COPROPHAGIA.. A long word for a disgusting little habit.
This article is not for discussion at your family dinner table, or right after your Rottie has planted a slurpy kiss on the face of your favorite relative.
Owners have called me on numerous occasions saying their puppy was mentally ill or, worse yet, had contracted some sort of disease worst than death itself and they were almost ready to get rid of it. They just knew that their little Rott N One couldn't or wouldn't EVER be that same cuddly ball of black and tan fur again. What seemed to be the problem is the not too uncommon habit of feces eating. Some puppies and even adult dogs think that the contents of the family cat box is quite a delicacy, too. Diagnosis... Coprophagia, prognosis....varies from dog to dog and household to household.
What causes, or more importantly, what can be done about this disgusting deed? When it come to the cause there seems to be several theories but I don't think anyone really knows for sure. One such theory and the most popular suggests this habit is due to a diet deficiency, however, you can have several puppies all on the same diet and only one will develop Coprophagia. Another theory is boredom. I personally think that this is often the original cause. But again some puppies can go for hours with nothing to do and never develop this habit. Some say it is a keener sense of smell and the detection of food that has not fully digested. Whatever the reason or cause, it certainly is disgusting to us and must be surpressed.
There are as many 'cures' as there are theories on what started this habit. I will not rate the 'cures' nor suggest one over the other. I will however share the various tips and 'cures' with you. What may work for one may have no affect on the other.
The easiest solution and this applies to any problem puppy or dog, is to keep all feces picked up as soon as possible. For those of you that work or are away from home this is impossible, so following are numerous additional suggestions that will hopefully help.
Forbid...available from your local vet and specifically developed for Coprophagia by Alpar Laboratories. Sea Meal...A product prepared by Solid Gold Adolph's Meat Tenderizer Spinach Asparagus Odor-Plex...also used to combat flatualence, but that's another article.
Each of the above is to be used as a condiment on your dogs' food. The result of such use supposedly makes the feces so distastful it will make any ravenously raunchy Rott recoil.
Use of any of these products should be only after consultation with your local veterinarian. Amounts per application may vary and some Rott N Ones may have an allergic reaction to Monosodium Glutamate found in both Forbid and the Adolph's Meat Tenderizer.