Coprophagia. Just giving you a different word to use when you do not want to tell your friends that your adorable puppy is a poop-eater.
Do not be embarrassed! It is so common that it almost deserves its own page in a standard puppy scrap book. The question I field most often about this issue is “Why?” This is usually not a dietary deficiency issue. It is usually not related to complex anxiety problems. Pet owners have not caused it by training or not training their pets a certain way. Brace yourself…you will not like the answer. Dogs are coprophagic because they LOVE the taste of poop.
Coprophagia is normal, it is natural, all puppies (and some dogs) do it. But you do not have to live with it. As obsessed as I am with medical wellness, the grossness factor is almost as good of a reason to discourage this behavior. As you know, Pugs are very similar to Boston Terriers in that they do not give normal puppy kisses. They lure you close with their cute faces, then lick the roof of your mouth. So having a Pug with coprophagia is simply not acceptable!
The biggest medical risk to a pet with coprophagia is infection (if eating feces from another animal such as a wild bunny or indoor cat friend) or reinfection (if eating his or her own feces) of intestinal parasites. So first and foremost, make sure your dogs AND cats are regularly being tested and treated for intestinal parasites. And now on to habit reshaping…Ask your veterinarian about oral taste deterrents. Products are available that are odorless and tasteless when eaten, but bitter when passed. The pet whose poop is being eaten is the one who should be treated. For example, if your puppy is eating his own poop, you would treat him. If he is eating the cat’s poop, you would treat the cat. This seems unfair, but hopefully, your pet will not even notice the medication and will not know he or she is being treated.
Make sure feces are removed from the yard as soon as possible, and cat litter is cleaned as soon as possible. This may require hiding around the corner with a scoop or a bag while your pet potties. Once your pup has developed new habits (like NOT eating poop), you will be able to relax your vigilance.
Coprophagia is frustrating but very treatable. Retraining with taste deterrents and environment controls usually can be done within a week. If your pet is especially stubborn, take heart in knowing that if we can not retrain our pets, they WILL almost always outgrow the habit. My professional advice is that you should wait on puppy kisses until then.
My Super Cute Pug-Nephew Gary