Dog parents can agree that their furry companions can exhibit some downright nasty behaviors. If you spend enough time around pups, you’ll eventually witness some of the most dreadful habits.
Yes, I am talking about eating poop (coprophagia). Not all pups indulge in this less-than-adorable habit, but if you have one obsessed with wolfing on their own or another animal’s feces, you can relate. As disgustful as it may seem, scarfing down poop is normal canine behavior with some surprisingly reasonable explanations.
If your dog is a dreaded poop eater, you might wonder how to clean his mouth before he happily smothers you with stinky kisses. Who doesn’t love puppy kisses? But a whiff of poopy breath will have you gagging and feeling repulsed. Luckily there are ways to fight back the stink and discourage this habit in your dog.
Here’s the scoop!
My Dog Ate Poop. How Can I Clean His Mouth?
Convincing your rowdy pooch or agitated senior doggo to sit still while you clean their mouth is a lot to ask. However, if your pup has consumed poop, you’ll need to prod his mouth to eliminate the grime and stinky breath. When cleaning your dog’s mouth, focus on these details:
- Clearing all visible poop
- Sanitizing and disinfecting
- Masking the odor
Here are some ideal options to eliminate poop breath and keep your pup’s chompers germ-free.
Your pup may hate brushing his teeth (like most dogs), but this is the surest way to get rid of all that gunk and stench. Easier said than done. Your dog might freak out and throw a tantrum but don’t feel discouraged. Unlike humans, teeth brushing isn’t natural to dogs, and they don’t realize its necessity.
So start slowly and offer some positive reinforcement. Alternatively, you can smear dog toothpaste on your fingers or a soft cloth and gently rub it on your dog’s teeth and gums. Also, you can opt for antimicrobial canine dental wipes, which also kill harmful bacteria. Once your pup is familiar with the feeling of his chompers being scrubbed, then you can transition to finger toothbrushes.
Remember to choose the right dog-safe toothpaste. Human toothpaste is a no-no for Fido since it contains toxic ingredients for pups. It is meant to be spat out – a command your dog doesn’t understand. Plus, the high xylitol and fluoride content is harmful to your pup. The good thing with pet toothpaste is that it is flavored like their favorite foods, such as beef and peanut butter.
Another great and easy solution to rid your pup of poop stench is a dog-friendly mouthwash. A capful of the liquid can mask the stink and safeguard your pup’s dental hygiene.
The downside is you’ll have to avoid your pup’s mouth for a day or two while the mouth rinse works its magic. Mouthwash for dogs can be controversial because of the xylitol content, but the amount is insignificant to cause any toxicity.
Your dog will need to consume more than 0.1 grams of xylitol per 2.2 pounds of its body weight to experience hypoglycemia. Your dog can have liver failure by more than 0.5 grams of xylitol per 2.2 pounds of his weight.
The average canine mouthwash has 5mg/ml of xylitol content. So the average 3kg (6.6 pounds) Chihuahua would have to drink 42mls of mouthwash to be at risk of hypoglycemia, while the average recommended dosage is 14mls. The danger of xylitol toxicity is unlikely to happen unless you’re drowning your dog in bowls of mouthwash.
However, you can opt for xylitol-free mouthwash like PetLab Co. Dental Formula Water Additive.
It would be best if you didn’t reach out for human mouthwashes like Listerine. Most ingredients are outright harmful to pups, including menthol, methyl salicylate, and ethanol.
Pup Dental Treats
Your canine might not be a fan of using a toothbrush to clean his mouth, so dog dental treats like Pedigree Dentastix can come in handy. Pups love them, and they ideally do the work for you. If your dog consumes poop, the best way to get rid of that nasty stuff is to scrape or wipe it away.
Like you go to the dentist for teeth cleaning, Fido can do it the best way he knows – chewing. The mechanical motion scraps off any gunk off the teeth, and the saliva produced rinses the mouth poop residue.
Ensure you choose a dog treat with enzymes like lactoferrin, lysozyme, and lactoperoxidase which help to eliminate pathogens. You also don’t want to sacrifice your pup’s waistline for a clean mouth so ensure the dental chews are low in fat and calories.
Canine oral sprays are a lifesaver if your mutt has a tendency to munch on poop and has stinky breath as a result. Mist your pup’s teeth and gums 1-2 times with Fresh Breath Oral Care by TropiClean.
