French Bulldogs have stolen the hearts of dog lovers all over the world with their charming personalities and unique looks. However, one quirk that some Frenchies may exhibit is the tendency to munch on their own poop. Yes, you heard it right! Coprophagia, the scientific term for poop eating, is a behavior that can be quite perplexing and even downright gross. But fear not, we’re here to help you put an end to this unappetizing habit. In this article, we’ll explore the possible reasons behind poop eating in Frenchies and share some effective prevention strategies.
Why do French bulldogs eat their poop?
Before we dive into the solutions, let’s first understand what coprophagia is and why some French Bulldogs engage in this behavior. By definition, coprophagia refers to the act of dogs consuming their own feces or the feces of other animals. While it may seem strange to us humans, it’s not uncommon among dogs, including our beloved Frenchies. Here are some possible reasons behind poop eating.
French Bulldogs have some ancestral instincts that can explain their poop-eating habits. According to experts, their wild relatives would eat fresh stools to protect their pack from pesky parasites. Some of those instincts are still present in our pampered Frenchies who want to keep their living space clean this way.
Poop eating is especially common in small puppies, who explore the world around them by eating and smelling anything they encounter. Another possible reason is that puppy food has a highly appealing scent, which puppies can still smell in their poop. In most cases, they will outgrow this nasty habit by the time they are about 9-12 months old.
Nutritional Deficiencies and Digestive Issues
If your Frenchie’s diet is lacking important nutrients, they might be on the lookout for an unconventional snack. Poor nutrition or digestive problems can make them crave the nutrients they’re missing, and unfortunately, poop seems like a tempting source. It’s like their way of saying, “Hey, I need something extra, and this poop seems like a good idea!”
Environmental and Behavioral Factors
Sometimes, the reasons behind poop eating can be a bit more complex. Environmental factors and certain behaviors can influence your Frenchie’s poop-eating adventures. If they’re feeling lonely and bored or they’re spending too much time cooped up in a small space, they might turn to poop as a form of entertainment or comfort.
In rare cases, coprophagia may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as parasites, malabsorption issues, or lacking some essential nutrients in their diet. If you suspect that a medical problem may be contributing to your Frenchie’s coprophagia, it’s crucial to consult with a vet for a proper diagnosis.
Keep in mind that every French Bulldog is unique, and there may be other factors at play too. To really pinpoint the cause of your Frenchie’s poop-eating habits, it’s always a good idea to observe their behavior closely and consult with a veterinarian.
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7 Tips to Stop Frenchies from Eating Their Poop
Now that you have a better understanding of the possible causes of poop eating in Frenchies, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and explore solutions to put an end to this less-than- appetizing habit.
1. Keep a Clean Environment
First things first, you should make sure that your Frenchie doesn’t have easy access to potential poop snacks. Always aim to create a clean and hygienic living environment and clean up their poop as soon as they eliminate. If you have multiple dogs, ensure that each of them has their own designated area for potty to prevent them from eating each other’s poop. Having them do their business on paper stripes can also help as that way they cannot eat it. If you have a cat, keep the litter box out of your Frenchie’s reach or in a separate area to avoid any potential access.
2. Ensure Proper Nutrition
Remember the part about nutritional deficiencies? We simply can’t say enough how crucial it is to provide your French Bulldog with a healthy and balanced diet. A high-quality dog food provides all the essential nutrients and helps curb their cravings for poop. Read our article on how to find the best food for your Frenchie. If you’re unsure you can always consult with your vet to ensure that the food meets your puppy’s dietary needs.
3. Consider Dietary Supplements
If your Frenchie’s coprophagia is related to nutritional deficiencies, adding specific supplements to their diet can be beneficial. You can also try probiotics or one of the several products which are designed to stop or restrict poop eating and help them digest food easier. Always consult with a professional before introducing any supplements to your Frenchie’s diet.
4. Train Your Frenchie
Training is key to addressing unwanted behaviors, and poop eating is no exception. In each and every case, it is vital to communicate with your Frenchie that this behavior is unacceptable. You can use a unique sound or command like “leave it” and “drop it” specifically for this situation to reinforce the message effectively. These will come in handy when you catch them eyeing that pile of poop.
Here is a tip that one of our dear clients, Donna shared in the TomKings Frenchie Family:
“When we went outside, she would poop and as soon as I saw her turn to start indulging herself, I made a sharp ‘eh’ sound but would not look in her direction, just side glance. It would catch her off guard and she would move away. I did that every time so she would associate the sound with the eating of the poop. She no longer eats her poop outside, but if she occasionally poops in her crate, she may, but she does not do it all the time.”
As with any training, consistency is key. Positive reinforcement is also very effective in reinforcing a desired behavior, so if your Frenchie stays away from their poop, give a reward such as treats and praise.
5. Teach the Command “NO”
One of the most important rules that your Frenchie needs to learn is that when you say “no” they should stop immediately whatever they’re doing. With poop eating this is especially true, as the health of your furry friend is at stake: regular poop eating can lead to diarrhea and other issues. In addition to poop, your Frenchie might also find all sorts of dangerous things outside which could even be fatal when ingested.
So, here’s what you should do. Take a bowl that is not your Frenchie’s and put some delicious food in it. Put it on the floor somewhere you don’t normally feed your puppy and keep your eyes on them. If they notice it or even start going towards it, tell them “NO” immediately!
Imagine that it is something poisonous that would end your baby’s life if they ate it (we know, it’s a horrible thought but it can help you become even more determined!). You need to make sure that your Frenchie doesn’t eat from the bowl, it will really depend on your puppy’s character how strict you’ll need to be.
Wait for the moment they want to eat it and step in! If they leave the food right away, praise them and show how happy you are. It usually takes no more than 2 practices and your puppy won’t ever eat anything off the ground again when you say “NO”!
6. Provide Enough Exercise and Mental Stimulation
We’ve mentioned before that boredom can sometimes lead to coprophagia. So, keeping your Frenchie mentally and physically stimulated can help redirect their energy and prevent them from resorting to poop-eating. Provide your puppy with interactive toys, play with them regularly, and take them for daily walks to keep their minds engaged and their bodies active. Read our article on how much exercise French Bulldogs need to learn everything about the topic!
7. Seek Help if Needed
If the poop-eating behavior persists or is causing significant concern, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Your vet or a certified dog behaviorist can provide further guidance and develop a tailored plan to address the issue. They will evaluate your Frenchie’s specific situation and provide expert advice to help you overcome this challenge. You can also post your problem in our Facebook group where you’ll be helped by great Frenchie parents and ourselves.
Remember that breaking habits takes time and patience. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to success. With your love, care, and a proactive approach, you can help your French Bulldog kick the poop-eating habit and lead a healthier, happier life.
- Why is my French Bulldog puppy eating poop?
- Frenchie puppies may eat their poop because of natural instincts, nutritional deficiencies, boredom or some kind of underlying health issue.
- How to get my French Bulldog to stop eating poop?
- Cleaning up your puppy’s poop, ensuring a balanced diet, training and providing enough exercise can help to stop coprophagia in your Frenchie.
If you’d like to learn more about the topic, join our Facebook group called TomKings Frenchie Family to read our Frenchie parents’ experiences.
The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for 10 years on their farm. All the pictures in the post belong to them and their customers, and show puppies from their breed. Check their available French Bulldog puppies, or if you have any questions or comments let us know below the article.