Large or small, dogs are man’s best friend. There are numerous breeds considered more in demand than others, and unsurprisingly, the Shih Tzu is at the top of the list. Weighing in at nine to sixteen pounds on average, this adorable dog gives just as much love as they receive. What most owners do not find adorable however, is their Shih Tzu eating poo (poop/feces). Every breed of dog has its own purpose. While some breeds are for guarding or hunting, your Shih Tzu is strictly a companion. Their only desire is to be with their human and coming home at the end of the day to receive kisses smelling of dog poop is not the ideal way to be welcomed back by your furry friend.
The scientific name for the eating of feces is coprophagia. This behaviour is quite common in dogs, to the dismay of many owners who find their beloved pet eating stools. They may eat only their own excrement, or they may also eat the leavings from other dogs in the home, or around the neighbourhood. In the vast majority of cases of coprophagia, it is more disgusting for you to witness this type of behaviour than it is to cause actual harm to your Shih Tzu. Wildlife feces can also be a substitute for your dog’s own stools if you live in a rural area where it is possible for raccoons, deer, and rabbits to leave droppings behind. This can present a problem for your Shih Tzu if they happen to be consuming feces from an animal with parasites or other diseases present.
Why do dogs eat their poop?
One potential arguement does seem to have a ring of truth to it. Puppies learn their behaviour from watching their mothers, and after birth, it is a compulsive trait to clean their pups. This includes eating both feces and urine in order to keep the nesting area clean. Young dogs witness this act and may believe it to be acceptable behaviour. Many breeding females engage in coprophagia only when they have young ones with them. At any other time, they would never willingly consume feces. For the majority of puppies, the urge to consume feces generally goes away on its own. With other Shih Tzus, it can be a constant battle to turn their focus onto something a little less gross.
Several different medical conditions could potentially cause your Shih Tzu to turn into a stool-eater. It is essential to have these possibilities ruled out with the help of your vet so that your baby is as healthy as they can be. At the bare minimum, a full physical exam, taken in conjunction with information about the diet your dog consumes, and the appearance and frequency of stools, needs to be done. Testing for parasites is also an important step in determining if there is a medical reason for the coprophagia. Malnutrition is one cause because feces containing improperly digested food appear more attractive to your pup. Your Shih Tzu needs a high-quality diet with the proper amounts of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimum health during the various life stages.
Shih Tzu eating poo
How to stop dogs from eating poop: Home remedies
Everyone you ask will have a different opinion on the best way to resolve your Shih Tzu’s coprophagia. What works for one dog will not automatically work for another, so it may take a bit of trial and error to find the best solution for you and your pup. Since you are probably not going to be with your dog 24/7, keeping the potty area clean may not always be feasible unless you are home. Therefore, what you want is a remedy that will deter them to steer clear whether you are around or not.
Shih Tzu owners who use the “baiting” technique have found plenty of success. This simply requires you to put some ingredient on the stools that will cause your dog to think twice about going back for more. While it is hard for humans to accept that poo can be tasty, the aim is to make it as unappealing as possible. Popular choices for this method can include things you probably already have in your pantry, such as hot sauce, blackpepper, or chili peppers.
Commercial anti-chew sprays contain a bitter apple taste that many have found effective as well. The theory is that your pup will go to consume feces and get an unpleasant taste instead. Some people have said they only had to do this one time. Yet other owners with stubborn dogs have said it took some persistence. Like all dogs, Shih Tzus have long memories, and once they have gotten a taste of something they do not like, it may never be a problem again. As the memory fades, you may have to repeat the baiting in six months or a year, depending on your pup.
Changing your dog’s diet may also resolve the problem. The better the quality of the food you can afford, the better the ingredients it contains. Look for ones with no fillers, preservatives, artificial flavours, or other undesirable additives. If your pup is willing to experiment, there are several human foods you can try adding in the food bowl, or even giving as a treat. The ones rumoured to work the best are Brussels sprouts, broccoli, pineapple, and cabbage.
Best coprophagia deterrent
Give your Shih Tzu lots of love and attention whenever you are together. Offer many different options for toys and ways to keep them entertained. Keep up a regular grooming and bathing schedule, and take the time to clean up messes right away. Feed them the best possible food, and ensure that your vet sees them regularly. Use positive reinforcement whenever it is appropriate. Invest some of yourself into making sure that you and your Shih Tzu have a wonderful relationship built on mutual love, trust, and respect for each other.