The Stink on Why Boston Terriers Eat Poop


The Stink on Why Boston Terriers Eat Poop. Boston Terrier Society.

Who doesn’t relish a good puppy kiss from man’s best friend? Those of us who own Boston Terriers know they are notorious for eating poop. It can be hard to comprehend why someone that we love so much can have such a dirty little habit. 

You might also be wondering if this bad habit can cause other issues besides just being disgusting. Let’s talk about the reasons behind why Boston Terrier might eat poop and what you as the loving pet parent can do to stop it.

Why Boston Terriers Eat Poop

There are several reasons for a Boston Terrier to eat its poop. These reasons include Nutritional Deficiencies, Hunger, Prebiotics, and Bad Behavior. For a Boston, eating its poop is relatively safe. However, it is disgusting to their pet parents.

Before we can understand why Boston Terriers eat their poop, let us see why other animals eat its own feces.

Why Other Animals Eat Their Own Poop

Before we cover Boston Terriers, let us explore why other animals eat poop. For some species, coprophagia, or eating feces, is healthy and even necessary for existence. There are large groups of insects that make poop their primary nutrient source. 

Without them, we would all be drowning in it. Cecal or hindgut digesters like rabbits and hamsters eat their feces because it takes a trip twice through the system to get the full nutrient punch that they want. 

Baby Elephants, Hippos, and Other Animals

Baby elephants, hippos, and various other animals eat their mother’s poop to populate their gut with the good bacteria that are necessary for proper digestion. And mother dogs and cats have to stimulate their little ones to defecate and urinate by licking their genital region. During this process, they also consume the feces and urine that comes to keep their babies and the bed clean.

Coprophagia (eating of poop) is even seen in humans! Before you find yourself trying to picture that, fecal transplantation is a common procedure in treating different intestinal infections. The idea is that providing the patient with normal, healthy gut bacteria will crowd out the harmful bacteria and get rid of the infection.  

This procedure can also be used in our dog and cat friends to treat severe types of diarrhea. All of these animals or reasons for eating poop seem pretty viable, so what is your Boston Terrier’s excuse?

Reason Why A Boston Terrier Eats its Poop

While eating poop in other animals is widely understood, when it comes to our pups, it’s not so much. However, there are many theories out there. Let us take a look at them, and then you can decide if any of these apply to your specific pooch.

Nutritional Deficiencies

No digestive system is 100% efficient meaning that there are always undigested nutrients remaining in any form of poop. Dogs may seek out poop to get these nutrients if they lack it from their diet. Also, these nutrients can be enticing.  

If your Boston has a particular affinity for cat poop, it’s because cats require a diet that is very high in protein and the leftovers taste better because of it.  

Hunger

Boston terriers may eat feces, again, as a way to gain nutrition when starving or near starving. Pups in these conditions are usually eating the feces of other animals as well as their own.  

On some occasions, Bostons with conditions such as Cushing’s or digestive disorders where they can’t absorb nutrients will eat poop because they are ravenous. Even though they are provided with enough high-quality dog food, they still want more. These dogs will typically eat anything and everything in their path, including poop. I think my Boston Bella has this. She eats her poop 80% of the time we leave her home alone. Lately, it seems she has grown out of this.

Prebiotics

Your Boston may be eating poop to self medicate. Similar to why dogs eat grass, eating poop might be your Boston’s way of trying to settle a minor digestive upset. The eating of poop will give your Boston the prebiotics it needs by trying to up their population of good bacteria.

Bad Behavior

We all learn things from our parents, and since mother dogs eat the feces of their young, some puppies may mimic this behavior as pups and into adulthood. Eating poop can develop as a narcotic behavior in Boston Terriers that display separation anxiety or other such issues.  

It can also develop due to the reward that a dog gets from eating poop. To them, it tastes good and gives your dog attention, negative attention, but attention just the same — Win-Win in their books.

Is Eating Poop Bad for Boston Terriers?    

Eating poop is a disgusting habit for us to witness, but is it bad for your pup? It depends on the scenario. Before we dive into that, let’s look at why else eating poop is terrible from our end of the situation. 

