Search Locations
Find Us
Open 7 Days a Week

How to Prevent Dogs from Eating Poop & Why They’re Doing It

how to prevent dogs from eating poop

Why Did My Dog Eat Poop?!

Although poop-eating, or coprophagia, is relatively normal for dogs and puppies, it’s a wildly unsightly habit. Not to mention, there’s really nothing more grotesque than watching your pup munch on its own or another dog’s stool before moseying over and planting a wet one on your face. 

Among all of the gross hobbies your dog could have––drinking toilet water, rolling in mud, licking their behinds––poop-eating is among the least ideal. Fortunately, there are several ways to discourage it. Here are some key tips for how to prevent dogs from eating poop altogether.

Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop

American Kennel Club (AKC) shares that in many cases, dogs will take up poop-eating as a result of some sort of environmental stress or behavior triggers, including:

  1. Isolation: Research shows that dogs cooped up in a kennel or basement away from their families are more likely to eat stool than those living in spaces near their family.
  2. Confinement: Dogs who spend excessive amounts of time confined in small spaces can develop poop-eating habits, which means it’s not uncommon to see this in dogs who have been rescued from shelters. 
  3. Anxiety: Coprophagia is a typical response to punishment or harsh house training methods. In this case, dogs may eat their own poop to remove any evidence of using the bathroom where they shouldn’t have.
  4. Seeking Attention: Dogs who consume their own poop may be out to get a reaction or consider it a game.
  5. Association With Real Food: Dogs fed in the same proximity as their poop may make a connection between the odors and ultimately, over time, be unable to differentiate.
  6. Nursing Mothers: Nursing females often eat the feces of their young to keep their space clean.
  7. Nursing Pups: In some cases, puppies will become confused by sniffing fecal odor on their mother’s breath after she’s cleaned them or their den. Mothers may often vomit food mixed with fecal matter, which may lead the puppy to develop this same habit.
  8. Elderly/Sick Pet: Sometimes, a healthy dog will consume feces from a weaker canine family member. Researchers predict this may be related to a dog’s instinct to protect its pack.
  9. Taste: Dogs sometimes eat the stool of another species like cats or horses solely because they find the taste enjoyable.

Furthermore, if your pet starts snacking away on poop, you should consult with your vet to rule out other underlying problems like:

  • Parasites
  • Nutrient-deficient diets
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Diabetes, Cushing’s, thyroid disease, and other appetite-increasing conditions 
  • Steroids or other drugs

How to Prevent Dogs From Eating Poop

Is it bad for dogs to eat poop? Stool, especially found in other species, often contains certain beneficial nutrients. However, it can also contain harmful bacteria, so it’s best to dissuade them as best as possible. Try out strategies like vitamin supplementation, enzyme supplementation, and taste-aversion products like poop-eating deterrents. Along with that, dog owners have seen improvements following training and environmental management methods such as:

  • Keep the dog’s living space clean
  • Keep the yard clean and free of poop
  • For owners with both dogs and cats, store the litter box out of reach
  • Closely monitor dogs on walks and immediately pick up after them
  • Work on commands like “leave it” and “come,” rewarding with a treat

Additionally, AKC provided these facts on fecal-eating for pet parents to consider:

  • Coprophagia was more common in multi-dog households. In single-dog homes, only 20 percent of dogs had the habit, while in homes with three dogs, that rose to 33 percent
  • Poop eaters are no harder to house train than any other dogs
  • Females are more likely to eat poop, and intact males were least likely
  • 92 percent of poop eaters want fresh stuff, only one to two days old
  • 85 percent of poop eaters will not eat their own feces, only that of other dogs
  • Greedy eaters—dogs who steal food off tables—tend to be poop eaters

So, is it normal for dogs to eat their poop? Yes. But as you’ve learned, the causes and solutions to this are not always simple. Assess the situation as well as your dog’s everyday living and eating environment, and adjust accordingly to minimize exposure and ultimately any poop-eating opportunity. If you find these at-home prevention tips and tricks are ineffective, contact your local AZPetVet so we can help you come up with a plan for how to prevent your dog from eating poop.

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Detecting & Managing Worms in Dogs

worms in dogs

What Causes Worms in Dogs? 

