things and one of them is eating feces. And although these canines don’t aim at disgusting the fellow primates, it certainly looks the same. This act of eating feces is termed coprophagia. Coprophagia is one of the reason’s why dogs are either disowned, sent for rehoming, or even killed. You are a witness of dog coprophagia?
Chihuahuas and regardless of their age can develop the habit of eating feces. And this bad habit can come and go. Also, a chihuahua can eat his own poop or poop of other pets of the household or both.
What makes a Dog eat feces?
Coprophagia can be onset because of many reasons and can involve eating the poop of oneself, or other animals, or both. There is no particular like or dislike that the animal holds for the same but it can be triggered because of some physical and psychological factors. Also, coprophagia can be triggered at any age and at any time of the canine lifetime and can return as a habit many times.
Physical factors that trigger Coprophagia.
There are many reasons that can trigger Coprophagia. Here are some of them.
- Diet devoid of nutrients: A poor diet will push directly the dog to follow his instinct and to look for food sources elsewhere. As a consequence when a chihuahua starts eating poop he will automatically turn down regular food given by his owner.
- Diseases like diabetes
- Improper nutrient absorption: In some cases, senior dogs and puppies can suffer from this health issue, even if the owner brings high-quality food.
- Use of drugs and steroids.
Psychological factors triggering Coprophagia.
The dining of the dung can also be caused because of some psychological stresses and reasons that the dog is facing. The following can be some of the reasons for the same.
- Attention seeking from the master/owner
- Stay with an old or ill senior canine
- Lesser connection with real food
- Isolation, or solitary confinement
- Sometimes, when mothers eat feces and they lick the puppies, the puppies pick up the stool smell confusing it with their mothers thereby making them poop eaters.
- Being bored: when there is a lack of activities or any other brain stimulation the dog will start investigating his environment. And as a consequence, there is a chance that he eats feces.
- Stress: when a chihuahua is highly stressed, she can eat poop and whatever she can t reduce her stress.
Health and Hygiene: Sickness associated with this habit.
Eating feces is definitely something that can cause huge problems for the dog. Feces or other animals may contain a transferrable disease that may infect your beloved pup. Not only that, but it can also cause bad health and foul breaths. Feces of dogs being treated for worms can cause the worms to re-enter the system making the treatment ineffective.
Chronic coprophagia can have bad effects in the short term and the long term. This is why you will want to find an urgent solution to this issue.
Ways to stop coprophagia
There have been many successful ways to take care of why the dog is eating feces and how can it be stopped. Easier options include getting together and taking care while sometimes it might even need harder steps like ingesting chemical additives in the food. Have a look at some of the steps here.
1. Recheck the dog food for nutrients.
A lot of times, coprophagia is triggered because the dog finds itself a deficit of nutrients and has to turn to other sources. The best available one among them is eating its stool. Hence a reassessment is required of the food it eats and if needed a recommendation from the vet.
A lot of owners completely ignore this cause, and It is almost impossible for a chihuahua who actually eats enough food to eat poop. A 5-pound healthy chihuahua needs in general 225 calories per day.
Furthermore, you should read carefully the label of the snack and kibble you are providing. As some of them can contain artificial coloring, chemical preservatives, meat by-products, fillers, and generic meat sources.
You will want to offer high-quality kibble and snacks to your dog, that are natural and contain wholesome foods and ingredients. If you are sure that your chihuahua is having a healthy diet you can skip this cause.
YOU CAN ALSO CHECK: Chihuahua Calorie Requirements
2. Play with your dog.
Sometimes these habits occur because there isn’t much that a dog does or has to do. Boredom, as stated earlier can be a cause of coprophagia. Hence to remove it. Spend time with your dog and play with the canine. If the dog has something to look up to, he will not get bored in anticipation and this will not entertain in such activities. Leaving the dog to entertain itself can cause such problems. It has been found that in households where kids and dogs are together, it can be really beneficial for both of them to grow old together.
If your daily schedule doesn’t allow you to spend more time with your chihuahua, here are some tips to follow:
- Build a den for your dog:
Den will help your dog to reduce high stress because dogs relate small dens to feelings of security and safety.
Having a playpen allows the chihuahuas to have their toys near them. This way a chihuahua will stay busy and will never think about eating fences.
- Provide your chihuahua toys that keep him focused. The goal of offering toys to your dog is to keep him busy to avoid thinking about something else like eating poop. As the toys will offer as much fun as possible.
3. Ground Your Dog
Yes, just like children are grounded for mistakes, it’s time to ground the chi too. Make sure that the dog doesn’t leave the household alone and especially near the fences. If you find that the dog is going too much to a spot sniffing, there are chances that it is looking for something nasty. To avoid that, keep the dog on a short leash, clean the feces of the yard and if you have a cat, keep the litter box away. Most owners keep the cat’s box, up to the shelf or drawer as cats can climb easily. Here are also some additional tips that can help:
- Never allow your dog to go outside without your supervision
- When your notice that your chihuahua is about eating poop, redirect his attention in a soft way.
4. Make feces less tasty.
Yes, there are options for doing the same too. Chemicals like deterrent supplements make the poop taste bad thereby making the dog less palatable to depend on and eat. However, these are hit-and-miss cases. If the dog hates its own feces, it may depend on some other animal for the same as other dogs or cats.
5. Resolve possible nutrient absorption problems.
Issues with nutrient absorption are not uncommon with chihuahuas, especially puppies and senior dogs.
When you notice that your chihuahua puppy doesn’t gain weight or the adult doesn’t maintain it even if you are providing high-quality food. It is time to consult your vet ASAP, as this is a sign of some health issues such as worms.
To help your dog to overcome this issue, there is An available Prozyme supplement to help dogs with better absorption of nutrients. As it breaks down nutrients and helps the digestion of protein, fiber, fats, and carbohydrates.
They come in two forms, powders or chews
These steps to fight the habit of eating fecal matter can help your dog and you get over the nasty and grossing habit. Although there is no certainty that this shall not be repeated again in the future. But these steps are going to help you achieve fate every time the habit returns.
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