It is safe, vet-approved, and eliminates funky breath immediately. Regular use can also remove plaque and tartar and prevent halitosis, gingivitis, and dental disease. But remember, you still have to brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
Canine experts have the quick clean method all figured out with step-by-step guidelines on how to clean your pup’s mouth if he eats poop. Keep reading to learn the basics:
1. Give your dog food and water: The chewing process triggers saliva production, which will help rinse the yucky residue and bacteria, naturally cleansing the mouth. You can also include natural cleansers such as lemon juice or mint to freshen your pup’s breath.
2. Offer a dental chew: The jagged edges of the dental chew will create friction when rubbing on the teeth surface to scrape away any grimes between the teeth and gums.
3. Wipe your dog’s mouth with a cloth: Although seemingly gross, this option can quickly get the poop off your dog’s mouth. Wrap a piece of soft microfiber cloth or gauze around your finger. Dip it in canine toothpaste, coconut oil, and baking soda or salt water, and wipe the inside of your fur baby’s mouth.
Remember to wash or dispose of the cloth after and ensure you keep it out of Fido’s reach to prevent them from eating it.
4. Use mouthwash: Get a dog-safe mouthwash and add it to your dog’s water. It is a quick and hassle-free, effective solution for poop-smelling breath.
Related: Are Dogs Mouths Cleaner Than Humans
Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?
Wondering why your Fido has a penchant for poop? Although typical, this repulsive behavior is problematic and can make anyone’s stomach turn. But there are ways to train Fido not to consume poop. Before we get to the training, let’s address the issue.
If Chewy likes to consume some hot turds in the backyard, don’t be too hard on yourself. Research shows that 16% of dog parents have found their pups eating other dogs’ poop. Gross, right? Several theories exist as to why your canine companion may engage in this disgusting behavior.
Protecting The Pack From Parasitic Pathogens
Surveys show that 80 percent of poop-eating dogs indulge in this distasteful dining habit with fresh feces less than two days old. This behavior points back to their ancestry. Wolves reside in dens in packs, and research shows they are tidy housekeepers.
They typically defecate away from their dens to avoid parasitic eggs in feces from hatching in their homes. But accidents do happen. So, if a young or sick wolf defecates in the cave, the other wolves eat up the feces while it’s still fresh. According to research, today’s canines act based on their wolf-like instincts.
Dogs are scavengers, and when food is scarce, they will happily eat from trash cans or munch on spoiled meat as a survival technique. And since beggars can’t be choosers, malnourished dogs are more likely to be predisposed to poop eating.
So, ensure your furry companion gets the essential nutrients in the right amounts. If you’re unsure about the correct portion, we recommend you find out from your vet.
Add some healthy snacks between Fido’s main meals, but if you choose a top brand canine food, it should contain all the essential nutrients.
Research shows pups lacking vitamin B1 often eat poop. So boost your dog’s vitamin B1 intake with fruits and vegetables such as pineapple, tomato, cucumber, and cantaloupe.
Boredom And Stress
Your dog’s poop-eating behavior may be due to environmental stress or behavioral triggers like spending too much time confined and being isolated from other pets and humans. Harsh house training rules and punishment can also trigger this behavior.
Also, if your furry friend is sharing their living space with an incontinent dog or is in a multi-pet home, they are likely to eat poop. Studies show that coprophagia is 33% more common in households with three or more dogs.
If your dog is bored, they might indulge in attention-seeking behavior like eating poop to get a reaction from you. Any reaction (even a negative one) from you is good enough for a neglected dog.
Mother pups stimulate their puppies to defecate and urinate by licking them. They also eat their puppies’ poop during the first few weeks of life. Evidence shows that puppies experiment with eating their stool and that of other rabbits, dogs, cats, etc.
This is believed to be from picking up poop scents from their moms’ breath. However, they typically grow out of this behavior when they reach adolescence, but some dogs never grow out of it.
Canines have a remarkable sense of smell. Their noses can pick up scents 10,000 to 100,000 times more than our own. In a nutshell, your pup explores his world through his nose. So, what you may consider a gooey mess is a perfectly decent treat to Fido.
Your dog probably thinks poop is gourmet dining and finds it delicious, especially if the stool is from high-protein foods. No wonder canines love cat poop as kitty food is higher in protein which trickles down to their poop. Rabbit poop is also a favorite for most pups because it contains nutrients.
When canines lack certain digestive enzymes, they cannot properly absorb nutrients, especially vitamin B1. Studies show that a deficiency in vitamin B1 is linked to poop eating because poop still has some undigested nutrients and digestive enzymes.
