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Why do dogs sometimes eat poop?

Well, the technical term for “poop eater” is Coprophagia and its most common in much smaller animals. Some insects consume and redigest the faeces of large animals which contain substantial amounts of semi-digested food. (Herbivore digestive systems are especially inefficient.) The most famous faeces-eating insect is the dung-beetle and the most ubiquitous is the fly.

Bigger animals too. Capybara, rabbits, hamsters and other related species do not have a complex ruminant digestive system. Instead they extract more nutrition from grass by giving their food a second pass through the gut. Soft caecal pellets of partially digested food are excreted and generally consumed immediately. They also produce normal droppings, which are not eaten.

Young elephants, pandas, koalas, and hippos eat the faeces of their mother to obtain the bacteria required to properly digest vegetation found on the savanna and in the jungle. When they are born, their intestines do not contain these bacteria (they are completely sterile). Without them, they would be unable to get any nutritional value from plants.
Gorillas eat their own faeces and the faeces of other gorillas.
Hamsters eat their own droppings, which are thought to be a source of vitamins B and K, produced by bacteria in the gut. Apes have been observed eating horse faeces for the salt content. Monkeys have been observed eating elephant faeces. Coprophagia also has been observed in the naked mole rat.

But DOGS. What about DOGS…
Coprophagia is a behavior often observed in dogs. Hofmeister, Cumming, and Dhein (2001) wrote that this behavior in dogs has not been well-researched, and they are currently preparing a study. In a preliminary paper, they write that there are various hypotheses for this behavior in canines, although none have been proven:

* To obtain attention from their caretakers.
* From anxiety, stress, or upon being punished for bad behaviors.
* They had been punished for having defecated in the past, and attempt to clean up out of fear of being punished again.
* Because puppies taste everything and discover that feces are edible and, perhaps, tasty, especially when fed a high fat content diet.
* Because dogs are, by nature, scavengers, and this is within the range of scavenger behavior[citation needed].
* To prevent the scent from attracting predators, especially mother dogs eating their offspring’s feces[citation needed].
* Because the texture and temperature of fresh feces approximates that of regurgitated food, which is how canine mothers in the wild would provide solid food to their pups
* Because of the protein content of the feces (particularly cat feces), or over-feeding, leading to large concentrations of undigested matter in the feces[citation needed].
* Due to assorted health problems, including:
o Pancreatitis
o Intestinal infections
o Food allergies, leading to mal-absorption
* 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 mask their own.

Some veterinarians recommend adding meat tenderizer to dogfood, as this makes the faeces taste excessively bad to dogs. Several companies produce food additives that can also be added to the animal’s food to make faeces taste bad.[citation needed] Often, these food additives will contain Capsicum Oleoresin which gives off a repugnant odor making the faecal matter undesirable to the dog.

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