Grooming Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire terriers are famous for their soft, flowing coats. But, it takes a great deal of care to keep the coat in tip-top condition. Fortunately, it is easy to learn how to care for your Yorkie’s coat.

Yorkshire terriers do not have the regular ‘fur’ of other pets therefore they are less prone to possess the regular ‘doggy’ smells another bonus is that the breed does not shed its hair as most other pets do.

Most shampoo made for persons can actually irritate the the tissue forming the external covering of the body of Yorkshire Terriers. Yorkshire terrier the tissue forming the external covering of the body has a lower tolerance to cleaning up solutions than human the tissue forming the external covering of the body does. One of the causes of irritation is that Yorkshire terrier the tissue forming the external covering of the body has different PH needs; so using a human’s shampoo can dry your full-breeds the tissue forming the external covering of the body out causing annoyance to you and him.

Before starting, make sure that you have everything you will need close at hand. There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering that you are missing something as you are holding a soggy canine in the middle of their bath.

When washing your Yorky’s coat, don’t scrub it excessively. The cleaning up action of the shampoo will lift the dirt without scrubbing, and you run the risk of tangling the coat. It is smart to use a tearless shampoo vicinity of the eyes and face.

You have finished with the shampoo and conditioner the next step is to rinse him off. All the leftover shampoo and conditioner can irritate the skin. If you find that he is scratching excessively anon the washing it is probably due to the residue of the cleaning up solutions used. So it is needful remove all the shampoo and conditioner from the canine as you can.

Possibly the nicest part of getting a bath is getting dry. Because you don’t want to mess his fuzz by scrubbing him dry, it is best to wrap you little guy up in a towel and cuddle him for a while. Take advantage of this snuggle time to love your boy up, and enjoy his company.

You have finished drying the Yorkshire terrier pup off and have rewarded him for being a good puppy. It becomes time to move onto the next steps of combing and trimming that lovely Yorkie sleek coat.

Never clean and brush a dry coat, instead spray it down with a light conditioner, or water.

Keep away from the pin brushes that have the little balls on the ends of the pins as they have a tendency to pull at the fur & break the fine hair.

Finally, take a long tined metal comb, and comb through the coat. It is amazing how many small snags remain, even anon a thorough brushing.

To complete your Yorkie’s look, it is needful to do a few touch-ups.

Some owners prefer to keep their Yorkies clipped short for ease, this is a fantastic scheme but you must ensure that you are prepared to keep this up every few months.

The paws should be trimmed so that the mane spreads in a nice round shape.

Some full-breeds get what has been acknowledged as “dingle berries”. This is excrement handing from the Yorky’s mane vicinity of his anus. Sometimes the excrement can actually cover the anus so extensively the canine cannot relieve himself. Thus trimming the mane vicinity of the anus opening can and will effectively prevent the condition acknowledged as “dingle berries”.

Often Yorkies will get excess mane inside their ears. This needs to be plucked, or your canine will have an increased run the risk of of infection.

Never attempt to stick anything into your Yorky’s ears, simply absolutely wipe around the outer ear & very gently around the inner ear. Look at your Yorky’s ears regularly & become accustomed to their regular appearance, this way you will be instantly aware if anything alters.

Many people use a bow to tie up the fleece between the Yorky’s ears. A lot of people mistake the band or bow placed so perfectly in the Yorky’s hair as absolutely a decorative piece, in truth without it the Yorky’s fleece would be constantly in its eyes.

You should also give his nails a quick trim.

It is necessary to purify your Yorkshire terrier’s teeth regularly with a special canine toothbrush & paste, encouraging your canine to chew on hide based treats is also a good scheme as this will help to reduce tartar building up.

Of course these other checks do not have to be completed on a daily basis but it is a fantastic intent to adopt a regular routine, perhaps every couple of days.

Help to keep your Yorky delighted & well by grooming him/her regularly, since all if your pooch is delighted you are happy!

Homemade Dog Food and Biscuits

As a pet owner these days, you are probably more concerned about the commercial food and biscuits your pet eats as there has been lots of bad press about it recently. Though some commercials promote their dog foods as “safe”, it may not be so as they generally mix in artificial flavoring and coloring and add preservatives and other fillers in their products.

Dubious ingredients in dog food is understandably a great concern to many pet owners however, what you may not know is that there is an alternative to buying commercial dog food at all. Homemade dog food and biscuits or other doggy treats, are simple to make and very worthwhile.

