Beebe eats her poo (coprophagia). I thought she had outgrown it, but yesterday, right in front of company, she immediately turned around after eliminating and started lapping at it, right in the middle of a play date with 5 other Shibas and Grym. Gross.
Popular dogma indicates that feces eating is the result of boredom or hunger. High protein food may also be suspect. I think lack of sanitation in the whelping area is also a factor for this behavior. When people with dogs from pet stores and puppy mills report it, I admit that I am quick to label that as a cause of this disgusting behavior.
Most people know by now that puppy mills generally lack proper sanitation, or anything remotely acceptable in the housing and care of young pups, and many petstores as well. These poor environments counteract the dogs’ natural desire to avoid soiling in its bed due to constant crating over its own waste and the lack of space for proper elimanation habits to form outside. There is quite likely an element of boredom and hunger involved in these case.
To note, the breeder Shibas who have stayed with me have never done this. Ike is horrified of his poo and will bury it like a kitty does. They were raised in a loving, clean, healthy and stimulating environment indoors with nearly unlimited access to spacious outdoor freedom. Beebe however, did come from a classified ad, and I’m sure there is a behavioral component to her coprophagia, but I’m wondering if it also may be from her hypothyroid. Interestingly, here is a blogpost from some friends regarding their Akita and some of his medical issues, including hypothyroid and coprophagia (feces eating).
I don’t think boredom is an issue with Beebe. It’s my feeling, that she does this because she is hungry. She is always hungry, which is par for the course with hypothyroid dogs, but she’s overweight so I can’t feed her all that she could eat. So, my question is for any other hypothyroid Shiba Inu owners: do your dogs do this too and did it get worse or better when on thyroid meds or with increased amounts of food?