Why Do Do Dogs Eat Poo?

“Why Do Do Dogs Eat Poo?” is a question that sets John Burns, BVMS, MRCVS, alight with intention to correct what he perceives is a widespread misunderstanding. Burns has now published a tiny, yet in a subtle way fiery, essay to try to correct that misunderstanding. That essay is:

Why Do Dogs Eat Poo?” John Burns, Veterinary Record, vol. 182, no. 8, February 2018, p. 234. The author, at Burns Pet Nutrition, Kidwelly, UK, explains:

“Far from being a harmless hangover from the dog’s ancestry as postulated by [previous] authors, or simply a bad habit, I suggest that coprophagy is a depraved appetite and that it is an indication of a low-grade health problem, probably of the digestive system…. In my experience, pet owners almost always overfeed and are reluctant to reduce feeding amounts. If they do comply, there is an excellent chance that in a very short time the dog will lose interest in eating feces or any non-food material.”

BONUS [distantly related]: The 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for nutrition was awarded to Wasmia Al-Houty of Kuwait University and Faten Al-Mussalam of the Kuwait Environment Public Authority, for showing that dung beetles are finicky eaters. That work is documented in the study “Dung Preference of the Dung Beetle Scarabaeus cristatus Fab (Coleoptera-Scarabaeidae) from Kuwait,” Wasmia Al-Houty and Faten Al-Musalam, Journal of Arid Environments, vol. 35, no. 3, 1997, pp. 511-6.

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