If you are able to make a meal then you will be able to make homemade dog food and biscuits. Making your dog’s meals is as simple as making a casserole for your family’s dinner. And making homemade dog biscuits is similar to baking cookies and just as easy. The difference of course, is the taste and perhaps the shape. As you can see, making homemade dog food and biscuits is simpler than you’d expect and before too long your dog will be eating healthy treats made with meats and vegetables.

You probably don’t like your dog eating food comprised of mysterious ingredients. So it is better to give your dog your own homemade dog food and biscuits as it is safe, fresh and generally made up of ingredients youd eat yourself. If you give your dog homemade dog food and biscuits, he would not only be happy as he’d get to enjoy new treats everyday, but he’ll also enjoy better health.

Make sure you know your dog’s food preferences before you start making your own homemade dog food and biscuits. Inspect his eating habits and observe what food he likes and what he doesn’t. Doing so would save you time and money too as you’d know what ingredients to include and what not in your homemade dog food and biscuits. If you’re aware that your dog doesn’t even touch turkey, you would obviously not waste your money to buy it.

Making homemade dog food and biscuits are is a wonderful way to express your care and concern for your beloved pet. Buying choice ingredients is an investment in the health of your dog. You can add years to his life and help him feel happy, healthy and energized.

Once you’ve changed over to homemade dog food and biscuits, you’ll never look back to commercial dog food. Just as you like to know what your food contains, you can do the same for your pet’s food. Never again will you wonder what’s in your dog’s food.

What is Ehrlichiosis?

Ehrlichiosis is a bacteria transmitted by ticks to dogs.  The bacteria infects and lives in the white blood cells of the host which can be human, pets or wild animals.  It is usually transmitted to dogs by the Brown Dog Tick.  Ehrlichiosis occurs worldwide and can infect any dog, although some breeds, such as the German Shepherd, seem more prone to serious chronic infections.  It can occur concurrently with Biliary, or Babesiosis which is the better known and more common form of tick fever.

Signs and Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis

The symptoms and severity can vary according to the type of Ehrlichia bacteria involved and the immune response of the individual dog.  The infection follows 3 phases.

3 Phases of Ehrlichiosis Infection

1.  Acute Phase

This occurs in the first 1 – 3 weeks after infection.  Symptoms can include lethargy, depression, fever and lack of appetite and weight loss.  This is very non-specific and dogs can sometimes spontaneously recover while others will enter the next “silent” or sub-clinical phase.

2.  Sub-clinical Phase

In this phase there may be no apparent symptoms.  This phase of Ehrlichiosis can sometimes last for months or even years.  The bacteria lodges in the spleen and bone marrow.  Cell counts can change as the parasite is slowly dividing and stimulating the immune system of the dog.  Some dogs will then progress to the chronic phase.

3.  Chronic Phase

When the bone marrow is damaged beyond repair and runs out of stores of stem cells to produce new red, white and clotting blood cells, the dog will start to show the clinical signs of these deficiencies and usually become severely ill.

The most common symptoms in this phase would be bleeding or discharge from the nose or blood spots under the skin (looking like spots or patches of bruising), chronic, recurring infections, particularly respiratory, muscle wasting due to kidney failure, and severe weakness due to anaemia (lack of red blood cells).  There may also be enlarged lymph nodes and spleen, pain and stiffness, vomiting and diarrhoea, inflammation of the eye and possible neurological symptoms.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Ehrlichiosis is not simple.  It is usually done with blood tests and on the overall clinical presentation of the dog.  The Ehrlichia organisims very seldom show up in a blood smear, but if they do a diagnosis can be confirmed.  Blood can be tested for Ehrlichia antibodies, and can also show changes in cell count and type.  A combination of tests is usually used.

Diagnosis is further complicated by the fact that the dog may be infected with more than one tick borne disease at a time.

Treatment

Fortunately Ehrlichiosis responds well to antibiotic treatment which can cure almost all acute and most sub-clinical cases. Although several weeks of treatment is necessary improvement in symptoms is usually very quick. In severe cases where blood cell counts are very low blood transfusions may be needed.

The best solution for Ehrlichiosis is to prevent it!  Use regular parasitic preventative measures such as dips, “spot on” treatments, flea and tick collars etc.  Also try and avoid taking your dog into tick infested areas such as long grass, open fields, or woods during peak tick season.  And check your dog daily for ticks.

