Wednesday 17 October 2007

Eat your heart out.

Dogs smell other dogs faeces as a way of learning about them. From this, the dog can tell the sex of the dog who left it. If it’s a male’s it will tell it how masculine he was and if it’s a female’s whether she is coming into season or is on heat. So vital information is passed on this way. However some dogs eat other dogs’ stools which is not so pleasant. This is know as coprophagy from the Greek copros meaning faeces and from phagein meaning to eat.
There are many theories why dogs do this:
-To get attention from their owners.
-From anxiety, stress, or having been punished for bad behaviour.
-From boredom.
-Because puppies taste everything and discover that faeces are edible and, perhaps, tasty.
-Because dogs are, by nature, scavengers, and this is within the range of scavenger behaviour.
-Because the texture and temperature of fresh faeces approximates that of regurgitated food, which is how canine mothers in the wild would provide solid food.
-Because of the protein content of the faeces, or over-feeding, leading to large concentrations of undigested matter in the faeces.
-Due to assorted health problems
-Because they are hungry, such as when eating routines are changed, food is withheld, or nutrients are not properly absorbed.
-Carnivores may sometimes eat or roll in the faeces of their prey to ingest and exude scents which camouflage their own.

Dr Bruce Fogle, a Canadian vet and author of many books, writes that dogs as they grow up may suffer from a lack of digestive enzymes. He recommends feeding dogs enzyme-containing food such as pineapple, pumpkin or papaya fruit. Sounds exotic to me as dogs are basically carnivores.

I could not find an appropriate photograph.


Unknown said...

No photo necessary.

jmb said...

Well my dear Cleo didn't do that but she did like to roll in the horse manure on the horse trail near us. We had to be every vigilant and shout at her to stop if we saw her approach it.
Sadly it's their nature but we humans don't really care for it.

Mopsa said...

Thank goodness for small mercies - a photo would have been a step too far. I hate this topic (not the post!) as it is too close to home for comfort - young dog feeding off older one as it were. Puppy habit I tried very hard to break. Not constant but regular. No apparent reasons for it apart from sheer bloody minded enjoyment. Yeuchh. Both adore a roll in fresh fox shit - they are devils, but I love them.

Whispering Walls said...

Somebody told me that the smell of lion dung terrifies horses

Flowerpot said...

just as well - we all know what it looks like! My Mollie adores rabbit poo which apparently is very high in protein ????? And as for fox poo - ah, heaven!

Cornish Dreamer said...

My old dog used to like eating cow pats, I have no idea why. It would make her mouth look a little green and her breath was lovely when she sat in the confines of a car. She also liked rolling in fox pooh, which we called her 'eau de fox' perfume.

Maybe they just like the taste?

Anonymous said...

Hi Michele:
Alanna sent me your address and I will certainly visit from time to time. How are things in your family?
We had a very sad day yesterday because Jenna's little dog, Huckle, had to be euthanized. She will be sorely missed.
I have known dogs who eat faeces for a little while then completely stop. Just for fun!

Eurodog said...

Hello Susan, thank you for visiting. Sorry about Jenna's dog.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Very interesting. I didn't know they could tell so much from the things! Simi, I am glad to say, sniffs it but does not eat it!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

PS: it's probably just as well you couldn't find a photo for this one!

Anonymous said...

You know too much about us - how would you like it if I posted about your private habits in this way??