William K. Wolfrum's picture


    I have two Boston Terriers – Max and Jack. For those of you that visit, Max is the surly, fat, smart one, while Jack is the happy, athletic idiot. Needless to say, we love them completely. Max and Jack have one driving passion in life, and of late, that passion has become a bit of a pain. You see, Max and Jack are poopy aficionados.

    The Hunt for Poopy

    Any venture outside is a grand hunt for poopy for Max and Jack. They just can’t seem to get enough. It doesn’t matter what variety of poopy they find, either. Dog, people, duck, porcupine, frog, parakeet, elephant, republican, democrat, you name it, they’ll wolf it down and comment on the ethereal ambiance of its tastes and flavors.

    Now, while any poopy is fabulous poopy, cat poopy is the real victory. It’s comparable to chocolate for most humans I believe: while all poopy is fabulous, cat poopy is like the Godiva of poopy. It’s their purpose in life. Well, sleeping, chasing tennis balls and eating poopy are their purposes, in no specific order, but you get where I’m going.

    Like most of us, however, dogs don’t get to eat out too often, so their own poopy is the target.

    Drawing the Lines

    Let me point out, that the quest for poopy often occurs outside, whilst my wife or I try to encourage them to create their own poopy. Still, the hunt for poopy, their own or the poopy of others can occur anywhere, at any time. Their talent for locating, and swallowing poopy before we can tell them not to would make the most advanced truffle-sniffing pig feel like, well, something that truffle-sniffing pigs look down upon.

    So basically it is a test of wills – they doing everything in their itty-bitty little powers to procure and consume poopy, while we do everything we can to put an end to this poopy-lust forever. It is a war that will likely have no winners, and millions of poopies will probably be lost. Yet we strive forward, all four of us resolute in our goals.

    Could Poopy Be Good?

    One day I got to wondering if poopy-eating was all that bad for them. What if those sun-dried poopies that they eat like potato chips are actually giving them some nutrients that their adorable itty-bitty little bodies need? Could poopy be good for them? I was in a quandary, let me tell you. So, I brought out my old chemistry set, put it together on the kitchen table and stared stupidly at it for a while. Then, I called a veterinarian to see what someone with actual knowledge had to say about Max and Jack’s poopy prowess.

    Of Course, Poopy is Bad

    Dr. Debbie White of Lone Mountain Animal Hospital in Las Vegas, Nev., had the answers I was looking for, and then some. It turns out, poopy is not all that great for dogs, but not exactly like eating a dead, maggot-encased bird (Max ate one of those once.). Often animals do it to ingest more vitamins and nutrients. Some do it because they’re just gross.

    “There are some other diseases that are shed in stool … Toxoplasmosis which is dangerous for pregnant woman, otherwise, just gastric upset,” White said.

    Coprophagy, The Final Frontier

    The act of eating non-food items for dogs is called pica. And, it turns out there is an actual word for poopy-eating -- Coprophagy.

    “This behavior comes from when the mother dog cleans the (poopy) from the litter of dogs birth to 4 weeks,” White said.

    Many dogs will begin the practice of coprophagy during the time that their mother is cleaning their poop. The mother will usually continue this practice until the puppy is weaning. Often, the puppy will then begin to imitate its mother, and a new poopy-eater has been created.

    Can This Coprophagic Behavior Be Stopped?

    “They sell different products most include monosodium glutamate. 4-Bid, Deter, are two popular ones,” White said. “They are designed to make the stool taste bad. It sounds silly when you have to say it that way because you’d think poop would taste bad.

    “Some will leave out a pile of poop and put jalapenos or Tabasco on it to act as a deterrent for that,” White added.

    There are, of course, some other tricks to help cease this poopy addiction for your loving pooch. Should your dog be gripped by this brown menace, a good first step is to check your dog’s diet. Often coprophagy is the result of dogs not getting enough vitamins and minerals in its diet. Still, be careful not to overload your dog with vitamins, which poses its own problems.

    Another reason behind coprophagy is often just plain boredom. Ever been so bored that you’ve eaten your own poop? Well, plenty of dogs have. If your dog spends most of its time in the house or small yard without much exercise, it will start looking for something, anything to keep itself entertained. A regiment of walks and play is always helpful for both owner and dog.

    Other ways to help a dog lose interest in its own feces are to occasionally feed it a small amount of pineapple or other acidic fruit that will help change the flavors an ambiance of its poopy to something less desirable. When walking your dog in potentially poopy-populated areas, keep him on a leash and steer clear of temptation. Also, if you catch your dog in the act, call it away and reward it for saying no to poopy.

    Finally, the simplest way to help the budding Coprophagics? Keep their area clean of temptation. Picking up poopy might be an arduous affair, but what better way to show your dog your love than to keep his area blissfully poopy-free?

    What Not to Do

    Remember, rebuking or physically punishingt your dog never has positive results, especially after the fact. Dogs just don’t remember things like that and it can lead to aggressive or fearful behavior.

    Something to Look Into

    So, it turns out I don’t have two dogs with disgusting eating habits. I have two coprophagists. So now all we have to do is find ourselves a pile of poopy, make it taste bad and Max and Jack’s party-pooping days may finally be over. It’s important to remember, however, that even the best canine experts out there still don’t have an exact theory on why dogs eat poopy. Results will vary from dog to dog, but eventually, with love and attention, you should be able to help your loving pet knock that poopy monkey right of its back.


    Courtesy the Wayback Machine.



    A meditation of 1,104 words (I counted them on my word processor) on dog excrement. There are days when one really feels like writing and there is nothing to write about. This must have been one of those days. It will be interesting to see how many hits you get from Google on this one.

    Here is how Divine solved the problem:

    You know the old internet proverb:

    Better 1100 words on dog shit than picking fights in the comments.

    My sentiments exactly!Kiss

    Thanks. Please give me a word count on the rest of my posts. We'll find a use for you yet.

    I'm truly grateful for all the valuable information and useful tips as I imagine all your readers are, I'm sure this is what they have come to expect.

    Thanks! I can only hope you don't start suffering from WKW fatigue.

    He who is tired of WKW is tired of life.

    There is also one other reason for poopy eating that follows along the same line as dogs whizzing on the same spot where another dog has already whizzed. Some dogs will eat the poopy dropped by another dog or animal to eliminate the 'marker' scent of an animal marking the boundaries of its territory. They do this to 1) increase the size of their territory or 2) defend an already established territory. Removing evidence, as it were, of other animals on their turf.

    Okay. I went to the trouble of signing in today just so I could write about poopy. This makes me sad. I blame you Wolfrum. Fortunately, since you make it quite clear you love dogs, all is forgiven.

    I tend to take a lot of blame ;)

    I went to the trouble of signing in today just so I could write about poopy.

    Isn't life grand!

    I'd tell you a great story about this, except that I'm saving it for a better class of people. 


    This is really neat, back at TPM nobody wrote about cool stuff like dog shit.

    Dagblog: Sassy, left-leaning blogging, cutting across politics, business, arts, world affairs, stupid humor, smart humor, sports, social justice, and whatever we want.

    I think it is fair to say that dog excrement cuts across politics, business, arts, world affairs, stupid humor, smart humor, sports and social justice. I stand corrected. I shall remember this moment the next time I step in some.

    Guffaw! All you silly people reading this litterally... This is obviously an oblique discussion of Republicans and their shit-eating grins. Jeez, people. Wake up! ;0)

    Lol. I like to point out that sometimes when I write that "I want ham," I'm not actually talking about MidEast policies. I just want ham. ;)

    This is the kind of info that keeps me coming back to Dog Blog for more! Give Max a big wet kiss for me!

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