Can I Feed My Dog Bones?

Feeding dogs bones is a somewhat controversial issue, but the general consensus seems to be – no!

Sadly my little Bug landed up spending last week in hospital and one of her fellow patients was a Rottweiler who had a stomach obstruction. When they operated on him they found the obstruction to be pieces of bone! His owner gave the usual response – “we’ve always fed our dogs bones and never had a problem”. And yes, many people are feeding dogs bones and don’t have any problems. They’re the lucky ones, but it is a bit like playing Russian roulette with your dog’s health.

While spending time with Bug pup I got to speaking to some of the vets in the practice about this.  Bones certainly do cause a lot of  problems.  If the bone splinters while the dog is chewing it these splinters can pierce lips, gums or palates.  Swallowing the splinters can lead to even more serious damage by scratching or damaging, or even perforating the stomach or intestines.  Bug’s Rotti friend was “lucky” that in his case the bone fragments only caused a blockage.  This still required surgery to remove and any time the stomach, or particularly the bowel is cut open there is a great risk of infection or peritonitis.  That surgery, combined with a couple of days of vomiting and not eating before it, left him in a very serious and sad condition.  And his owner with a considerable vet bill!

If the bone fragments and pieces manage to travel the whole length of the GI tract with no major incident they still need to be passed by the dog.  Not always a good experience!

I’m sure you’ve also heard that not all bones are bad for your dog and some are ok.  The cooked versus raw debate.  Cooked bones of any sort are more brittle than raw ones so tend to splinter more easily.  They also have virtually no nutritional benefit at all once cooked.  Chicken and Ostrich bones tend to dry out the faeces resulting in spiky faecal balls which can easily get stuck in the colon.

Raw bones might not splinter quite so badly but can still have those risks.  They may also carry Salmonella, Campylobacter, E-coli, tapeworm or tapeworm eggs.  ”Knuckle” bones can get stuck in the small intestine.

Another argument for feeding dogs bones is that they are carnivores and descendants of wolves who eat bones as part of their regular diet.  But recent research is finding that  wild wolves don’t necessarily have a long life span.  Certainly shorter than the average well fed domestic dog.  And there are few definitive findings on causes of death in wolves.  Injuries from bone splinters could quite easily be one of them.

So why take the chance with your much loved pet who you would like to share as long a life with as possible?

Dogs do certainly enjoy the act of chewing on a bone, but there are many healthier and safer alternatives.  Try rawhide chews or hard rubber or nylon chew toys.  There are also many treats made by reputable companies designed specifically to clean dogs teeth.

It’s not a debate that’s going to be easily resolved and everyone needs to make their own, informed decision.  There is certainly a lot of info available.  This is one article I found interesting.

Fortunately there is a happy ending to this particular story.  Both patients returned home well on their way to full recovery

When Not To Rescue A Dog

I was recently asked by one of our local animal rescue groups to help them out by fostering some puppies belonging to a mother with a large litter of 11 puppies that they had just picked up. They asked me to take some to hand-rear and leave some with her. I went to the kennels where she had just been taken to go and see what the situation was, expecting a poor skinny female in bad condition and struggling weak puppies. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

The female was a medium sized mixed breed in very reasonable condition, not ribby, no sores or wounds, but with lots of fleas and a tick.  Her pups were all strong, all sucking well and obviously being kept very clean by her.  But considering this was supposedly a “street dog”, not too bad at all.  She had obviously been a popular girl 9 weeks ago as the pups were clearly from several different  fathers!

I took her and her large family to the vet for a check-up.  After a very thorough examination of everyone the vet declared them all fit and healthy.  She agreed with me that the mother must have been getting adequate food to maintain a pregnancy and produce healthy normal pups and produce milk.  We decided that the best thing for everyone was to leave all the puppies with her and rather put all our efforts into getting the best possible nutrition into her to keep her strong and maintain a good milk supply.

She was being such a good mother, cleaning them, keeping them all close, moving around so carefully without every stepping or lying on one.  Taking any of them away would clearly stress her and may even cause her to try to find the missing pups leaving the others to get cold and hungry.  That stress could also negatively affect her milk.  And as she had so much milk suddenly reducing the demand could cause mastitis.

Eventually the (almost) full story emerged.  She, and another new mother had been seen in one of the very poor areas and the rescue group had decided they could find them all better homes.  They could only catch one of the mothers (neither of them being used to being handled much) so they took her and both litters of puppies.  Both dogs did actually have owners who had been looking after them as best they could.

