Why do chihuahuas eat poop?
You wonder how your beautiful chihuahua, with the face of an angel, could possibly want to tuck into a lump of cat poop! Just why do chihuahuas eat poop?
Minnie loves cat poop and considers the cat an interactive treat dispenser. Cat pooh is especially delicious for a dog and can be hard to resist.
But there is nothing more disgusting than seeing cat poop crumbs around your chihuahua’s muzzle especially if he’s a kisser!
The behaviour of eating faeces is called coprophagia. It is a natural behaviour for dogs even though it’s absolutely disgusting to people. It’s not just cat faeces, other dogs, their own, horse, fox and rabbit all feature on the menu.
Even though it is natural, it is not something that should be encouraged or tolerated. Clostridia, Salmonella, Campylobacter along with parasites can be passed to your dog and make him very ill. Fox poop can contain lungworm larvae. Read: The facts about lungworm.
First you need to get to the bottom (no pun intended) of why he is doing it and change the behaviour. Although it can be a difficult habit to break.
Some dogs will eat other dog and animal pooh, and sometimes their own. There are a range of different reasons why your dog may feel inclined to tuck into faeces.
Why does he do it?
According to Dogs Naturally Magazine there could be medical reasons that make dogs eat poop:
A lack of the required digestive enzymes could be a factor. This is a diet-based problem and one that could be coming from feeding kibble and other processed food. Dogs need to get additional enzymes from their food to help them absorb nutrients, if these are missing from their diet they will try and find them elsewhere.
Try changing your dog onto a fresh raw or homecooked diet and add a probiotic paste to their food.
Other reasons that could be compelling your chi to seek out faeces are:
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)
Pancreas is not producing the enzymes he needs.
Internal parasites are adsorbing the nutrients
- Conditions causing increased appetite
Diabetes, thyroid problems, and some medications that make your dog hungry.
You may not be feeding enough, and he is hungry.
It might not be a medical thing, don’t rush to the vets demanding expensive, invasive tests unless your dog is losing weight and not thriving. There could be some behavioural reasons for his poop habit.
Keeping the den clean
Mother dogs will eat their puppies poop to keep the den clean. Your puppy may copy this behaviour, but it is likely he will grow out of it.
Eating poop is a good way of getting your attention, like children any attention is good. Chomping a lump of cat poop is a good way to start the game ‘chase the chihuahua’!
If your dog is left for long periods eating poop might seem an interesting past-time.
Dogs left in a crate for a long time will eat their faeces to keep it clean. You may find that dogs rescued from puppy mills have this habit as they spend all day and night in a cage. Read the Crate Debate
If you chastise your dog for an accident in the house, he may develop the habit of eating his poop because he is afraid of getting told off. Never comment, just clean it up without a fuss and make sure your dog can go outside for a toilet break. Read how to toilet train your chihuahua.
How to stop your dog eating poop
- It goes without saying that you need to keep your chi away from the litter tray. Put it up high where your dog can’t get it.
- Clear up any accidents in the house and make sure you keep the garden area clear.
- Have a look at diet, RAW feeding is best as RAW if full of digestive enzymes, if you are feeding a home cooked diet then add some additional enzymes into the mix.
- If you are feeding kibble or processed dog foods, try changing the diet so your chihuahua is getting more variety.
- Check that your dog does not have worms by checking his poo on a regular basis. You can send a sample and get a worm count done. Kits are available on-line. If he has worms, then use a chemical wormer from the vet to get him clear of adults then move onto a natural product that will kill larvae in the gut.
- Have a look at your crating routine or the amount of time you are leaving your dog alone. Longer than 2 hours in a crate (unless overnight) or 4 hours in the house is too long on a regular basis. Try and arrange for someone to walk your dog and let them out.
- Make sure your chi has plenty of exercise. Even chihuahuas need to get out for a run and do dog stuff.
Getting to the bottom of why dogs eats poop is not straight forward and may take some time. Good diet, mental stimulation and exercise are the key things to take away.
If making changes to your dog’s diet, environment and exercise routine does not help and your dog is losing weight, then take him to the vet.