Have you ever seen your cute Shih Tzu doing something extraordinary, like eating their poop? It sounds yucky. But guess what – it’s not just your Shih Tzu. Many dogs do this, too! You might wonder why any dog, especially the adorable Shih Tzus, would want to do this. Well, there’s a unique name for this habit – it’s called ‘Coprophagia.’
It’s a weird word. But it’s important to know if you’re a pet owner. In this article, we’re going to explore some surprising reasons why Shih Tzus might decide that their poop is a snack. From being super hungry to feeling bored or even because they have a tummy problem, there are many reasons why your furry friend might do this.
But don’t worry. Understanding why they do it is the first step in helping them stop. We will dive into all these reasons and give you some excellent tips on keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and happy. So, let’s start this exciting journey to discover the secret world of our Shih Tzu friends and their quirky habits!
While this may gross out some people, it’s a widespread behavior for this dog breed. Many owners of Shih Tzus have come to accept it as part of life with their furry friend. However, some people do wonder if eating poop is unhealthy for Shih Tzus. The good news is that, while it may not be the most delicious habit, it generally isn’t harmful to your dog. So if your Shih Tzu likes to snack on feces, there’s no need to worry too much. Just watch their diet and ensure they get all the nutrients they need.
What is Coprophagia?
Coprophagia” might sound like a complicated word, but it’s just the scientific term for when animals, like your Shih Tzu, eat their poop. It’s a bit gross. But understanding this weird habit is essential for keeping your furry friend healthy.
Dogs, including Shih Tzus, might eat their poop for several reasons. Sometimes, they’re just curious or bored. Other times, it might be because they’re not feeling well or not getting the right food. It’s like when you eat something you shouldn’t because you’re super hungry or just because it’s there.
You’re not alone if you’ve seen your dog doing this. Many dog owners have noticed their pets munching on their poop. It might seem unusual to us, but it’s common for dogs. So, if your Shih Tzu does this, know that many other dogs do too.
11 Reasons why do Shih Tzus eat their own Poop
Why do Shih Tzus eat their poop? The following are the reasons:
1) A Condition Called Coprophagia
- What It Is: We already learned that coprophagia is the fancy term for eating poop. Shih Tzus might do this habitually, just like some people bite their nails.
- Why It Matters: If your Shih Tzu has this habit, you must know to help them break it.
2) Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Understanding IBD: This is a tummy problem that can make your Shih Tzu feel uncomfortable. It can cause them to eat strange things, including their poop.
- Signs to Watch For: If your Shih Tzu has diarrhea or seems to lose weight, it might be IBD.
3) Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)
- EPI Explained: This is a health issue where your Shih Tzu’s body doesn’t make enough of a particular juice (called enzymes) to digest its food properly.
- The Link to Poop Eating: Because their food isn’t digested well, they might eat their poop to try to get more nutrients.
4) Gastrointestinal Parasites
- Parasites in the Tummy: Tiny bugs in your Shih Tzu’s tummy can make them feel hungry, leading them to eat their poop.
- Keeping Your Dog Healthy: Regular vet check-ups can help catch these bugs early.
5) Food Allergies
- Allergies and Diet: Just like people, dogs can have allergies that upset their stomachs. This can make them eat their poop.
- Finding the Right Food: It’s like figuring out what foods make you sick and avoiding them.
6) Poor Diet
- Importance of Good Food: If your Shih Tzu isn’t eating the right kind of food, they might eat poop to try to get more of what they’re missing.
- Choosing Healthy Options: Picking the right food for your Shih Tzu is super important.
- Stress in Dogs: Just like you feel weird when stressed, dogs do too. Stress can make them do odd things, like eating poop.
- Calming Your Pet: Helping your Shih Tzu relax can stop this behavior.
8) Medication Side Effects
- Medicine Matters: Sometimes, medicines can have side effects, like making your Shih Tzu eat their poop.
- Talk to Your Vet: Discuss your dog’s medication with your vet.