I have mixed feelings about this situation.  Firstly I feel very sorry for the mother  who’s suddenly had all her pups taken away!  There are so many dogs belonging to so-called “civilised”  homes, being fed premium dog food, sleeping on designer doggie beds but also being physically and/or emotionally abused.  I was the third home in the life of just such a dog.  He had been well loved in his first home and due to circumstance had to be re-homed.  He then landed up being kicked around by someone in his next home until one day he got kicked down the stairs and badly injured because he was in the way and his person was in a bad mood!

Aren’t those the dogs that should rather be taken away from their people and be given a second chance at a happy life? Or the puppy who keeps escaping and gets beaten every time she comes home so that by the age of 6 months her face is already full of scars?

Perhaps a better solution is to try and assist these poorer communities with spaying and neutering their dogs, supplementing food when possible and education in basic dog care. With rescue shelters being so full of homeless dogs waiting to be loved, I think it’s important to try and be practical and realistic as well as compassionate when deciding to rescue a dog

7 Easy Tips To Train Your Chewing Puppy

Bringing a new puppy into your home is always very exciting and lots of fun, but it can also be a lot of hard work! So here are a few tips to help train your puppy.

Let your older dogs discipline the puppy when needed.

The vast majority of older adult dogs are not even vaguely aggressive towards puppies, but know how to a serious warning when a puppy steps out of line. For example when the new pup wants to help the adult dog finish it’s food, a good warning off is quite appropriate. It helps teach the puppy acceptable boundaries and behavior for it’s place in the pack.

If your puppy growls at you when you go near her food bowl firmly tell her to “leave”, pick up the bowl, put something tasty in it and put it back down again. It’s important to be able to safely take something your dog is eating away from them in case they’ve got hold of something they shouldn’t eat. You showing your control over her food also indicates your dominance as “pack leader”.

Stroke the puppy and hold her collar loosely when she eats so that she gets used to being touched when eating.

Puppies will chew!

It’s one of their development phases as they start exploring the big new world, and unfortunately they explore it with their mouths and sharp little teeth! It’s also a way of releasing some of that never-ending supply of puppy energy, and may help sooth sore gums during teething. And they grow really fast so what they can’t reach one day, they can reach the next. Keep things out of the way that you don’t want eaten, as it will take a bit of time to teach them what is allowed and what isn’t. There are products on the market designed to be sprayed on things you don’t want your puppy to eat, but these are not always very effective. Puppies learn quickly that the unpleasant taste doesn’t last very long but the joy of chewing once it is gone is irresistible!

Puppies seem to love cords!

So be very careful with electrical cords and cables which might shock them if chewed through. Not to mention replacement costs of whatever the cord was plugged into! While puppies are young it might be a good idea to keep doors to offices that might have a lot of electrical equipment with lots of cords, closed. There are also plastic cord conduits or covers you can use to help keep cords a little safer.

If a puppy grabs something you don’t want them to have, yelling will usually make them run! If you can manage to curb the impulse to shout rather call them with a fun voice, usually they will come to you. Then pet them and talk nicely while you ask for the object back. For example use “thank you” to take something away and if you have something handy to give them as a reward for letting go, give it to them. Otherwise praise them gently for letting you have it.

Be consistent in your training

Puppies brains are like sponges and they can learn very quickly. So spending the first few months of your puppy’s life guiding and training it in the right way will make all the years you will share together much easier.

Top Grooming Tips For A New Dog Owner

If you have recently added a dog to the family, you may have some questions about caring for it. No doubt you will have been inundated with tips from family members and well-meaning friends on how to look after your new puppy, but they may not have necessarily told you how to go about grooming him. Here are a few tips for you to make a note of when trying to keep your dog in the best condition.

Don’t wait around

Like a small child, introducing your dog to the joys of personal hygiene from an early age is always a good decision to make. Get him used to being brushed and having baths as soon as possible, and try to make the activity a playful one. This will reduce the chances of the dog being scared of these processes and boost the chances of him actually enjoying them. Ensure the puppy is allowed to investigate every tool and implement you plan to use so that he feels comfortable with everything. If he wants to sniff his brush for three minutes, let him get on with it. It’ll make life much easier when he gets bigger and you don’t have to chase him around the house just to give him a quick brush.

