Chihuahua Coprophagia - Why Does My Chihuahua Eats Poop?
Most dog owners have to face this yucky situation from time to time. Their adorable pup starts to pick up other animals` feces in the street or treat the cat’s toilet as a treat dispenser.
Not just pretty disgusting, this habit may be potentially dangerous, especially for such tiny and delicate dogs like Chihuahuas. In this article, we shall try to understand why our adorable pooches suddenly develop this disgusting habit and how to fix this kind of behavior.
Poop Eating Among Chihuahuas - Deviation or Natural Instinct?
In fact, coprophagia – a fancy name for poop eating – is a standard and pretty natural behavior for dogs. In fact, it is one of their biological functions and one of the reasons why humans domesticated ancient canines thousands of years ago.
Before ancient people learned to build houses and fortifications, discovered agriculture, and founded the first settlements, they were nomads. It means that tribes were constantly traveling in search of food and water.
This lifestyle made people pretty vulnerable to numerous predators, who often preferred human meat to any other kind of food. The smell of feces is precisely the way predators track down their prey. That is why many animals, including canines, prefer to eat poop after themselves to cover their migration and halts’ tracks.
Somehow back then, ancient people already decided that coprophagia is unacceptable for humans. That is why they chose to domesticate an animal that will, among other things, eat their poop, making them invisible for predators. Wolf-like-animal, which became the forefather for the modern dogs, appeared to be the perfect candidate for the mission.
That is why, no matter how sickening and disgusting this habit might seem to you, eating poop after your cat or picking up feces in the street, your Chihuahua just gives a tribute to his ancestors.
Is Poop Eating Normal For Chihuahuas?
The fact that coprophagia is an instinctive behavior does not mean that it should be a norm for a modern domesticated dog, especially for a Chihuahua, who has never had any kind of guarding function in his job description.
Therefore you should never tolerate or, God forbid, encourage this kind of behavior. Despite being pretty unaesthetic, poop eating carries a lot of potential dangers for a modern dog.
Clostridia, Salmonella, Campylobacter are only the most common among numerous parasites that use coprophagia as the primary means of transferring. The most notorious among those parasites are the Lungworm, which can become fatal for such a delicate animal as Chihuahua.
While some dogs seem to be pretty focused on their poop eating and prefer their own poop, others go crazy at a park, picking up any kind of feces they find.
To fix this kind of behavior, you should understand why this ancient instinct suddenly awakened within your Chihuahua’s mind.
Why Chihuahuas Eat Poop?
Veterinarians distinguish two main reasons for coprophagia:
Medical Reasons Why Your Chihuahua is Eating Poop.
LACK OF DIGESTIVE ENZYMES.
The most common medical reason for coprophagia among domestic dogs is the lack of digestive enzymes – components necessary for healthy food processing. This problem entirely comes from the unbalanced diet of a dog and is primarily common for pets who eat kibble and other processed food.
Buying another pack of dog food, we naturally think that all the necessary components and elements are perfectly balanced. However, sometimes dogs have their medical peculiarities that require an additional supplement of certain elements. It is pretty standard among Chihuahuas with their delicate digestive system.
Eating feces, dogs simply try to fulfill the missing digestive components. To address this issue, make sure to consult your vet about your dog’s nutrition. The healthcare professional may run several tests to determine which elements are missing in your Chihuahua’s diet and how you can compensate them.
Some parasites use instinctive coprophagia as a means of transferring from one animal to another.
Others force dogs to eat their poop to get a chance to go through the digestive system once again and lay more eggs.
There are also types of worms that aggressively consume most nutrients from your dog’s food, leaving him constantly hungry.
You can instantly see worms and other parasites in Chihuahua’s poop so that you can address the problem immediately. However, prophylactics is better than treatment. Consult your vet and make sure to take the necessary anti-parasite measures at least once in 6 months.
Dogs are as vulnerable to food disorders as humans. Health conditions like diabetes or thyroid disorders are pretty common reasons for increased appetite among dogs that force them literary eat everything they can.
If your Chihuahua is going through any kind of medical treatment at the moment, check out the side effects of the drugs you give him. Some medications also provoke extreme hunger.
EXOCRINE PANCREATIC INSUFFICENCY (EPI).
This condition prevents the dog’s pancreas from adequate production of enzymes, forcing an animal to search for them elsewhere.
As vulgar as it might seem, your dog might just be hungry! It happened when you underfed your dog for some reason, for example, when you decided that your Chihuahua needs to lose weight and went to extremes with his diet.
Behavioral Reasons of Poop Eating Among Chihuahuas.
Your dog may be perfectly healthy from the vet’s point of view but still be obsessed with poop. In this case, the problem may root in psychological disorders or behavioral issues of your Chihuahua.
Once you Chihuahua tried poop for the very first time, he instantly noticed how emotional you got about it. You might have laughed, screamed, picked him up, or started to wipe his face, but the overall idea is the same – you paid extra attention.
For dogs, any kind of owner’s attention is good. Therefore once you get over-emotional or excited about the fact of poop eating, your Chihuahua may continue doing it to catch your eye.
Similar to attention-seeking, coprophagia might be a result of boredom. In many cases, it is one of the symptoms of separation anxiety.
Try to revise your Chihuahua’s everyday routine and find a way to release stress and entertain himself through additional physical activity, playing, or spending more time with you.
Mother dogs always eat their pups` poop to keep the den clean. This behavior is normal and can be avoided if you help her maintain the cleanness around the litter.
Sometimes young puppies simply copy their mom’s behavior as one of the survival mechanisms. If this is your case, don’t focus your attention on the matter, and the puppy will overgrow this habit in a matter of several days away from his mother.
Crate training is one of the essential milestones for most dog owners. However, once you go to extremes and overrate your Chihuahua, he may start eating poop simply as a means to keep his place safe.
It is essential to approach crate training carefully, especially with miniature breeds, and always correlate training with regular walks.
How to Stop My Chihuahua From Eating Poop?
Several simple steps will help you overcome Chihuahua's poop eating in a matter of several days:
- Take your chi to a vet and make sure to eliminate all medical reasons for coprophagia
- Revise your dog’s diet
- Prevent Chihuahua’s access to any kind of feces – instantly take away his poop, clear the backyard regularly, keep your dog leashed during walks
- Examine your dog’s poop and make sure he does not have worms
- Go through your dog’s everyday routine. Make sure your chi does not suffer from separation anxiety, stress, or neglect
- Give your Chihuahua plenty of exercise. Take him to a long walk at least once a day, allow him to play with another dog, or play with him yourself regularly.
Some might find poop eating funny, others – disgusting. Even though coprophagia is one of the canine instincts, it is not a kind of behavior that you should ignore. In many cases, it can be an indication of a food disorder, medical problem, or mental deviation that can end in severe complications and compromise your dog’s overall life quality.
Addressing the very core of the problem, trying to understand its reason, you will quickly eliminate this behavior and protect your Chihuahua from many potential dangers of poop eating.