Ask the Vet with Dr. Larry Tholl

Valley View Pet Hospital

Q: My 3-year-old dog, Suzie, went out to go to the bathroom the other day and pooped. After sniffing it for some time, she ate it. She went through a phase where she did this as a puppy, and I thought she grew out of it. Now that she’s back at it, what can I do to stop this?

A: We hear this question very frequently, especially from people with new dogs. Dogs like poop. Some dogs like it fresh, warm, and soft, while others prefer the crunchy poopsicles of mid-winter. There have been many explanations put forth as to why dogs would need, or want to, do this. My own dog developed this rather unpleasant habit herself some years ago. The final solution was the most obvious and simplest, but not necessarily the easiest.

There are certain products that you can add to their food that will make their feces taste bad …or perhaps worse. These additives usually contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) and they do work, but they will not stop your dog from eating another animal’s feces. You could, instead, apply some noxious substance like Tabasco sauce to the poop wherever it lies to make it distasteful. Ultimately, I found only two solutions that worked well. The first is to be fast and vigilant; get to the poop before your dog can, and pick it up. The second was to fit my dog with a cage muzzle. This kind of muzzle looks like a basket over the dog’s nose and still allows them to sniff, bark, and pant, but keeps them from doing any extracurricular eating. One drawback is that people might assume that you have a vicious dog, but that misunderstanding can be easily cleared up and well worth the trouble, since it means not having to smell poop-burps ever again.

Dr. Larry ThollABOUT the Vet

Dr. Larry Tholl is a graduate of The University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine. it was there he met his wife Michelle. He was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Anthropology. Dr. Tholl pulled up stakes and moved to Minnesota in 1992.

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