As a dog owner, being attentive to your dog’s behavior is important. It will ensure that you give your furry pal a safe environment and that their health is taken care of.
As a dutiful curious observer, you might notice some behaviors that are cause for pause. For instance, if you have a bull terrier you may notice him or her gobbling up the poop. Understandably, this can be terrifying to see.
Why do bull terriers eat poop?
Bull terriers eat their poop because of dietary deficiencies, an inherent need to clean up, regulating the microbial composition in their bodies, or adopting a gross appetite. In other cases, puppies may eat poop by copying their mothers when they eat the poop of the puppies. The reason might be any one of these factors, but collectively, the bull terriers eating their poop is a behavioral condition that is called coprophagia. Thankfully, it is possible to get this gross habit in check.
Can bull terriers eat their poop point to something serious?
Sometimes, bull terriers eating their poop may point to something more serious. For instance, if your bull terrier is eating poop regularly, it might be a sign of a dietary deficit.
That is, the lack of a quality well-balanced diet or insufficient portions – particularly if some meals are poorly digested.
You might not have to worry about a certain nutrient missing from the diet because dog food comes equipped with the required nutrients in ample amounts.
Often, a nutrient deficit comes about when the bull terrier is not able to absorb the nutrient as he should. For instance, certain diseases decrease the efficiency with which certain nutrients are taken in by the body.
Speaking of diseases, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, and side effects of certain medications have been mentioned as potential causes of unusual appetites.
Scientists believe that the characteristics of the habit’s occurrence may indicate whether the cause is medical or behavioral.
For instance, they point out that the habit occurring in very young puppies or old dogs may point to medical causes as well as an abrupt emergence of the habit (an abrupt character change as well).
In any case, it is wise to consult a vet and rule out any medical causes of coprophagia.
Causes of stool eating that are not diseases
Aside from the causes that have their roots in diseases, dietary needs, or medication side effects, bull terriers can eat poop due to behavioral factors. These may include:
1. Some bull terriers may eat the poop of their puppies as a way to clean up after their puppies. This is an expression of their maternal need to groom their young one. Is it gross? Yes, it is.
2. Puppies may pick up the behavior from their mother eating their poop or other mates as they play along in social groups.
3. Sometimes, bull terriers eat poop from other animals. As they scavenge, they may be attracted to poop from cats and herbivores because of the odor, taste, and texture of the poop.
For instance, cat poop is typically high in protein and hence the smell or taste of cat poop may appeal to bull terriers. In cases of herbivores such as horse poop, the predigested vegetable content may appeal to bull terriers in much the same way that normal grass appeals to them.
4. In some cases, bull terriers eat their stool out of boredom, particularly when they are housed in an environment that is not stimulating enough.
Risks associated with your bull terrier eating poop
Most bull terriers grow out of the habit soon enough. However, if your bull terrier is still a frequent poop eater way beyond his or her puppy age period, here are a few issues that may arise:
1. The bull terrier may experience an excess of parasites in the intestines. Therefore, vets advise scheduling a deworming with tapeworm tablet in three-month periods and monthly treatments for roundworms and other parasites.
2. The bull terrier may end up picking viruses and bacteria that end up being dangerous for humans, especially if your bull terrier is a cross eater.
This becomes a problem if you have kids playing with their pets while not observing hygiene diligently.
As a rule of thumb, after contact with the bull terrier’s mouth or saliva, make sure to wash your hands.
In the following section, we’ll examine strategies to apply to stop your bull terrier from eating stool. Those strategies deal with non-medical causes; that is, behavioral causes.
In dealing with coprophagia, ensure that you consult a vet so that medical causes may be examined first.
How to stop your bull terrier from eating poop
With proper training, you can stop your bull terrier from eating poop.
For instance, in public, issuing quick commands such as “leave it” and a firm tug on a leash when your bull terrier notices and is approaching poop might be helpful.
However, shouting at him is not a training strategy and it is not recommended.
Another training method that is often applied is offering a treat right after the bull terrier poops. This is to ensure that he gets conditioned to the treatment; not sniff and taste the poop right after.
In any case, it’s advisable to get in touch with a licensed trainer if you’re worried the habit will be entrenched in the bull terrier well into adulthood.
But even before we get to the training, it is very important to ensure that the environment in which the bull terrier lives is well taken care of.
This especially applies to puppies who like to scavenge about and sniff and taste just about anything in their vicinity.
1. Clean the yard or environment in which the bull terrier resides and remove fecal matter. If there is no poop, it’s unlikely the habit will last.
After taking note of your bull terrier’s bowel movements for a good while, you can accompany him outside and then remove the poop after he’s finished with the business.
If you also have a cat in the same environment, it is advisable to have their litter tray out of reach for the bull terrier. This can be in high places where the cat can access or in areas where the bull terrier is not allowed.
2. Use a leash when taking walks in public areas where there might be poop. You might be able to control the home environment but it is difficult to control the outdoors.
3. Provide your bull terrier with something to keep busy with, such as a toy. This will apply if he is eating poop out of boredom. However, only unbreakable/spongy toys – toys that can break or splinter can damage a dog’s digestive tract severely.
4. Deterrents are also an option. The idea is that you can include natural ingredients such as chamomile, parsley, yucca, and proprietary enzymes in meals and treats so that the poop afterward is not so appealing in taste and smell for the bull terrier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my dog obsessed with eating poop?
Your dog is obsessed with eating poop because the taste, smell, and texture of the poop are appealing to him. This behavioral issue is known as coprophagia and it can have behavioral causes (the habit is imitated or developed) or medical causes (certain conditions reduce nutrient absorption).
What can I put in my dog’s food to stop him from eating poop?
You can put poop-eating deterrents in your dog’s food to stop him from eating poop. These deterrents include chamomile, parsley, yucca, and proprietary enzymes like monosodium glutamate.
Do terriers eat poop?
Yes, terriers eat poop. But not all of them. According to data on the habit, only about 25% eat poop and of that, only 16% have a serious problem with it. Even though terriers are among the breed afflicted by this nasty habit, there are strategies to treat the problem.
What breed of dogs eats the most poop?
The breeds of dogs that eat the most poop are Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers. These breeds are almost twice as likely to eat poop as compared to any other breeds.
How to stop dogs from eating poop home remedies?
You can stop dogs from eating poop using home remedies such as adding a few tablespoons of canned pumpkin or meat tenderizer to your dog’s food and picking the waste on a regular basis.
In brief, bull terriers eat poop because of behavioral or medical reasons. The right course of action when you notice this habit is to visit your vet for a consultation.
Then, the vet will ascertain whether the cause is due to medical factors. If so, the vet will recommend medication or supplements. If not, the vet will be able to provide insights on combative measures you can make to stop the habit.
Often, this involves managing the environment and training. Then, ride it out until the bull terrier abandons the habit entirely.
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