Nobody wants to think about anything creepy or crawly invading their pup’s internal organs. Still, it’s every pet parent’s essential responsibility to understand the risks, signs, and treatment options available if your dog contracts worms. The first rule is don’t panic. Worms are a relatively common condition in domestic dogs, typically referred to as intestinal parasites, and can infect dogs of any age. Some worms can even be transferred to people, with immunosuppressed people and small children being the most vulnerable.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that there are five types of common worms in dogs that parents should be aware of: roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, and heartworms. 

“What do worms look like in dog poop?” is perhaps the most common question we hear our pet parents ask. Certain roundworms and hookworms will appear as small to large, off-white to tan, spaghetti shaped parasites in the stool. Tapeworms will appear as small, off-white to tan segments in the stool or clinging to the hair around the privates. Fresh segments will be white and may expand and contract, but dry segments often resemble rice grains or sesame seeds and are darker in color. However, some worms can be digested and won’t appear in the stool.

The Arizona Humane Society lays out how each of the common worms in dogs might be transmitted: 

  • Roundworm – Commonly transmitted to puppies prior to birth (while in the uterus). They can also be transmitted by nursing from an infected mother and through feces or contaminated soil. Ingesting infected rodents also increases susceptibility. 
  • Tapeworm – Commonly transmitted by fleas as a result of self-grooming and swallowing an infected flea that grows into a tapeworm.  
  • Hookworm – Commonly transmitted by eggs passing through feces of infected dogs and hatching into larvae. These larvae can often be swallowed or penetrate the dog’s foot pads or skin. Nursing dogs can also transmit hookworms to their pups. Hookworms are transmissible to humans.
  • Heartworm – Larvae are transmitted by mosquitoes from pet to pet and are prevalent throughout the country. Dogs that are infected carry thousands of microscopic larvae within their bloodstream, and when mosquitoes bite, they suck out the blood, swallowing the tiny worms and passing them to the next dog they bite. The adult worms grow quite large in the heart and lungs and can be life-threatening. 
  • Whipworm – Commonly transmitted by ingestion of food or water contaminated with whipworm eggs. Those eggs mature and attach to the intestinal tract, feeding on the dog’s blood. The eggs are often passed through the stool and remain in the soil where they mature, then the process repeats. Grooming tools can also carry contaminated eggs.

The Humane Society also provides detail for each parasite and their related symptoms and prevention. However, each parasite impacts every dog differently.  Here are some general warning signs owners can look out for:

  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Poor coat appearance
  • Intestinal blockage/pneumonia
  • Deficiencies in nutrition
  • Anemia
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite

Not all dogs with parasites will have clinical signs. Parasites come in many shapes and sizes, and although some may be impossible to see with the naked eye, they can still cause severe problems. Luckily, they’re preventable and treatable with proper veterinary care. 

Many deworming medications have been proven safe and effective, however, it is always recommended to discuss with your veterinarian prior to administering any medication. Worm infestations can be life-threatening for dogs if caught too late or left untreated. Some parasites can be transmitted to their human companions. It’s recommended that you check your pet frequently for parasites with the help of your pet’s veterinarian. This way, they can work with you to develop a treatment plan and get your pup on the fast track to recovery.

If you’re worried your pet might have a worm infection, immediately contact your nearest AZPetVet location and make an appointment.

If you would like to learn more about parasites visit https://www.petsandparasites.org/

 

[DISCLAIMER]

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week – September 20-26, 2020

Why You Should Consider Special Needs Animals for Adoption

 

Shelters and rescues are packed with homeless pets. At AZPetVet, we work with many rescue groups and organizations around the Valley, such as LovePup, to help as many animals in need of adoption as we possibly can. The ASPCA estimates that around 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year – approximately 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). Special needs animals are consistently overlooked for adoption simply because so many people prefer to adopt cute puppies and kittens.

If you search ‘animals up for adoption near me’, you’ll get a huge string of results from all sorts of shelter and rescue organizations vying for your attention. All of them have pets that have been waiting weeks, months, and sometimes years to find their fur-ever homes. Typically, ‘less adoptable’ refers to animals in some unique categories including special needs and even hair color. While the term ‘special needs’ might sound intimidating, it’s a category term for pets who may need a little extra care. Physical disability, behavior, chronic illness, or medical conditions can all put an animal into this category, reducing their chance of finding a home. That’s why PetFinder.com created ‘Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week’ – to help raise awareness of these wonderful animals who are too often overlooked. Here, we’ll highlight the most common types of special needs pets and the reasons you may want to consider them.