Take your time

Once your puppy is aware of everything that’s going to be used to beautify him, remember the mantra, you can’t rush a good job. Plan for any mishaps and take your time with the grooming process. If you come across any knots in the dog’s coat, be careful to get them all out. If you leave knots, they can become matted and the dog may eventually have to have his hair shaved. Don’t yank on them because this may hurt and pay close attention to the reactions of your dog. Praise him if he sits still and allows you to groom him and, if you’re feeling generous, reward him with a treat when you’ve finished grooming.

Keep the insides clean

The orifices of dogs are prone to infections, much the same way as humans are. This means that their ears and teeth will need a good clean. Don’t expect this to be a fun experience because dogs do not like to be held against their will. You can get special dog toothpaste which tastes nicer for them, but having their jaw held open while you scrub isn’t going to be pleasant.

When it comes to cleaning ears, you need to go careful so you don’t cause any damage. It may be worthwhile taking your puppy to the vet or a professional groomer to have his ears cleaned; at least you’ll know he’s in safe hands.

Keep that coat tidy

Your dog’s hair will grow and can look a bit shaggy and scruffy if left for too long. While baths and brushing will help to keep your puppy’s coat looking healthy and clean, he could end up with eyebrows so bushy, he struggles to see properly. Invest in some dog clippers and keep your pup’s coat maintained regularly. It comes down to personal preference on the length of his hair so try a few different lengths until you find one that you think suits best.

Dog Rescue Gone Wrong

I recently had an experience that highlighted the need for spaying and neutering (and a few other things) in a bit of a round about way.

During the holidays I noticed a lost or stray dog wandering up and down our street. She spent a lot of time sitting at my neighbor’s gate. She has 4 of her own dogs but this wasn’t one of them. She also spent some time across the road making friends with the two dogs who live there through the fence. The rest of the time she spent snoozing next to my gate. She seemed to really be looking for some company.

After a couple of days I decided I needed to do something about her. Everyone who lives on our short street had driven or walked past her at some stage and hadn’t taken her home so I presumed she wasn’t from close by. I decided to take her to a near-by shelter. I then posted her photo on a local lost dog website and by the next morning she had been claimed by someone “frantically” looking for their dog but who hadn’t noticed that she’d been missing for a few days! It also turned out that this person lives a few houses away from me so must have spotted her lying outside my house.

The following morning early when I let my dogs out, there she is lying curled up outside my fence! She then spent most of the day between my house and my neighbor across the road. To give her owners the benefit of the doubt I suppose she could be an escapologist, but even so why does it take a day or two (or longer) to notice she’s gone?

She’s a small/medium mixed breed so not tiny enough to escape through small holes nor big enough to jump over walls or fences so it shouldn’t be all that difficult to dog proof their property. Surely if you care about your dog you make sure she’s safe?

In the time I spent with her I found her to have a very sweet, gentle and playful nature (definitely terriers in her ancestors!). Unfortunately I also noticed her ears were fly bitten with small sores developing, and she had flea dirt on her. Also a little on the skinny side but not too bad.

By the look of her teats I thought she’d had puppies sometime ago although she appeared to be a young dog. But it turns out her owner thinks she may be pregnant! There also happens to be an un-neutered male dog who lives around the corner and is always on the road. (his owners just leave their gates open all day!) So I think I can guess who the father of those pups is, if she is pregnant. And her owners seem to think it’s kind of “cute” that she and the roving Romeo might be having puppies?!

So in a couple of month’s time there will be yet another “unplanned” litter of puppies that may or may not find homes.

This experience highlighted a number of factors for me. Firstly some people just don’t deserve to have dogs! Especially such a sweet one as this. When you do have a dog you have the responsibility of taking care of it properly which includes things like dog proofing your property (or creating a dog proof area within the property if that’s not possible), feeding your dog good quality food, regular parasite control, and so important – neuter and spay your dogs!

Even if both these owners are too irresponsible to keep their dogs in their properties, if they had at least neutered and spayed them there wouldn’t be any more potentially homeless dogs. Not only does sterilizing your dog cut down on the potentially unwanted dog population, but also has many health benefits for both males and females.

So while this little girl wasn’t really lost – she’s certainly lost out on having a decent home and a loving family. And I would love to be able to “rescue” her from this home and find her the family she deserves, (or just keep her myself!), but unfortunately one can’t just go around removing dogs from less than perfect homes.

