While your beagle might be an absolute angel in your eyes most of the time, your opinion might change very quickly if you catch them eating poop. This odd behavior can be quite a traumatizing experience for any dog owner. However, it is more common than you may think, and there are countless reasons for it and measures that can be put in place to prevent this behavior in the future.
Beagles eat poop for various reasons. This phenomenon called Caprophogia is common among mother dogs protecting their young from predators. Nutritional deficiencies can cause beagles to eat their own poop, as can several behavioral issues associated with separation anxiety and boredom.
Whatever might be causing your beagle to eat poop, it may be a sign that certain changes need to be made to the beagle’s life or your own. There is also the seemingly unfathomable possibility that your beagle simply enjoys eating poop. If this is the case, it is something you will simply have to face and put preventative measures in place to ensure it does not occur in the future.
Why Do Beagles Eat Poop?
There are various reasons why your beagle might be eating poop. Thankfully, while this is an extremely undesirable occurrence, you can rest assured that this is a relatively common problem amongst dogs, especially beagles.
Beagles are one of the breeds of hounds, and there are several characteristics of this type of dog that cause them to be predisposed to eating poop. As a general rule, hounds are more likely than any other type of dog to eat poop. While around 85% of dogs who eat poop tend to prefer the poop of other dogs, beagles generally prefer consuming their own.
Poop eating is often associated with stress and anxiety. Whether this is separation anxiety or any other type of stress that impacts the dog’s life, it is possible that this can cause them to eat their own feces. Boredom, lack of stimulation, lack of attention, and various other things can also cause a beagle to eat its own poop.
Mother beagles often eat their own waste as a way of protecting their young from predators, and this behavior can be mimicked by the pups in some instances. Caprophobia can also sometimes be caused by various health issues. If this is something you suspect, a visit to the vet may be necessary.
However, you may be able to rule out other aspects of yours or the beagle’s lifestyle that may be causing them to consume poop. Before deciding to take them to the vet, try to look at anything within the environment that might have changed, potentially causing the beagle to eat poop.
Once you have ruled out the aspects you can fix, it may be a good idea to start looking at potential health issues.
An extremely common occurrence of poop-eating is amongst mother beagles who have recently had a litter of puppies. In the wild, to protect her pups from predators, a mother beagle would eat any excrement made by the puppies. This was an effective way of eliminating the scent of the puppies’ existence. As a result, it would be far more difficult for predators to know that a litter of puppies had been born in the vicinity, and they would remain safe and protected.
Despite living in a safe environment, this instinctive practice would often be adopted by a mother beagle in a domestic setting. A mother beagle will often still eat her puppies’ excrement to protect them from harm.
Puppies will naturally mimic their mothers’ behavior. So they may also attempt eating their own poop after having seen their mother do it. This is generally just part of how the puppy learns about the world around them. In most cases, the puppy will simply try it once or twice, realize that excrement is not particularly tasty, and then move on to other, more exciting things.
Eating poop can also signify that your beagle is not receiving sufficient nutrients from their daily diet. Cheaper dog foods often have fillers making up the bulk of their volume. Fillers such as soy, wheat, husks, and corn often make their way into dog foods simply to fill the dog’s stomach without providing any nutritional value.
Cheaper foods like this will also lack the essential vitamins and minerals the dog needs. As a result, your beagle may start looking for the missing nutrients in other places, such as in their own poop. If the beagle’s meal times are spaced too far apart, they may feel the need to satiate their hunger between meals with whatever food source they can find. Poop is often one of the first things they will try in this case.
Sometimes, if a dog is fed close to where they usually poop, they will start to associate the smell of their own poop with their food and will associate the poop as a part of their mealtime.
Stress and anxiety often have a major effect on a dog’s mental health, and it will cause them to act out. Separation anxiety has sometimes been shown as a major trigger for poop eating. It may also be an effective way for the dog to get your attention.
By eating poop, the dog will elicit a major reaction from you. Whether positive or negative, the dog will enjoy the attention and start associating poop-eating with getting attention from you.
If a dog is kept in a crate for an extended period, they may eat their poop to keep their living space clean.
In the wild, the dogs at the lowest end of the pecking order would often be left with food scraps or nothing. Because a dog has a short digestive system, there are often many nutrients left in the food after it leaves the body. The dog may simply see the poop as a viable food source.
Another alternative you most likely won’t want to consider is that your dog may simply enjoy the taste of poop. If this is the case, you will simply have to remove the poop from sight as soon as possible to prevent them from eating it.
There are various reasons that your beagle might be eating poop. While some causes of Caprophogia can be controlled and prevented, others may simply require preventative measures on your part. While Caprophogia can sometimes indicate major health issues, there are other instances where a small change in lifestyle or diet will completely change the behavior.