Novel Idea For Coprophagia

Dr. John Kaya
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Wednesday - June 22, 2011
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At stores or via the Internet, there seems to be something created for every pet concern: food additives for dental disease, electronic collars for barking and all-natural flea repellents, to name a few. Used as directed, these products promise to produce some amazing results.

Then there are some very creative pet owners who use these items in a way slightly askew of the intentions.

Enter Rick and his dog Rufus. Rufus, a 2-year-old mixed-breed dog, came in for his annual exam. We gave him his vaccinations, took a blood sample to test for heartworm disease, and checked his stool for parasites that could be harmful to him and his owner. The appointment went smoothly and I concluded by asking Rick if he had any questions.

“Actually I do have a quick question for you, Doc,” exclaimed Rick. “What do you think of this powder I bought for Rufus?”

I took the container offered by Rick and examined the label. After a few moments, I realized what I held in my hands: The cure for stinky poop. Until that moment I did not know that such a miraculous powder existed.

I asked excitedly, “Does it work?” “Well, I followed the directions on the label and gave Rufus one heaping tablespoon per day in his food. So far there has been no change, but the label says I need to be patient and give it for a full 30 days before seeing results.” The advertisement did seem compelling.

“What made you buy this powder in the first place? I thought Rufus had a stool-eating problem? If his poop didn’t smell anymore, wouldn’t it encourage his bad habit?” I asked.

“Doc, I tried everything to help my little buddy. I followed the advice of a lot of people, and at some point sprinkled either meat tenderizer, pineapple or furikake on his food. By doing this, supposedly his stool would no longer be tasty. Nothing worked. Then I had a thought. Dogs seemed to like smelly things, so maybe Rufus would leave his stool alone if it didn’t smell anymore.”

Although twisted, Rick’s logic did make some sense. Would a cup of coffee be as satisfying without its steamy tendrils? Would a juicy steak be just as mouthwatering without the savory aroma? Hmmm ...

I studied the ingredients of the wonder dust just to make sure that it didn’t contain anything detrimental to Rufus’s health, and then wished Rick luck with his experiment.

Coprophagia is a condition where dogs eat their own poop or the poop of other animals. It’s not necessarily life-threatening, but it tends to gross out family members.

My own dog Bailey shares this nasty habit, and my family groans as I grudgingly allow him to lick my face.


Does the wild side have a stinky side? You bet.

Hopefully my wife doesn’t find out about this product or my own food may have a healthy dose of extra flavor.

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