Coprophagy, or the eating of feces, is not a disease per se. Nobody is sure just what causes a dog to eat his or other feces. One theory advanced is that the dog suffers from a mineral deficiency. Another is that the dog is infested with parasites. Some animal behaviorists think dogs eat their own feces out of boredom. Their idea is that dogs confined to a cage or kennel have little diversion, so they start playing with and eating their feces.

We'd like to put forth our theory on coprophagy. It's quite possible that the eating of feces is a leftover instinct, a carryover from the time when the dog's ancestors were hunters and scavengers. Life for the early canids was one of a feast or famine. When the hunting was good, the wild dogs ate heartily; when the game was scarce, they were forced to scavenge and eat whatever they could find, even if it was the feces of other animals. That way, the wild dogs managed to survive.

With all due respects to the animal behaviorists' theory of coprophagy, we think the true reason lies elsewhere. When the writer was managing a large dairy farm in Connecticut some years ago, he had ten dogs that had the run of the 235-acre farm. These dogs were fed a high-quality dog meal, supplemented with milk from the farm. They were free from worms 90 percent of the time and received a vitamin and mineral supplement. The dogs were not penned up all day and night, but were allowed the freedom of the farm, since there were many rodents and other vermin in the area. Yet these dogs never failed to eat each other's feces or that of the cows and horses. Our main point in telling this tale is that these dogs were certainly not bored. They had freedom, helped round up the cattle, and chased game and vermin.

It's doubtful if you can cure the dog that eats feces. You can try giving him vitamin and mineral supplements. And by all means you should get rid of worms and other intestinal parasites. The best measure is to remove temptation: don't leave feces lying around.

Pamper Your Dog

Pamper Your Dog

The cookbook that your dog and dogs everywhere have been waiting for has finally arrived. Pamper Your Dog unleashes 130 recipes for tasty treats and meals for your canine friend that are sure to have your dog salivating. You cook for yourself and your family, so don't ignore your most faithful of friends. Pamper Your Dog will show you how to prepare tasty and healthful treats and main meals for their dogs without a lot of cost or work. This great collection of recipes features 130 tempting and tasty treats for your dog.

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