Shih Tzus are known for their adorable appearance and playful personalities, but one common issue that owners of this breed face is their tendency to eat their own feces or those of other animals, also known as coprophagia. While this behavior can be concerning and unpleasant, it is not uncommon among dogs and can be addressed with proper training and management.
Why do Shih Tzus eat poop?
There are several reasons why Shih Tzus may engage in coprophagia:
- Nutritional deficiencies: Dogs may eat feces to compensate for a lack of nutrients in their diet. If your Shih Tzu is not getting enough essential vitamins or minerals, they may be inclined to eat feces as a source of these nutrients.
- Boredom or stress: Dogs may engage in coprophagia when they are bored, stressed, or anxious. Eating poop may provide them with a temporary distraction or relief from their emotions.
- Learned behavior: If a Shih Tzu puppy sees their mother or littermates eating feces, they may learn to do the same. This behavior can also be reinforced if the owner inadvertently rewards the dog for eating poop by giving them attention or treats.
How to stop your Shih Tzu from eating poop?
If your Shih Tzu is eating poop, here are some strategies that can help:
Understand the root cause of the behavior
The first step to solving any problem is to understand the root cause of the behavior. There are several reasons why dogs eat poop, including boredom, anxiety, hunger, and nutritional deficiencies. Some dogs may also develop the habit of eating poop as a result of environmental factors, such as being kept in a dirty or crowded living space.
If you notice your Shih Tzu eating poop, observe them carefully to determine the underlying cause. Try to identify patterns or triggers that may be contributing to the behavior. This will help you address the issue more effectively.
Keep your dog’s living space clean
One way to discourage your Shih Tzu from eating poop is to keep their living space clean. Make sure to pick up your dog’s poop promptly and dispose of it properly. Clean their bedding and toys regularly, and keep their food and water dishes clean. A clean and hygienic living space can help reduce the likelihood of your Shih Tzu developing coprophagia.
Provide your dog with adequate nutrition
Another way to stop your Shih Tzu from eating poop is to ensure that they are getting adequate nutrition. Make sure your Shih Tzu is eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet. If you are unsure if your dog is getting all the necessary nutrients, consult with your veterinarian.
Provide mental and physical stimulation:
Keep your Shih Tzu engaged with plenty of toys, exercise, and playtime to prevent boredom and stress.
Train your Shih Tzu:
Training can help to break the habit of coprophagia. Teach your Shih Tzu the “leave it” or “drop it” command, and use positive reinforcement to reward them when they listen.