The Bernese Shepherd Dog and Coprophagia: Causes and Solutions

Question:

"My Bernese Shepherd dog often eats his own droppings. What can cause this behaviour and what strategies do you recommend to stop this habit?

Veterinary answer:

"Hi! First of all, the behaviour known as coprophagia (coprophagy) is quite common in dogs.

I know that this behaviour is disturbing for owners.

There can be a number of causes and the treatment always depends on what is causing the problem.

First of all, this behaviour can be caused by curiosity or boredom, especially in young dogs.

Puppies often use their mouths to explore the world and may be interested in the taste or smell of faeces.

If this is the case, try to distract the dog when he approaches the faeces. Offer other exciting toys or activities instead.

Secondly, problems in his diet may also be causing this behaviour.

If your dog is not getting enough nutrients, or if he has gastrointestinal problems, he will eat his faeces because he is trying to make up for the missing nutrients.

If this is the case, your vet can help you get the right diet!

Thirdly, behavioural problems can also contribute to the development of coprophagia.

Dogs often find that when they defecate, they attract the attention of their owners, even if it is negative attention.

In this case, it is important to try not to react when the dog touches its droppings! Instead, try to reward other positive behaviour!

Finally, if the coprophagia still does not improve, it is worth consulting your local vet in person, as there may be a very serious medical problem!

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The vet can carry out the necessary tests to rule out nutritional deficiencies, parasites, digestive problems and other possible causes.

I hope this answer has helped you and that you will soon be able to solve your dog's problem!"