If you’re here, then you’ve probably caught your adorable Beagle eating its poop. Don’t panic, punish, or even think of rehoming your four-legged animal. Coprophagia, which is the scientific name for this poop-eating habit, is a relatively common phenomenon among our Beagle companions and dogs in general. In fact, research has found that one in six dogs are serious poop eaters, and 24% have been caught eating poop at least once. 92% of poop-eating dogs prefer fresh poop and hounds like Beagles are more likely to have this problem than any other dog breed. Despite being common, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with coprophagia.
Why do beagles eat poop? There are many reasons for this, from keeping their spaces clean to boredom, seeking attention, health and nutritional issues, and simply because they like the taste. Though poop coprophagia is a common and natural behavior, it’s certainly one that needs to be addressed. It often points to an issue that needs to be changed regarding your dog’s care; plus, your Beagle can become ill.
Of all the disgusting things dogs do, including drinking from the toilet and licking their butts, nothing is more disgusting than eating poop. Their motivation may be understandable, but it certainly doesn’t make it less gross. While some dogs can be particular or fickle when it comes to poop eating, most Beagles will eat anything, including their own poop, other dog’s poop, and poop from other animals such as cats, birds, rabbits, etc. The good news is you can do a couple of things to limit or stop this unpleasant act. This post will go over them so you can better care for your beloved Beagle.
Why Do Beagles Eat Poop?
There are several reasons for a Beagle to eat poop, ranging from behavioral, health, and nutritional issues.
Behavioral – Several theories have been developed explaining the behavioral reasons for coprophagia. The first is nursing. It’s only natural for a bitch with puppies to want to keep the den clean. For them, licking their puppies and eating poop in the process keeps the den clean and removes the scent that would otherwise make it easier for the young ones to be detected by predators. A Beagle puppy will imitate this behavior from its mother. Also, as part of their development, puppies explore their environment by picking up things in their mouths, including fecal matter, to see if it’s edible. Other behavioral causes include stress, boredom, separation anxiety, isolation, fear of being punished, and so on.
Seeking Nutrition – Dogs have short digestive systems that process food very quickly and don’t pull as many nutrients out of the food. This means that a fresh pile of poop may still have some nutritional value, making your Beagle believe it’s a healthy snack. Lack of vitamin B is among the leading causes of coprophagia, though other vitamins and minerals are also suspected. If you’re giving your dog food with fillers, it will only fill up their belly but have little to no nutritional value. These fillers don’t get digested properly and get passed out in the stool. Since they contain spices and flavors, your Beagle turns to consume their poop because they like the taste.
Health Issues – Sometimes, coprophagia is a sign of an illness in your dog. For starters, any medical condition that prevents or limits the absorption of nutrients such as inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic insufficiency, and parasitic infections, will cause your dog to eat their poop in an attempt to get more nutrients. Secondly, any health condition that leads to changes in appetite like Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, and diabetes can also lead to poop-eating behavior.
If your Beagle has just randomly started eating poop, it’s important to rule out any medical conditions before diving into behavioral causes and solutions.
Why Does My Beagle Eat Cat Poop
Beagles eat anything and everything, at any time. In fact, they are essentially a bottomless pit of food and never seem to know when to stop. Poop is an organic matter, and to your Beagle, it looks incredibly appealing. If they really want to eat now and there is no dog food, fecal matter can become tempting food sources. But much to our disgust, many dogs indulge in not only their poop but also other animals’ fecal matter as well.
Beagles are scavengers in nature, and cat poop is just another thing to scavenge and eat. It’s not uncommon to find them in the litter box seeking out and eating cat poop. Here are the primary reasons for this poop-eating behavior:
Taste – As disgusting as it may sound, your Beagle might like the taste of cat poop. Cats are obligate carnivores, and their food tends to contain more meat and protein than dogs food. Cat’s fecal matter probably tastes like cat food, which makes it attractive to dogs.
Nutritional Deficiency – Like dogs, the feline digestive tract is relatively short, meaning that cat fecal matter can contain undigested nutrients like protein. If your dog is missing nutrients in their diets, probably from eating food with fillers, they might turn to cat food to get those nutrients.
Health Issues – Medical conditions can be to blame too. Cushing’s disease or diabetes can make your Beagle ravenously hungry, causing them to turn to other food sources. They will eat anything and everything that has even the slightest resemblance to food, including cat poop. Intestinal malabsorption can also prevent your dog from getting the nutrients they need from their food, forcing them to turn to cat food for the missing nutrients.
