Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
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A Tasteful Discussion
Like any companion or roommate, dogs — for all their love and cuteness—have habits we just don’t understand. One question dog owners often ask their pets: “Why? Why would you eat poop?”
When we polled* dog owners recently, most thought it was because a dog is lacking nutrients (49%), they’re anxious (43%) or they just think it tastes good (40%).
Dogs are significantly more likely to eat the droppings of another species (e.g., horses, rabbits) than their own.
But Why? Whyyyyy?
We held our noses and got to the bottom of the issue with the help of some experts.
Do Dogs Eat Poop Because They Lack Nutrients?
While those in our poll thought this was the number-one reason for the behavior, it has actually never been proven. “It’s a myth dogs eat poop because they’re seeking nutrients they aren’t getting. There’s no evidence to back this,” says
Opens a new windowDr. Jo Gale, BVetMed CertLAS MRCVS, Senior Manager, Global Science Advocacy at Waltham Petcare Science Institute.
Do Dogs Eat Poop Because They're Anxious?
Opens a new windowDr. Tammie King, Applied Behavior Technical Leader at Waltham Petcare Science Institute, “It can occur where there is lack of environmental enrichment. You see this often in dogs who are kenneled and have a lack of opportunity to exhibit normal canine behavior.” So if you need another excuse to get out and play with your pooch, this is a good one.
Do Dogs Eat Poop Because of the Taste?
Believe it or not, this is the main reason dogs eat poop. Dr. Jo Gale explains: “Dogs are scavengers by nature and use any opportunity to eat what they can, when they can. They consider it a ‘tasty snack.’” Dr. Tammie King adds that “[Dogs eating poop] is a learned behavior. They’ve done it, enjoyed it, and that behavior is repeated.”
We love our dogs so much that we’re willing to trust our best friends on this. Maybe we should come out with a line of doggie breath mints though. Hmm.
Is Eating Poop Harmful to Dogs?
“Ingesting feces from any animal increases potential for ingesting parasites and pathogens,” cautions Opens a new windowDr. James Serpell BSc, Phd Professor of Humane Ethics & Animal Welfare at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He went on to say, “[It’s] not something humans should ignore, but it's not worth getting too excited about it.”
All the experts we consulted said that if your dog occasionally eats poop, it’s nothing to be overly alarmed by. Just keep an eye on the frequency and their overall health. And as always, make sure they’re getting a nutritious diet and plenty of exercise and attention. If you have any concerns contact your vet.
Despite dogs liking the taste of poop, we’re going to stick with the healthy range of more traditional flavors offered in all IAMS dog foods.
*Surveyed U.S. dog owners, age 18+
Sample Size: n=201
Fielded May 8 to May 10, 2020
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- adp_description_block313What Do Dogs Eat? Tips On Feeding Your Dog
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Feeding your dog the right nutrients and a complete, balanced diet doesn’t have to be a head-scratcher. Find out what can a dog eat, how much food to feed your dog, how many times to feed a dog, how to handle treats and supplements, and much more.
- How Do I Decide What To Feed My Dog?
When deciding which dog food is right for your pet, consider these three factors:
- Your dog’s life stage (Whether your dog is a puppy, an adult, or a senior)
- Lifestyle (How active your dog is)
- Condition (Overall health and bodyweight of your dog)
- How Many Times Should I Feed My Dog?
Puppies should be fed three times a day from weaning (3 to 6 weeks) to 4 months of age. After 4 months, they should be fed twice a day. Most dogs should continue to be fed twice a day throughout their life, although some pets do well with one feeding.
- How Much Food Should I Feed My Dog?
The amount to feed your dog depends on its age, size, and activity level. Feeding guidelines, which list the daily-recommended portion, are included on all IAMS™ packages. Start feeding your dog with this amount and adjust according to its needs. Remember to divide the portion accordingly if you feed more than once a day.
- How Much Should I Feed My Puppy?
The amount you need to feed your puppy depends on 3 main factors — breed, weight, and age. However, you can look at this general guideline that we recommend for puppies:
Adult Target Weight (KG)
Recommended Daily Feeding (g/day)
<3 months 3-6 months 6-9 months 9-12 months 12-18 months
Small breed (25-50)
Transition to IAMSTM PROACTIVE HEALTHTM ADULT DOG
This diet contains 390 kilocalories of metabolizable energy (ME) per 100 gms. Remember to have clean, fresh water available for your dog always.
- When Should I Switch My Puppy To An Adult Dog Food Diet?
You should not change your puppy’s food to adult abruptly. Giving your pet time to acclimatize to the new taste of adult food is very important. Also, if you suddenly switch your pup’s food, it can cause digestive problems. Go through this schedule that will help you understand how much to feed your dog and transition your dog’s diet from puppy food to adult food:
- Day 1 – Add 75% puppy food and mix 25% adult food on your dog’s plate.
- Day 2 – Add both foods in equal quantities i.e. 50% puppy food and 50% adult food.
- Day 3 – Increase the quantity of adult food to 75% and bring down the quantity of puppy food to 25%.