Have you ever found yourself in this position where you just want to grab a dog and fix all it’s problems?

Calming A Dog, Tips to Relax!

Trying to calm a hyperactive or over- exited dog can be very difficult! I have recently had builders on my property and have been really struggling with one of my dogs.  She is a Griffon Bruxellois (or Brussels Griffon), not a breed that generally suffers from this problem.  They are lively and alert but not usually hyper.  I guess she’s the exception that proves the rule!

The solution to the problem will usually depend on what is causing the anxiety or hyperactivity.  Some breeds are also just more prone to this type of behavior than others. These would include the hunting and herding breeds.

There is also a difference between high-energy dogs and truly hyperactive dogs.  A hyperactive dog can be defined as  a dog who displays frenetic activity, abnormally short attention spans, and high impulsiveness, intense restlessness and a lot of panting. They can also display overbearing attention seeking behaviour. They also tend be very sensitive to changes in their environment and may overreact to unknown people or animals.  On the other hand you may just have a high-energy dog that enjoys being active and on the go.  Unfortunately this can sometimes progress to becoming hyperactivity if not managed.

Suggestions for calming a dog include:

Exercise

Again the amount of exercise that could be helpful will depend to some extent on the breed.  Try something like a nice long walk around the neighborhood, or a good game of “fetch” in the yard. Larger breeds might enjoy going for a jog with you.  And don’t forget swimming is also an excellent form of doggie exercise.

 A mental challenge

Giving a dog a mental challenge may also help calm him down.   Teach him “hide and seek”  by hiding a couple of his favorite treats around the house and let him “hunt” them down!  Or get him a treat dispensing toy that only dispenses the food after a certain function is performed.  I have found that these type of activities and toys work best when you actually participate with your dog.  Many of them are designed to keep the dog busy but with a hyperactive dog they tend to have short attention spans and a little direction from you will help keep them focused.  Spending a little extra time each day training a new behavior or “trick”  can also help clam a dog down on a  more on-going basis.

Relax!

Your own stress levels may also be impacting on your dog’s hyperactivity. The type of energy or emotion you are putting out will be picked up and reflected by your dog.  To calm a dog down you need to be projecting a calm, confident attitude.

Calming supplements and herbs

The well known human calming herb Lavender works well on many dogs too.  This can be used in the form of an organic scented room spray, a couple of drops on his bedding or perhaps a drop on his collar.  Scent is a major part of a dog’s world so use it to your (and his) benefit. Other supplements you could consider are Valerian or chamomile.  There are many other types of products available to calm a dog such as canine pheromone containing sprays, calming chews, homoeopathic tablets, diffusers etc.

Medication

If it is a severe problem and a genuine canine hyperactivity issue you need to speak to your vet who will be able to prescribe tranquilizers or anti-anxiety meds depending on the exact problem.  While in some cases medication is necessary remember that all medications can have side effects and you need to keep a close eye on your dog and contact your vet if you are at all concerned.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Well, why do dogs take great pleasure in rolling around in dead, rotting animals? They just do. Unlike humans above the age of two, plenty of dogs just love The Poop, whether it comes from cats, horses, geese, or, most disgustingly to many a proud owner, their own body or their master’s.

So, Why Do Dogs Eat Poop Again?

Different dogs eat different types of feces for various reasons. First, some coprophagy (the consumption of feces) is natural thanks to how dogs evolved. Before dogs were dogs, they were wolves, and upon locating human excrement and human garbage, the wolves chowed down. Eventually, there evolved an animal like the wolf, except that it was smaller, it hung around folks, and mostly scavenged instead of mostly hunted: The Dog.

 

Why Do Dogs Eat Other Animals’ Poop?

Cat feces probably attracts dogs because cat food is higher in protein and fat than dog food, and consequently cat feces is, too. Your guess is as good as mine, as for why dogs like horse and cow manure and goose droppings. Dogs like loads of things we humans don’t – When was the most recent time you rolled in a dead squirrel, grinning your fool head off the whole time? Maybe dogs simply like the taste of poop.

Eating Feces Could Be an Indication of Illness

Not all coprophagy is normal or benign. Dogs who suffer from malabsorption syndromes, like exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, sometimes eat feces, including their own. They may be trying recover the nutrients they can’t consume in normal digestion.

