Coprohagy or stool is not uncommon in the Shih Tzu. Though this is not considered as a normal behavior, dogs do it – especially the smaller breeds. There is no definitive explanation yet as to why dogs have a tendency to literally eat their poop, but this is considered a behavioral problem.
Coprohagy won’t immediately result to gastro intestinal problems especially when the stools are worm free; but problems will surely arise when your Shih Tzu has ingested a fecal matter from an infected dog or other animal. There are a wide range of reasons – or theories why certain dogs do this. One of such is the lack in nutrition. They say that dogs “know” what nutrient they need and if their body doesn’t get the right amount of these required nutrients, they will eat their feces. Not that fecal matter has more nutrients than dog food or cooked food, but this is just the organic solution. Dogs were never given dog food or raw prepared meals in the wild, so it is in their instincts to look for the best solution that is readily available – their poop. Another theory explaining coprohagy is boredom. Dogs do get bored when this is not addressed – especially in high energy breeds and dogs which are full of personality like the Shih Tzu, they develop stereotypic behavior which is defined as repetitive and non-purposeful activities. This may manifest in self mutilation, destruction of furniture in the house, uncontrolled urination or defecation, and coprophagy. You may need to schedule the outside trips of your dog and stick to it so your pooch knows where and when he is expected to poop. Poop-eating is more common in puppies and in female Shih Tzu. Usually, in the cases of pups, this is outgrown. If not, you can put Tabasco sauce or any strong smelling condiment on the poop so your dog will associate the poop to a negative memory. This may take a few tries, but once your dog gets the hang of it, he will stop eating and even going near the poop. Positive reinforcement and training also works big time. Train your dog using commands and some positive conditioning after he poops. Make him look forward for the treat and not for his poop. There are also available tablets in the market which helps stop this behavior. Check it out with your vet so you’d know the proper dosing of this ‘nasty habit’ medications.