Our canine pals are guilty of having some pretty repulsive habits, such as rolling in poop, drinking from the toilet, or licking their own vomit. But one thing that is at the top of the list is dogs eating baby poop. Many dog owners are found scratching their heads to understand this unusual habit. Pondering “Why does my dog eat poop diapers?” is common for dog owners.
As dogs are generally curious animals and they like to explore everything in their surroundings, checking out a poopy diaper is not uncommon for them. But why do they do that? What can be done to stop them from doing something like this?
In our article, we have discussed the scientific and behavioral reasons behind a dog’s love for poopy diapers and what can be done to stop a dog’s inarguably gross infatuation with poop. We will also see if eating poop can make a dog sick or not.
So, let’s get started.
Why Does My Dog Eat Poop Diapers? 3 Possible Reasons
As mentioned above, our pets do many peculiar and unusual things that are outright horrible for us humans. The same is the case with a dog eating poop diapers. It seems gross and disgusting to us, but to our dogs, there is nothing unusual in it.
Below, we have listed 3 possible reasons a dog may be attracted to a baby’s poopy diaper and try to eat poop out of it.
Poop-eating habit in dogs is called Coprophagia. This is a common phenomenon in many dogs, and there are psychological as well as behavioral reasons behind it.
A study presented at the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior annual conference in 2012 by Dr. Benjamin Hart from the University of California, Davis, found that:
- 16 percent (one in six) of dogs are classified as “serious” stool eaters, which means that they were caught in the act five times
- 24 percent of the dogs in the study (one in four) were observed eating feces at least once
Hart stated, “our conclusion is that eating of fresh stools is a reflection of an innate predisposition of ancestral canids living in nature that protects pack members from intestinal parasites present in feces that could occasionally be dropped in the den/rest area.”
2. Nutritional Deficiency
It is also possible that your canine companion is going through some nutritional deficiency that makes him eat a poopy diaper. As gross as it sounds, poop may contain some undigested material which can be a source of calories for the dog. Like dogs licking floors, if you find your dog is attracted to a poopy diaper, it may indicate he has some missing nutrients in his food.
3. Anxiety and Stress
Animals have different stress coping mechanisms than humans. They may chew on things that they usually don’t like. Thus, it is very much possible that a dog eats a poopy diaper whenever he feels stressed or anxious. When a dog is chewing a poopy diaper, it may help him relieve his stress and feel calm. If you find your canine pal is chewing things, and this behavior is accompanied by other symptoms of stress and anxiety, you should take him to a vet.
Is Diaper Eating Dangerous for a Dog?
Diaper eating has some very common health hazards for dogs. They can immediately choke on the diaper, or it may clog their digestive tract. As we know, a diaper is made of three different layers, and it is used to absorb excretory fluids. These layers are made from materials that absorb water. So, when a dog eats a diaper, the diaper would start absorbing stomach acids and other fluid from the inside of a dog’s body and disrupt its digestion. It can also lead to dehydration.
Another problem this can cause is that the inner layers of a diaper are designed in a way that they swell when a diaper absorbs water. This will lead to partial or complete blockage of a dog’s digestive tract. If you suspect your dog has swallowed some part of a diaper, he should be immediately taken to a vet and get him thoroughly checked. This will rule out the possibility of any digestive blockage.
Other Lesser Known Problems of Swallowing Poop
Small adhesive closures of a diaper can cause some health issues if they get stuck in a dog’s digestive system. These can also stick to his fur, but that doesn’t lead to anything serious, and the adhesive closures can be easily pulled away by using soap and warm water.
The major cause of concern is the poop itself. Human poop is full of harmful bacteria, and this can harm a dog’s digestive system and make the dog sick. Your dog may end up vomiting or having diarrhea.
What to Expect at the Vet’s Clinic?
Seeking medical attention should be the first thing to do whenever your pet has got itself into some trouble. Your vet would examine your dog and look out for any sign of physical pain or discomfort. IV fluids may also be administered to your dog to prevent him from getting dehydrated. Your vet may also inquire about your dog’s overall health, the size and number of diapers he swallowed, and the symptoms he may have started showing after he ate a diaper.
To get a better idea, you should take one of the unused diapers with you so your vet can see what materials are used in the diaper. This will help the vet decide his or her future course of action.
Your vet will be able to determine where the diaper is stuck inside. After finding where the diaper is stuck, they will perform a visual inspection of the dog’s oral cavity or its digestive tract. If the visual inspections are not useful, the vet may take the help of medical techniques such as Endoscopy, X-rays, or ultrasound.
After the diaper is located, the vet would use different treatment techniques to help the dog pass the diaper out of its system. The vet may prescribe some medicine such as a laxative or enema to soften the dog’s stool so he can excrete the diaper out of his system.
If the diaper cannot be taken out manually or with the help of medicine, the last option would be to remove it through surgery.
How to Prevent Future incidents?
Given the risks a used diaper poses to our dogs, we must protect our canine pals from accidentally or out of curiosity swallowing a poopy diaper. Below we have listed some tips to prevent diaper-eating incidents and keep your pups safe.
- Invest in a pet-proof trash bin to dispose of your child’s poopy diapers. They have locks in them, and the pet or other young children cannot open them. There are a variety of trash bins available in the market that work best. Also, keep unused diapers of your child in some high place or lock them inside a drawer so your dog cannot reach them.
- Dispose of used diapers by sealing them inside a plastic bag. This will help to reduce the odor of a poopy diaper, and the dog won’t be able to detect the smell.
- If your dog is wearing a dog diaper, keep an eye on him so that he doesn’t take it off and chew on it.
- There are a variety of dog-deterrent sprays available in the market that keep a dog away from a certain area. You can spray the trashcan and used diapers with these sprays to keep the dog away from them.
Dogs are curious animals, and because of this, they can put themselves in danger. So it is essential to keep an eye on our canine pals and protect them from harming themselves. If you find your canine has helped himself to a poopy diaper, you should immediately seek medical help. It would save your pup from going through serious health problems.