“She’s eating a low-quality diet” is often thrown around as an explanation for a pet dog’s coprophagy. If your dog eats her own and other dogs’ poop, and you’re buying the 50-pound sacks of whatever chow is cheapest at your local warehouse store, food of better quality might be worth a go.

If You Get Excited About Poop, Your Dog Might Get Excited, Too

You can often pique a dog’s interest in a specific toy by taking it out, playing with it excitedly by yourself, then putting it away again. Same goes for shoes and your dog’s subsequent habit of shoe-nabbing. Imagine what Zippy learns when he streaks past with your Manolo in his own mouth and also you start yelping? Poop, too, may suddenly rise in value to your dog when the result of his own provisional sniff and lick is the fact that you shriek, tug him away, and stash the experimental stuff in a bag. Hmm, he thinks, there must be something coveted about that thing. And the following time he spots some feces at the dog park, he speeds up the snatch-and-grab, and you melt into a puddle of embarrassment.

Dogs Learn From Other Dogs

Our Fido ignored litter boxes until we adopted Muggsy Malone. Whenever he saw a cat issue Muggsy adored cat poop and used to head for the box at a dead run. Izzy soon noticed his love and scored a sample for herself. Muggsy is gone for many years, but his legacy remains.

Again, Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poop?

There are some well-accepted behavioral explanations for dogs eating their own stool — not that I know of any research to back them up. Pet Store puppies seem to eat their own poop more than the average dog. The rationale would be the same one that makes crate training so successful: dogs avoid soiling their nests. Dogs forced to eliminate within their cages will typically try to clean up. Let this happen a few times, and a habit is born.

Is It Bad for Dogs to Eat Poop?

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Poop

Yeah, okay, good, a small poop won’t hurt your dog, but it grosses you out, so let’s talk about prevention. If your pet has access to the type of feces she likes, she will sometimes get some. Homeless people defecate in public parks; if your dog is off leash, your best defense is a strong recall or rock-solid answer to a cue meaning “Leave that alone.” Nevertheless, your dog is better at finding feces than you are and may well get a few bites in before you detect and intervene. If you reside in a rural area, chances are you can’t control the availability of horse and cow and goose and deer droppings.

Prevent Availability of Poop

Control the surroundings! Tidy the lawn and clean up the poop so there is nothing poopy for your dog to experiment with.

If she’s diving for her own feces just as she creates it, keep her on leash until she’s done her biz. Then lure her away with something super tasty before she has an opportunity to eat poop. Or gently pull her if a bribe doesn’t work. Try a play invitation to divert her. If she’s a junkie for fetch, pitch a ball the nanosecond she begins to rise from her squat, then clean up during the pursuit.

Keep Litterboxes Out of Reach and Clean Them Often

Does your dog eat cat poop? Many cats resist using a covered box or one that’s in a little, enclosed space, especially if a feline housemate likes to pounce on them when they come out. Train yourself to hear those little cat feet going scritch scritch scritch, and scoop the poop as soon as kitten’s done. Even the slickest litter snacker can’t eat what isn’t there. In any case, a scrupulously clean box is nicer for your cat.

Many people muzzle their dogs to prevent poop-eating, but the commonest result is simply a muzzle stained with droppings, which is more than you wanted. If the poop-snack habit isn’t well established, it might die away on its own, provided your dog has no additional opportunities to practice it. Many puppies also stop their stool-eating as they mature. If your pup isn’t one of those, prevent, prevent, prevent, and do teach that rock solid basic command: “Leave it.”

How About Taste Deterrents?

You’ll see I’m not touting hot sauce or commercial flavour deterrents. Honestly, I don’t see the point. The commercial taste deterrents you feed your dog don’t have any impact on any feces but hers. Plenty of dogs feel totally fine about a dash of hot sauce on poop. And no matter how much your dog hates it, and which kind of hindrance you use, sooner or later he will find an untreated stash. Result: poop snacking is on what is technically known as a variable intermittent reinforcement schedule, which is what trainers use whenever they want to produce an extremely persistent, lasting behavior. Just what you’re looking for in stool eating, right?

Dogs Eat Poop

Last word on poop eating? Almost no behaviour makes it clearer that dogs are different from us. Feces disgust us. Not so for dogs. Eating feces is dangerous to humans, mostly not to dogs. Prevent the habit as much as you can by teaching your dog to obey a strong “Leave it” cue, and bear in mind that dogs are dogs and sometimes the dog will get the poop before it hits the fan.