9) Increased Appetite
- Feeling Extra Hungry: Health issues like diabetes can make your Shih Tzu super hungry, leading them to eat their poop.
- Health Check-ups: Regular vet visits are essential to keep your Shih Tzu healthy.
10) Learned Behavior
- Learning From Others: Puppies might learn to eat poop from their moms or siblings.
- Unlearning the Habit: With training, your Shih Tzu can unlearn this behavior.
11) Seeking Attention
- Looking for Love: Sometimes, your Shih Tzu might eat poop to get your attention.
- Giving the Right Attention: Spending quality time with your Shih Tzu can help stop this.
Health Implications of Poop Eating in Shih Tzus
Short-term Health Risks
- Yucky, But True: Eating poop can make your Shih Tzu sick in the short term. It’s like if you ate something gross from the trash.
- What Can Happen: They might get an upset stomach, vomit, or diarrhea. It’s essential to keep an eye on them and make sure they’re okay.
Long-term Health Concerns
- Serious Stuff Over Time: If your Shih Tzu keeps eating poop, it can lead to more significant health problems in the long run.
- Possible Issues: They could get parasites or worsen their tummy problems. It’s like eating junk food always; eventually, it’s not good for your health.
When to See a Veterinarian
- Vet Visits are Important: Just like you go to the doctor, your Shih Tzu needs to see the vet, especially if they keep eating poop.
- Signs to Watch For: If your Shih Tzu seems sick, is losing weight, or keeps eating poop, it’s time to visit the vet.
Nutritional Aspects of Coprophagia
The Role of Diet in Poop Eating
- Good Food Matters: Sometimes, not eating the right food can make your Shih Tzu start eating their poop.
- Balanced Meals: It’s like how you need to eat your fruits and veggies. Your Shih Tzu needs the right mix of food, too.
- Missing Nutrients: If your Shih Tzu isn’t getting certain nutrients, they might try to get them from their poop.
- Healthy Diet: Ensure your Shih Tzu gets all the vitamins and minerals they need in their meals.
Behavioral and Psychological Factors in Coprophagia
Stress and Anxiety
- Feeling Anxious: Just like you feel nervous sometimes, dogs can feel that way too. Stress can make them eat their poop.
- Helping Them Relax: Giving your Shih Tzu a calm and happy home can stop this behavior.
- Looking for Love: Sometimes, your Shih Tzu might want your attention, and eating poop is a way to get it.
- Spending Time Together: Playing with your Shih Tzu and loving them can help stop this behavior.
Preventive Measures and Solutions for Coprophagia in Shih Tzus
Immediate Clean-Up Strategies
- Quick Action: As soon as your Shih Tzu poops, clean it up. It’s like picking up toys so you don’t trip over them.
- Why It Helps: No poop around means nothing for your Shih Tzu to eat. Simple, right?
The Role of Diet in Preventing Poop Eating
- Healthy Eating: Make sure your Shih Tzu eats good, nutritious food. It’s like how eating healthy foods makes you feel better.
- Choosing the Right Food: Ask your vet about the best diet for your Shih Tzu. They can tell you what food will keep your pet healthy.
Exercise and Mental Stimulation
- Stay Active: Play with your Shih Tzu and take them for walks. It’s like how you feel happier after playing outside.
- Fun and Games: Keep your Shih Tzu’s brain busy with toys and training. It stops them from getting bored and eating poop.
Using Deterrent Sprays
- A Bitter Solution: There are special sprays that make poop taste bad. It’s like putting something yucky-tasting on your nails so you won’t bite them.
- How to Use: Spray it on the poop, and it’ll help stop your Shih Tzu from wanting to eat it.
Training Your Shih Tzu
- Teaching New Tricks: You can train your Shih Tzu to leave their poop alone. It’s like learning to say no to things you shouldn’t do.
- Positive Reinforcement: Give your Shih Tzu treats and praise when they don’t eat poop. It’s like getting a gold star for good behavior.