Older Dogs

Senior pets end up in shelters for a variety of reasons. Some may have health conditions that can be managed with diet and medications, others are perfectly healthy. Sometimes, the owner can no longer afford to care for them, becomes ill, moves, or just doesn’t want a pet anymore. Given the chance, older dogs can adapt to a new home and family, and become wonderful companion animals for families. Older dogs are especially great for individuals that enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, as they require a lot less exercise, and are often just happy to curl up next to their beloved person. Many people prefer to skip the rambunctiousness, potty training, and additional training that comes with adopting a puppy or kitten. Older pets usually know basic commands and tend to be more mellow, so they’re ideal for senior citizens. And yes, old dogs can learn new tricks – it’s just a matter of working with them to develop new habits. Positive reinforcement is the best approach. The Arizona Humane Society even offers a Senior to Senior adoption program with discounted fees. Like people, older pets will require regular wellness checks to keep them healthy and happy for life, so this should also be considered when adopting a senior animal.

Pets With Medical Conditions

Many shelter dogs and cats have some form of short- or long-term medical condition, especially older animals. Younger animals with less developed immune systems, or that haven’t received the required vaccination series can contract diseases, like parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough, or Valley Fever. With the right family or individual, plus regular veterinary care, many health conditions can be managed through medications, lifestyle and dietary modifications, and some good old fashioned TLC. With the right treatment and care, most pets will enjoy a good quality of life for years to come with their new families.

Hearing loss or deafness is another reason people will overlook adoptable pets. Congenital deafness often occurs in predominantly white or merle-coated breeds like Dalmatians, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, English Setters, white Boxers, and white Bull Terriers. While they may not be able to hear, most of these pets can learn simple sign language commands. Aside from the hearing loss, they’re still the same wonderful, loving creatures – they just need the chance to show it.

Behavior Problems

Just like people, no pet is perfect. Behavior problems are a common reason for people surrendering animals to a shelter or rescue. Pets with behavior problems have special needs, and require consistent, specialized training from a professional to get them back on track. Behavior issues can range from poor potty training, separation anxiety, or not getting along with other animals/children, to aggression. Many issues can be resolved with stability, consistent training, regular exercise and play, and of course, love.

Black Dogs & Cats

Research studies consistently show that black dogs and cats have a more difficult time getting adopted than others. Black dogs and cats are often left behind in shelters and rescues due to centuries of ingrained superstitions and old wives’ tales. The reality is that black dogs and cats are just as loveable as any other pet. While it may be harder to capture their cuteness and features in a photo without proper lighting, no matter what, black cats and dogs bring the same brand of goofy, unconditional love as other pets.

Remember, loving pets come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and breeds. Take some time to get to know one another when you’re looking for a new pet. You never know, it could be a loving match for life. Good luck in your search!

Need a good vet for your new pet? AZPetVet has 21 locations around the Valley. Click here to find a location near you.

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

 

 

 

When Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth?

Call the Tooth Fairy — Are Puppies Meant to Lose Teeth?

Fuzzy, cuddly, and adorable — it’s no doubt that having a puppy in the family can bring endless joy to your life! However, there is one aspect to puppies that can be a little less than pleasant — their teeth. These baby teeth are sharp like needles and can be a nightmare to your furniture, curtains, and shoes, as well as to your own arms and ankles. But remember… puppies will lose all of their baby teeth eventually.

When do puppies lose their teeth? It really depends on the breed and the dog, but puppies will generally start to lose their baby teeth at around four months old.

The Life Cycle of Puppy Teeth

For newborn pups, their teeth will typically start to grow in around two weeks old. You’ll be able to tell that your little pup is teething if they are drooling more or chewing on more things. These baby teeth can be very sharp and unpleasant. Since puppies drink their mom’s milk and then move to kibble, it may cause you to wonder why puppies have such sharp teeth in the first place. One common thought is that domestication has not fully impacted their teeth. Historically, wild dogs had to have razor-sharp teeth in order to tear into their first taste of meat. It’s also thought that sharp teeth will help with the weaning process, as well as teach bite inhibition.

Puppies start to lose their baby teeth at around four months old as their adult teeth begin to come in. Sometimes you may find that a baby tooth will be stubborn and will remain in their mouth… if this happens, you should consult your local veterinarian as the tooth might need to be extracted.

Do Puppies Lose All Baby Teeth?