Not only does the act of eating poop gross us out, but it can also make us as pet parents sick. Feces contains bacteria. Some of these bacteria are bad, like Salmonella and E.coli. If your Boston terrier enjoys a fecal snack and then kisses you good morning, you could be on the receiving end of digestive illness.  

Now on your Boston’s end of the poop-eating behavior of their feces is relatively safe. This is because they have already been exposed to everything in their poop. Eating their poop can become a problem if that poop is allowed to age and grow mold. Certain molds can cause respiratory and digestive infections. The beautiful part is most pups prefer fresher feces and will leave the old, furry stuff alone.

Eating Other Animals Poop

The Stink on Why Boston Terriers Eat Poop. Boston Terrier Society.
Cute Kitty

Eating poop from other critters is where the trouble could lie for your Boston Terrier.  Feces is packed with microorganisms capable of making your dog sick. If your pup hasn’t been exposed to these organisms, they can cause illness.  

Viruses like parvo and hepatitis are especially contagious through ingestion of feces.  Parasites like hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms as well as giardia and coccidian thrive in fecal material.  

Cat feces specifically can transmit a parasite called Toxoplasma, which can be harmful to dogs. The bacteria Salmonella and E.coli that we discussed as being harmful to you can also be harmful to your Boston. Vaccinations are available that can help prevent some of these illnesses, but stopping the eating of poop is your best bet to keep your dog healthy.

How to Stop Your Boston Terrier From Eating Poop

Even though it may be your Boston’s favorite pass time, it’s usually best to try to stop their poop eating behavior. You can decrease your pup’s risk of disease and settle your stomach by trying some of these methods to end the poop eating urges in your Boston.  

Rule out medical causes

Run your dog to the vet to make sure there isn’t a medical reason that they’re eating poop. Your veterinarian may run some blood tests, a fecal, and talk to you about diet and behavior to rule out health concerns.  

Vitamin Supplements

If you’re feeding a high-quality dog food, vitamins supplements typically aren’t necessary. However, every dog is different, and some require higher levels of specific vitamins. These vitamins can include vitamin B. It turns out that fecal bacteria happen to produce some of the B vitamins that your dog may be craving.  

Giving your pup an approved vitamin supplement may help curb that poop eating behavior. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before you provide any supplement.

Change The Taste

If your Boston is eating feces due to the sheer taste reward, try changing that taste. There are many products marketed, including FOR-BID, to stop dogs from eating poop.  

Some at-home products that can work are pineapple and meat tenderizers containing MSG. 

Whatever the product, they all work by changing the flavor of the feces. Because of this, they work best for dogs that eat their feces. Or feces of other members of the household. For multi-pet families, everyone will need to be fed the product for the best results. If your Boston is a dog park or neighborhood snacker, this approach won’t be as beneficial.

Clean It Up

If it’s not there, they can’t eat it. Proper potty training and cleanup can help curb the poop eating behavior, and this goes for the litter box as well. Obviously, this is easier said than done for dog parks or hiking trails where it’s hard to control the cleanup effort.

Exercise and Play

For pups that might suffer from narcotic or other behavioral issues that have them eating poop as a means of consolation, change it up. Usually, these dogs need some other form of stimulation or reward to change how they feel about poop.  

Incorporate play time every day to give them not only physical exercise but mental stimulation as well. You can also look into dog walkers or doggie daycare to break up your pup’s day and provide that necessary excitement to stop poop eating. 

Interactive toys are another great option for keeping your dog entertained when you can’t be with them.

Learn more about different exercises Boston’s can do as well as how often they should exercise. Check out this article I wrote by clicking here, Do Boston Terriers Need A Lot Of Exercise?

Final thoughts…

Eating poop is considered a natural behavior in Boston Terriers and dogs of all shapes and sizes. However, this doesn’t mean you have to put up with this natural behavior.  Understanding why dogs may eat poop is the first step in putting a stop to it.  

Remember, eating poop isn’t necessarily bad, and the occasional snack can usually be dismissed with a gag and a look away from you. However, if your Boston seems to be eating more poop than the average pup, first see your veterinarian.  Next, employ any of the above methods to help put an end to this stinky story.

References

Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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