Thursday, May 14, 2009

Akilla Attitude #1: Eating my own poop!

We were horrified to see Akilla having a taste of her own poop the other day! Being a concerned mommy, I immediately researched its causes and effects and then I stumbled into this article:

Q: I caught my Pug Sophie eating another dog's poop in the back yard. She ate the whole thing!!!!!!! Why would she do this? How unhealthy/unsafe is this? How can I prevent her from doing this again besides watching her all the time? (She loves to walk around the neighborhood off the leash and I let her do this in the mornings and evenings when it is dark and I cannot see what she is sniffing/eating). Owner Arlette , Pug Sophie

A: Hi Arlette. You are certainly not alone with this issue. So many dog owners are horrified when they see their cute little Pug eating poop! However, there are valid reasons why a dog does this.

The most common reason is that a dog is not receiving enough nutrients. This is not to say that you do not feed Sophie a good doggie diet! However, most likely she is lacking a nutrient or mineral.

This also happens if a dog owner, in an attempt to deal with the shocking economy of today's world, opts to buy generic dog food instead of a high quality and well known dog food. The dog's body will be craving the nutrients and minerals that it needs and will often resort to eating poop.

If a dog is fed cheap dog food, their dog poop will have a large amount of undigested food still in it. The dog poop that your Pug ate, most likely came from a dog who was fed cheap dog food and left behind what your Pug interpreted as food!

Why does this happen? Because with low quality dog food, the food is not processed in a way that is best for a dog's digestive system. That very cheap dog food will then pass through the dog's body and will not be fully digested. This results in dog poop that has chunks of undigested food still in it. Then, that dog or another dog who is lacking nutrients will eat the dog poop.

It is highly recommended to do a check on your Pug's dog food. Has she grown quite a bit from that last time your chose a dog food? Perhaps she is ready to advance from puppy food to dog food or from adult dog food to senior dog food. Is Sophie taking a daily dog food supplement? If so, are you sure that she is swallowing it? (Dogs can be sneaky!).

Regarding your question of safety, no this is not safe:
  • The dog poop can contain disease infested bugs that carry Heartworms.
  • If the dog who left the "gift'" there has just about any type of worms, these will be in the poop and your Pug will ingest the worms which can be a huge health issue!
In regard to your question about how to prevent this without having to watch her all the time. The only way is to watch your Pug all of the time. While she may certainly love her freedom of being able to run without a leash, this is very unsafe for a dog. Not only because she may eat dog poop, but also because, if you cannot see what she is doing:
  • She may eat a rodent or lizard - the 2 most common carriers of Hookworms and Roundworms, thus carrying these parasites into your Pug and causing severe health issues
  • She may one day run where you do not expect her to: the road where there is an oncoming car!
  • She may eat poisonous mushrooms
  • She may run into tall grass where a tick can easily attach to her
  • She may chase a small animal, run further and faster than you ever expected and then become lost
While it is may be fun to watch Sophie enjoy running free, for her safely, you will want to begin getting her used to a leash. As you know, we do not think of the worst scenarios until they happen...and then it is too late.

Source: http://www.petpugdog.com/Q_A_Eating_Poop.html

In Akilla's case -- She had an allergic reaction (a small rash in the head) to the chicken flavored Eukanuba Puppy dog food. A dog lover and a pet shop owner (in E.Rodriguez) suggested that we try a different brand of dog food -- 'Vitality'. It's a lamb and beef flavored dog food which has a more pleasant smell. He also mentioned that the dog poop won't smell as bad too. Upon reading the article above, we immediately switched back to Eukanuba Puppy. Akilla no longer eats her poop. We also realized that the reason why 'Vitality' leaves dogs poops smelling good is because it is not properly digested. It probably still has chunks of undigested dog food so Akilla attempted to eat it. Lesson learned: stick with the more expensive and highly recommended dog food. If Akilla is prone to allergy with Eukanuba's chicken flavor, we might as well try it's lamb flavor. Anything for the baby. :-)

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