- Day 4 – Fully transition to adult dog food.
Here is the weight and age-wise breakdown on when to transition your puppy’s diet to adult food
Age to Begin Transition
Small breeds that weigh < 20 lbs
9 and 12 months of age
Medium breeds that weigh between 20 and 50 lbs
12 to 14months of age
Large breeds that weigh more than 50 lbs
12 to 24 months of age
- When Should I Switch My Dog To Senior Food?
While transitioning from adult dog food to senior dog food, it is important to factor in your dog’s weight. Take a look at this weight table to know when to transition your dog’s food from adult to senior –
Age to Begin Transition
More than 90 lbs
51 to 90 lbs
21 to 50 lbs
Up to 20 lbs
- What Is The Best Way To Introduce A New Diet To My Dog?
When changing your dog’s food diet, it’s important to slowly introduce new food. Start by offering your dog’s daily portion in a ratio of 25% new food to 75% current food. During the next three days, gradually increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of the old food.
- What Food Can A Dog Eat If It Is Overweight?
If your dog has gained unhealthy weight, make sure to cut down on fats along with increasing regular exercise. We recommend IAMS Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food, which is low on fats and offers a nutritious blend of fibers and natural prebiotics that support healthy digestion and L-carnitine for a healthy metabolism. How much food to feed your dog if they’re overweight is another major concern. You need to make sure you do not decrease the quantity of the food your dog eats as it will prove detrimental to its health — your dog needs its daily intake of proteins and required fatty acids.
- What Should I Feed My Pregnant Or Nursing Dog?
It’s important to understand that your dog’s nutritional needs change during pregnancy and ensure you feed her nutrition-rich food. For pregnant dogs, we recommend IAMS™ Puppy food as it’s full of proteins that can help your pregnant dog during the gestation period and also improve the quality of milk to nourish her puppies post-delivery.
- Is It Necessary To Feed Both Wet And Dry Food?
Wet food is an excellent treat that can be fed alone or mixed with dry food. Although IAMS wet dog foods are nutritionally complete and balanced, it is not necessary to offer wet food at every feeding. Our dry foods are formulated with high-quality protein sources such as chicken, lamb, or fish, and contain all the essential nutrients pets need. The crunchy texture of dry food also promotes healthy teeth and gums and aids in overall good oral hygiene. In addition, some of our dry dog foods contain a dental enhancement to help block tartar buildup on teeth during and after meals.
- Will My Dog Be Bored Eating The Same Food All The Time?
No. Boredom with food is a human trait. Dogs are creatures of habit and usually are happy with just one food. Dogs generally eat to meet their energy or nutritional needs. They have very short digestive systems, and if their diet is abruptly or constantly changed, digestive disturbances can occur. Also, constant changes can make a pet a finicky eater.
- Is It All Right To Moisten Dry Food?
Adding water will not change the nutritional value of dry pet food. However, once moisture is added, the food should be eaten relatively soon — and any uneaten portion should be discarded to avoid spoilage. We recommend feeding your dog dry food from IAMS because it is beneficial to your dog’s dental health.
- Will It Hurt My Dog If They Eat My Cat’s Food?
Cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements and should not eat each other’s food. For example, cats require a much higher level of taurine in their diet. An occasional venture into each other’s bowls will not be harmful, but it is not recommended to feed your dog cat food regularly.
- How Many Biscuits Can I Feed My Dog Each Day?
We recommend feeding your dog approximately two to four small biscuits per cup of food. Keep in mind that when you add biscuits to your dog’s daily diet, this increases its daily calorie intake, so you should reduce the amount of food you feed. Check the calorie content of the biscuit since biscuits vary in size and formulation.
- Can I Supplement Your Dog Foods With Vitamins, Minerals, Oils, Etc.?
Our foods are nutritionally complete and balanced. Adding vitamins, minerals or oils can offset the balance the food provides. One of the benefits of feeding your dog a high-quality product is that it has been carefully balanced in proper ratios to provide optimal nutrition — nothing needs to be added.
- Why Does My Dog Need To Eat Protein?
Protein is one of the essential elements that should be a part of your dog’s diet. Including protein in your dog’s diet will strengthen its muscles, ligaments, and cartilages. A protein-rich food also brings about a healthy shine to your dog’s coat!
- Why Should One Maintain A Feeding Schedule For Dogs?
It is important to maintain a feeding schedule for dogs so that they are conditioned to expect food at that time and also avoid irregular snacking in between.
- What Are Things Not To Feed A Dog?
You should never feed your dog home-baked goods, candy, gum, chocolate, limes, onion, and grapes. They can harm your dog’s digestive tract and cause infections as well.
- Why Should You Feed Iams Dog Food Over Homecooked Food?
IAMS dog food is full of key nutrients that your dog needs for its healthy growth. The basic ingredients in our food include chicken, fish oil, beet pulp, wholesome grains, and natural prebiotics.
- How Can I Learn More About Pet Nutrition?
To learn more about pet nutrition and dog food diet, feel free to contact us here.
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