Coprophagia and Dogs that Eat their Own Feces
Some dogs that eat their own feces or are coprophagic are deficient in B vitamins and/or minerals. A few may have a pancreatic enzyme disorder. This is called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency and occurs primarily in adult German Shepards. Most dogs that are coprophagic do not have a medical or psychological problem. Research now indicates that this may be a normal behavior associated with evolutionary factors that have been previously under appreciated.
Wild dogs and wolves scavenging for food are coprophagic and mothers with young pups are normally coprophagic. In puppies, the behavior may stimulate nervous system development through exposure to deoxycholic acid. This behavior may also somehow be involved in playing and learning.
To prevent dogs from becoming coprophagic, keep your yard free of feces and take your dog out on a leash.
Food additives such as monosodium glutamate make feces distasteful and are somewhat successful in deterring this behavior.
Some dogs with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) stimulate themselves to defecate and ingest their own feces from their rectum. These dogs suffer from extreme anxiety and should be referred to a behavioral specialist.