Boredom – Some dogs do this just to add a little excitement to their day. Beagles are also opportunity eaters, and since cat poop is readily available in the house, it can be a tempting food source if there’s nothing else for the dog to eat.
How Do I Stop My Beagle from Eating Poop
If a Beagle eats their poop, it may lead to an upset stomach with some horrendously gassy and smelly farts. And, if they’re being treated for worms, they will re-infect themselves through eggs found in the fecal matter. It gets worse when eating feces from other animals because those droppings may carry parasites, viruses, or toxins. Top concerns include worms (tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms) and diseases like Campylobacter and salmonella. If your dog has allergies, the undigested remnants of allergens in the poop can trigger an allergic reaction. There are no benefits to letting your Beagle eat poop, so here’s how you can stop them from this harmful behavior:
Remove Access – Beagles are opportunity eaters, so if your remove access to poop, there won’t be any for them to eat. This means cleaning up after them as soon as they poop. If you have a cat, keep their litterbox clean or station it somewhere your dog can’t reach.
If you have a backyard, don’t just leave your dog there. It’s a good idea to supervise to ensure they’re not eating droppings from other animals. Leash control is also important when you go for walks or to the park. This keeps you in charge of where your dog goes and what they do.
Train Them – Animal behaviorists know that good normal behavior starts with early training. During training classes, work hard on the commands ‘drop it’ or ‘leave it’ to teach your dog not to eat poop and ‘come’ to keep them away from the temptation.
Exercise Your Dog – Whether it’s a Beagle puppy or an adult, providing a decent amount of exercise daily is helpful in many ways. It allows them to release pent-up energy, stress, anxiety, and other issues causing the poop-eating behavior. It will also let them poop outdoors instead of indoors where they will have access to the poop.
Eliminate Boredom – Boredom is one of the biggest reasons dogs resort to bad behaviors. Beagles are curious, and if they have nothing to do, they will find trouble. Work to create a stimulating environment for your dog by having lots of interactive toys to keep them busy while you’re away.
Provide a Nutritious Diet – As mentioned earlier, if your Beagle is eating poop, it could indicate a nutritional deficiency. If you’re offering real food with fillers, then this is most likely the cause. We recommend switching to quality food with high nutritional value and free of fillers. There are several wholesome food items that dogs can thrive on, providing them with all the nutrients they need in the food. Be sure to provide proper portions, a balanced diet, and check with your vet if your Beagle has any special dietary needs.
What to Put In Dog Food to Stop Eating Poop
In addition to limiting access and ensuring good nutrition, there are some additives that you can put in your dog’s food to make poop eating less appealing. These home remedies have produced amazing results for some Beagle owners, and they won’t harm your dog to try. They include:
Meat Tenderizer – As mentioned earlier, some dogs eat their poop because they like the taste. Sprinkling meat tenderizer over their food will change the taste of their poop, creating an unpleasant taste and smell for your Beagle’s senses. Meat tenderizer also contains papain. This protein-digesting enzyme helps absorb nutrients, thus reducing urges to seek other food sources for nutritional benefits.
Pineapple – Adding a few pineapple chunks to your dog’s food is also believed to help break the habit of poop eating. That’s because it contains an enzyme called bromelain that aids in digestion and the absorption of protein, thus decreasing the urge to seek other food sources. It’s also believed to cause poop to taste bad, making it less tasty for poop eaters.
Pumpkin – Like pineapple, canned pumpkin alters the taste of stool, thus acting as a deterrent. It can also help with intestinal issues like diarrhea and constipation, thus aiding in bowel movement and the absorption of nutrients, decreasing urges to seek other food sources.
Potty Mouth – This supplement chew causes stool to taste bad, so poop eaters cannot find it appealing. The ingredients of this product are brewer’s yeast, cayenne, biotin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, niacinamide, iron, and copper. Be sure to use the recommended dose.
Prozyme Powder – If your Beagle is on a great diet but is still eating poop, consider this supplement. It helps dogs that are having trouble absorbing nutrients. More absorption of nutrients can significantly reduce urges to look for other sources of food.
Some people choose to add a dab of unpleasant additives like hot sauce and lemon juice to the poop. When the dog comes to inspect the poop, the hot sauce will burn their mouth or they’ll be turned away by the bitter taste of lemon, making for such an unpleasant experience that will deter any future attempts to eat poop. While this might work, it doesn’t fix the underlying problem. Additionally, hot sauce can cause actual burns, and lemon can be toxic to dogs.