Sometimes, a dog owner may observe their pup eating their own poo, it can be a shocking sight, especially if you have no idea why they are doing it! This behavior is known as coprophagia. There can be many health related explanations for why he might be doing this.
If the dog is underfed, he may attempt to consume his own feces, or he may do so if they are undernourished or have digestive problems. Be sure to carefully asses your dogs diet. Make sure that it has all of the vitamins, nutrients, and calories in a proportion that is appropriate for his size and activity level! Also be aware whether or not it has an agreeable consistency–it should not be too dry or too runny/watery either.
This behavioral issue of Shih Tzu eating poo may also be related to a variety of problems, such as thyroid imbalance, diabetes, parasites. If possible, try to take a look at the fecal matter to see if any parasites are visible, if it has a watery consistency, or appears discolored. If you are able to keep a journal of your findings, then you will be better equipped to use process of elimination– no pun intended, to get to the bottom of the issue.
It is a good idea to discuss this with a veterinarian, they can conduct tests to help pinpoint the problem if it is related to a biological deficiency or disease. Before investing in any over-the-counter products or food supplements, take these steps to avoid spending money on products that do not address the true cause of your his coprophagia.
Not all dogs who engage in coprophagia have physical problems behind it. Sometimes it is due to a desire for more attention from his master. Sometimes he may do it because he sees other dogs do it, or because they are simply curious and are playing with it.
In these cases, you may be wondering what exactly you can do about it! Firstly, it is recommended to accompany your dog when he is outside and needs to use the bathroom. Bring a plastic bag so you can dispose of the stool immediately, even if you have your own backyard where you let him roam freely. This limits his opportunity to engage in coprophagia.
Also, be sure to use a shovel to bury or otherwise remove any older deposits he has already made. You may reward him with a small treat (But please do read that article about best dog food for Shih Tzu carefully, so that you are aware of both the pros and cons of treats!) after he does his business and the stool has been cleared away so that he associates the act with a treat when he does not eat it.
Do this with all dogs in your household so that they do not get confused, and to remove any temptation for the pup in question to eat his fellow dog's excrement.
It may take some patience to get rid of this habit, however if you act consistently and with patience the problem will go away. Remember, once he begins to leave this habit behind, continue to do what has been working for you, even after the problem goes away for lasting results!
- Why Do Some Animals Eat Their Own Poop?(livescience.com)
- Hazmat Responds to Disneyland After People Struck by Geese Droppings(time.com)