A high load of intestinal parasites such as whipworms, roundworms, coccidia, giardia, ringworms, and other parasites can leach nutrients from your pup’s intestinal tract before your canine can utilize them, leading to coprophagia. Your vet can perform a stool analysis and recommend deworming medication based on the results.
Certain Medications Or Medical Conditions
Diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and thyroid disease are some medical conditions that can increase hunger in canines and cause them to eat poop. Also, drugs such as antihistamines, steroids, and benzodiazepines can increase hunger in dogs and lead them to eat poop.
Can Eating Poop Make My Dog Sick?
It depends. Consuming poop is a canine ritual that is unlikely to cause any health issues, mainly if your pup eats its poop. However, consuming poop from other animals can make your dog catch an infection if the poop is contaminated with viruses, parasites, bacteria, or toxins.
This is because excrement contains whatever the animal consumed, which might not sit well with your fur baby.
- No interest in food
- Intestinal parasites or worms
- Weight loss
You must monitor your furry friend for the above symptoms following ingestion of poop and phone your vet asap.
Can Eating Pineapple Stop My Dog From Eating Poop?
Yes. Pineapple can help stop your dog’s obsession with eating poop. This is because of an enzyme in pineapple known as bromelain that changes the scent and taste of poop to something your canine will also find disgusting. Add pineapple puree or chunks to your pup’s meal but remember this remedy doesn’t work on all dogs.
Furthermore, pineapple is high in sugar and fiber, so you should only offer it in small portions to avoid GI upset. The spiky skin can also cause choking or blockage, so only feed your dog the soft fleshy part.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Poop?
There are ways you can discourage your furry friend from feasting on poop. We list some practical tips to help with this problem.
- Clean up your pup’s living space: Coprophagia is a crime of opportunity. Ensure there’s no poop in the vicinity (think: your backyard or garden). Clearing your living space of poop, be it your dog’s or another animal’s, ensures they won’t be able to eat it. Scoop poop from your yard daily, pick up after your pup on walks and keep cat litter boxes clean and out of your canine’s reach.
- Use commands: Teach your dog commands like “stop,” “drop it,” and “leave it,” and reinforce them, especially when you catch him preparing to eat poop. Reward them generously with their favorite treats when they obey your commands.
- Provide plenty of exercises and enrichment: Offer Fido a variety of enrichment toys to keep him engaged when you’re not around. Ensure walks are enjoyable, switch routes, try various enrichment games and interactive toys, and play fetch and puzzles.
- Supervise your pup during walks: If you’re the kind of dog parent who lets his furry friend roam free in the park to do his business, you must keep a watchful eye and monitor his behavior. Also, leash your pup while in the yard or on walks. This way, you have control over what they eat.
- Use stool bitterents: You can make your pup’s dung less tasty by using a stool eating deterrent such as Granick’s Bitter Apple Dog Spray. It is designed to make your canine’s poop less edible and, over time, helps curb his appetite for poo. However, canines process taste differently from us, so this option might not be 100% effective. Also, it is non-hygienic for dogs and humans because you’ll have to leave the stool in place. Better you scoop and toss away the poop.
- Feed taste aversions: Natural foods such as canned spinach, pumpkin, and pineapple or condiments like meat tenderizers can help deter your pup from eating stool. Although they have a pleasant flavor, they impart a bitter, unappealing taste to poop. You can also add poop-eating deterrents to your furry friend’s food to make their stool less appetizing. These products contain chamomile, MSF, garlic derivatives, pepper plant, yucca, and parsley.
- Provide adequate nutrition: Sometimes, your furry friend wolfing on poop can indicate inadequate nutrition or a digestion problem. Discussing your pup’s diet with your vet is a good idea. They may recommend a high-quality kibble alongside probiotics, enzyme supplements, and multivitamins. These support your canine’s digestive health and intestinal microflora and help stop their pesky poop-eating habit.
Walking in on your pup munching a pile of hot turds is enough to turn your stomach. Even worse is having to clean up Fido’s mouth after the horrendous deed. Humans find this gross habit revolting so much that some parents give their dogs away.
If your dog is from a poop-eating spree, the faster you clean him up, the better. You don’t want him leaving a poopy stench on your face or hands when he licks you up. Grab your dog toothpaste and toothbrush and give your dog’s mouth a deep clean. You can also adopt the Quick Clean method or use a mouthwash to give your dog fresh breath.
You must also address the cause of your dog’s pesky poop-eating behavior to curb your canine’s desire to dine on poop.