Labradors will eat almost anything ... and this one eats other dogs' excrement
Q: I am having trouble with my 11-month-old Labrador eating faeces when left in the kennel. I have managed to stop him eating my other dog’s mess out on walks and his own when out of his kennel, but it is when I’m away for the day that he has the chance to do it as I’m not there. I have tried pineapple in his food and moving him on to a natural diet, but nothing seems to stop him.
What the vet recommend?
A: This is not abnormal behaviour for a canine. If he has done this since he was a puppy, it may have been how he was reared that started the habit. Some puppy foods contain additives that make the faeces smell and, I assume, taste good to dogs. He may also have copied the behaviour from his mother as she would eat all her puppies’ stools to keep the nest area clean.
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You have made a start by teaching him to leave faeces alone when out, but are obviously powerless to do anything when not there. Teaching him not to mess in his run would be an option, but would involve your presence during the process. Of course, if he could not pick up the faeces then that would help break the habit. Perhaps a well-fitted box-type muzzle when he is left in his kennel and run would be a training aid. It would have to be one that allowed him to drink and the time he is left with it on would have to gradually build up in stages.
I also found that having large fresh raw knuckle bones to chew would help prevent dogs eating their faeces. Keep him occupied and mentally stimulated; dog toys full of nibbles are ideal. There is no easy answer but cleanliness, patience and vigilance will help.