Expert Advice on Coprophagia in Shih Tzus
Talking to Veterinarians
- Expert Help: Vets know a lot about pets and their weird habits. They’re like doctors for animals.
- Why It’s Important: They can check if your Shih Tzu’s poop-eating is due to a health problem and advise on what to do.
Insights from Animal Behaviorists
- Understanding Your Pet: Animal behaviorists are like detectives who figure out why pets act a certain way.
- Their Role: They can help you understand why your Shih Tzu eats poop and how to change this behavior.
Case Studies and Success Stories
- Real-Life Examples: Hearing stories about other Shih Tzus who stopped eating poop can be beneficial and encouraging.
- Learning from Others: These stories can give you ideas and show that it’s possible to help your Shih Tzu stop this habit.
How to Stop your Shih Tzus from Eating their own Poop?
It’s essential to get your Shih Tzu to stop this behavior as soon as possible for their and your household’s sake.
Understand why your Shih Tzu is eating their own poop
- Figuring It Out: Just like solving a puzzle, understanding why your Shih Tzu eats poop is the first step to stopping it.
- Different Reasons: Remember, they might do it for many reasons, like hunger, boredom, or health issues.
Cleaning Up Immediately
- Quick Action: As soon as your Shih Tzu goes potty, clean it up. Think of it like clearing your plate right after eating.
- Preventing the Habit: No poop around means no chance for your Shih Tzu to eat it.
Feed your Shih Tzu a high-quality diet.
- Good Food for Good Health: Make sure your Shih Tzu eats healthy, yummy food. It’s like choosing fruits and veggies over chips.
- Ask the Vet: Your vet can tell you the best food for your Shih Tzu.
Provide your Shih Tzu with plenty of exercises and mental stimulation
- Fun and Games: Keep your Shih Tzu active and entertained. It’s like how you feel happy playing or doing fun things.
Prevent Boredom: A busy Shih Tzu is less likely to eat poop.
Try using a deterrent spray on your dog’s feces
There are several commercial deterrent sprays available that can help to discourage your Shih Tzu from eating their poop. These sprays typically contain bitter flavors that dogs do not like.
Train your Shih Tzu not to eat its feces
- A Bitter Taste: Some sprays make poop taste harmful to dogs. It’s like putting something sour on your tongue.
- How to Use: Spray it on their poop, and it’ll help stop your Shih Tzu from wanting to snack on it.
Training ‘Leave It’ Command
- Teaching Good Habits: Teach your Shih Tzu a command like “leave it” to stop them from eating poop. It’s like learning to stop at a red light.
- Rewards Work Best: Give them a treat or praise when they listen. It’s like getting a sticker for doing well in school.
Shih Tzus eating their poop is not healthy and can lead to several health problems. If your Shih Tzu is eating its own poop, there are some things you can do to help stop the behavior. The most important thing is to be patient and consistent with training. Try different methods until you find one that works for your dog. And remember to share this article with other Shih Tzu owners so they can keep their dogs healthy, too!
Why Does Shih Tzus Eat Their Poop?
Shih Tzus might eat their poop for many reasons like hunger, boredom, or health issues. It’s their way of reacting to something they need or feel.
Is It Common for Shih Tzus to Eat Poop?
Yes, it’s pretty common. Many dogs, including Shih Tzus, do this from time to time. It’s a weird habit, but not rare.
Can Eating Poop Harm My Shih Tzu?
Eating poop can sometimes make your Shih Tzu sick. It’s like eating spoiled food that can give you a tummy ache or worse.
How Can I Stop My Shih Tzu from Eating Poop?
Clean up their poop quickly, feed them a healthy diet, keep them active, use deterrent sprays, and teach them commands like “leave it.” It’s about making better choices for them.
Are Certain Foods Better to Prevent This Habit?
Yes, foods that are high in nutrients and keep your Shih Tzu full and healthy can help. It’s like eating a balanced meal to keep you going.