Eventually, your pup will lose all 28 of its baby teeth. Due to the fact that these furry friends don’t eat much hard food and mainly drink their mother’s milk as pups, the baby teeth don’t include any grinding molars. Over the course of their teething period where they transition from 28 baby teeth to 42 adult canine teeth, your pup will gain some molars to help grind up/chew their food.

You may find a sharp baby tooth in your carpet over the course of this period; however, it is more likely that your pup will swallow the majority of their baby teeth while they eat. So, no need to alert the puppy tooth fairy!

Discomfort During the Teething Period

Just like humans, it’s common for your furry friend to experience a certain level of discomfort while teething. They may whine more than usual or chew on more of your beloved personal items. It’s important to do what you can to help ease their discomfort during this period; try to find quality chew toys specifically designed for teething pups.

Although it may be easy to get frustrated from time to time when you find that they’ve chewed up your favorite sneakers – again – try to be mindful and aware of the changes they are experiencing. Before you know it, your puppy will lose all of their baby teeth and your shoes will be safe once again!

[DISCLAIMER] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Does Separation Anxiety Exist in Dogs and How to Ease Separation Anxiety

How to Help my Dog with Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can be a serious problem for pups and their owners. This issue goes beyond the regular little whimpers and whines as owners get ready to leave the house. Destructive behavior can result from separation anxiety, leaving parts of the house torn up, as well as can be potentially dangerous for the dog. Being able to properly recognize true separation anxiety symptoms early on will ensure your furry friend can get the proper help and training that they need in order to overcome it.

However, it can be difficult to tell whether or not your companion is suffering from separation anxiety or if it is just bad behavior. A good indicator is if your pup still exhibits similar behavior when you are around. If so, this is probably just due to a lack of training and not separation anxiety. If you are still uncertain, consider setting up a video camera in your home to record how your pup reacts when you are away.

What Causes Separation Anxiety?

It isn’t clear why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety over others. There can be a number of experiences that trigger separation anxiety, including being abandoned at a shelter, losing a loved one, change in routine, moving to a new place, and experiencing a traumatic event while being left alone.

Due to there being a number of factors that can contribute to a pup’s separation anxiety, it’s important to be able to recognize and help ease your dog’s separation anxiety early on before it gets worse.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

There are a number of symptoms and indicators that your pup may be experiencing separation anxiety when they are alone. These indications of extreme stress can include:

  • Excessive howling or barking
  • Trying to escape
  • Having “accidents” inside despite being potty trained
  • Chewing, tearing, and digging
  • Pacing
  • Excessive drooling and panting

How to Ease Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Depending on the severity of the situation, there are a number of ways to treat separation anxiety. All possible solutions do require lots of patience and a persistent mindset, as it will take time for your furry friend to overcome their separation anxiety.

Potential treatments to help ease your dog’s separation anxiety include:

  • Counterconditioning: Counterconditioning takes a negative experience or feeling and turns it into something positive. One way to do this is to give your pup some delicious food or treats to enjoy while you are away. This turns a negative experience (being left alone) into a positive one (receiving tasty food). By doing this enough, your dog will be able to associate being alone with a more positive experience. A great tip is to fill a KONG toy with their favorite food or treat. You can even freeze the toy the night before to make it last longer.
  • Gradually accustom your dog to being alone: This is a more time-consuming treatment and requires great patience for it to be successful. To help ease your dog’s separation anxiety, practice having them stay in one room and leaving the room for a short period of time. You don’t need to leave the house but simply be out of sight. As your dog becomes more comfortable, slowly work your way up to leaving the house for a few minutes at a time.
  • Avoid exciting your dog when you come/go: When you are leaving your house, avoid exciting your dog any further or encouraging anxious behavior. When you are getting ready to leave, don’t give your pup too much attention or make your departure a bigger deal. Simply pat them on their head and go on your way. Likewise, when you return home, give them a few minutes to calm down before giving them any attention.
  • Medications and over-the-counter supplements: If necessary, consult your veterinarian regarding medications to help your pup overcome anxiety and panic disorders. Depending on the situation, your vet may prescribe medication or can direct you toward natural supplements.

Being able to recognize the early signs and symptoms of separation anxiety is key to helping your dog overcome these negative experiences. The course of treatment is not a one-size-fits-all case and it may require several attempts and lots of patience. If you need an extra hand, consider reaching out for professional help. A professional can assist you in helping your dog with separation anxiety and give you the tools you need to help your furry companion get on the right path.

[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.