What is worse than the smell of feces on your dog’s breath? If your dog ingests his feces, or those of another dog, it should be remedied very quickly.
This unsuitable behavior may be of medical origin or simply a behavior problem. A good general physical examination with your veterinarian is the first step to take to determine the cause.
Depending on his needs, your animal health professional may recommend some testing: a stool test, blood tests, x-rays, etc.
The most common medical cases observed are: intestinal parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic exocrine deficiency and divers endocrine problems (diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism). Contrary to popular belief, malnutrition is often a cause.
If everything checks out fine health-wise, then the problem may be one of behavior. There are many reasons that may push a dog to ingest his feces, a loss of environmental stimulation, fear of being reprimanded (the dog believes that he is being punished for having a bowel movement and doesn’t understand that he is being punished for having done it in the wrong place), stress, etc.
Treatment of the condition varies depending of its causes (medical versus behavior problem), though evidently, removing access to the stool is the most effective solution.
We may also try pineapple juice or the commercial product (For-Bid) mixed with the animal’s food. It will be transformed by the intestinal enzymes causing the feces to “taste bad”. We may also try Tabasco sauce or other spicy products on the stool, but unfortunately, some dogs will not be dissuaded by the effort.
Already, it being difficult to endure (nausea by the owner and bad breath for the dog), coprophagia includes its share of risks; diarrhea, vomiting, intestinal parasites… Furthermore, it’s better to eliminate the problem at the first incident so that it doesn’t become a very bad habit.