immagine Perché il cane mangia le feci?

Why is my dog eating feces?

One of the most unusual behaviours of our dogs is certainly to eat their own faeces or those of other animals. This attitude is called coprophagia and is especially typical of puppies, who ingest everything they find surrounding them, including their own needs. However, what are the causes and what can be done to prevent the dog from eating faeces?

The causes

The reasons that can push the dog towards this type of behaviour are different. Generally, some main reasons are:

  • Exploration of the surrounding world: puppies are a bit like children, so they have an extreme need to touch, smell and bite everything that is new to them. Among the "objects" that most arouse their curiosity, we find above all the feces. This can be one of the reasons that lead puppies to ingest them, especially if this behaviour occurs rarely and tends to disappear over time;
  • Behavioural Disorder: In some cases, both puppies and adult dogs may eat their own faeces in an attempt to hide it from the owner. This attitude is distinguished by the immediate ingestion right after expulsion, and usually occurs every time the dog does his daily needs. The reason for this type of behaviour is based on how we arrange the daily needs routine at home. All puppies, in fact, need time to learn not to poop and pee inside the house. If, after catching them doing so, we punished them without offering them a viable alternative, they probably could have developed a fear of punishment, associated with relieving themselves, no matter where they do it. They will therefore fear this moment. For this reason, every time our dog goes to the toilet, he will try to hide it to avoid punishment;
  • Request for attention: puppies and adult dogs that do not receive enough attention from the owner, can do coprophagia to receive the attention they so much desire, even at the risk of getting shouted at;
  • Boredom: some dogs can ingest their own feces because they have nothing better to do, so they try to pass the time in ways that are not exactly elegant;
  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders: particularly anxious and stressed dogs can ingest their own feces to pour out their negative moods. If the situation continues for many months, it can turn into a real obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • Nutritional deficiencies: in some cases there may be some undigested nutrients in the poop. The dog's sense of smell is far superior than ours, so he can understand that there is still something edible and useful in his own faeces or in those of other animals. Not surprisingly, one of the most frequent situations is that of dogs living in stables or on farms, which very often ingest feces of horses and cattle, rich in nutrients;
  • Health problems: dogs can eat their own feces even in the presence of health problems, in particular with the presence of pancreas , stomach and intestine problems. In these cases, the foods cannot be digested correctly, so many nutrients are eliminated intact together with the faeces, which therefore become palatable and useful for the dog to eat;
  • Maternal attitude: the mother always ingests the feces of her young babies, both during the cleaning and washing of the puppies, and to make the traces disappear from the eyes of possible predators.

What should I do?
cane mangia feci coprofagia

Firstly, it is essential never to shout or punish the dog when he is eating his own feces or that of other animals. He may react by reinforcing this behaviour, especially if it is a dog that feels neglected.  If we shout at our animal he will be happy to have your full attention. 

Furthermore, as we have already explained, by punishing the dog every time he releases his needs in the house we would only stimulate the act of coprophagia. Rather, we could calmly teach them how to release their needs outside the house.

We should avoid boredom in our pet. Let's always give him his favourite toys, especially when you go out. Thinking games are especially useful for them, the ideal remedy to defeat boredom because they keep the dog's mind busy for a long time and are usually particularly appreciated. A special toy that can be filled with appetizing snacks will also work.

Another important tip is to pay attention to the dog's diet. An unbalanced or insufficient diet for his daily requirement could be the cause of coprophagia. Unbalanced foods or home diets are not completely digestible, so the dog's feces may still contain "useful" residues, making them digestible for the dog to eat.

Rather, we choose complete, high quality and highly digestible foods, following the rations indicated on the package or by your veterinarian, based on the age, weight and size of the animal.


immagine Come insegnare al cane il comando resta

How to teach the "stay" command to your dog

 The "stay" command is very useful for the owner, but also for the dog. That's why it should be one of the first commands your pet comprehends. Let's see how teach them in a simple and effective way.

The stay command can be fundamental in many situation. Think, for example, of a dog that tends to shoot as soon as it sees a cat. We should absolutely avoid the dog to hurt himself or other animals surrounding him. Therefore, the command "stay" is particularly useful in these cases. If we were to be outdoors, without a leash and a car approaching at a high speed it is essential to keep our dog still to avoid tragic consequences.

To begin with, we need to equip ourselves with the usual necessities, which can range from snacks to the clicker method. Both will be perfectly valid. The command "stay" necessarily requires the dog's previous acquisition of the command "sit" or "down", which, as we have said many times, represents an excellent starting point for communicating with the dog in order to have his full attention when we are about to talk to him

  1. We ask the dog to sit or lie down;
  2. We stand in front of him, bringing one hand up to the muzzle, not too close;
  3. At the same time we pronounce our command "stay!", We move one step back and, if the dog has remained still, we give him a treat or click the clicker;
  4. We continue several attempts;
  5. Once he has been able to understand our command, will we be able to move further and further away, remembering to always give the command when we are next to him, and then return to the dog to reward him once he has performed the exercise.

    cane comando resta premioAn alternative method is based on posture

    1. Let's stand next to the dog and ask him to sit down;
    2. Once he has done it, let's reward him by giving him a treat. Let's give him more than one snack, to make sure he understand that our goal is to keep him still;
    3. We position ourselves in front of the dog and reward him if he stays still, let's go back next  to him and reward him again
    4. Each time we proceed with the exercise, we can rotate a few steps backwards at a time, making sure that the dog remains seated in the same point. We should not expect too much fro the first attempts. Even two or three steps back is more than enough;
    5. Let's go back to the dog and reward him once again. If the dog moves, we repeat the activity from the beginning;
    6. Once he has learned the mechanism, we repeat the exercise over and over again.

    The goal of this command is not to create a statue of our pet, so once we have rewarded the dog, let it move freely.

    The "stay" command is also very useful as a support for all dogs that tend to eat very quickly. As we have seen in the specific article for this problem, every time we hand the bowl to the dog, we must always make sure that it can only approach the it with our command, to avoid greedily eating its food and becoming aggressive.


immagine Perché il mio cane mangia l’erba?

Why is my dog eating grass?

 All dogs love to spend a lot of time surrounded by gardens and grass, running and exploring meadows and countryside. However, what the owners often notice is that our dog pauses several times to detach and chew some blades of grass, especially the tallest and greener one. But what is the reason for this behaviour?

Dogs, as we all know, belong to the category of carnivores. This means that their nature should push them to seek only foods of animal origin. In reality, unlike the cat, the dog has also adapted to the consumption of foods typical of human nutrition. In fact, always living in contact with the owner, over the centuries, has developed the ability to digest even cereals and vegetables, usually without particular problems. Despite this, it cannot equally be defined omnivore, like us, but still a carnivore. The cat on the other hand has a much stricter meat based diet

Why are they so attracted to grass then?

First, we need to consider the normal behaviour that animals have in nature. If we think about it, it is not so strange that dogs are able to ingest grass. The predators, in fact, mainly feed on herbivorous prey, such as goats, sheep or rabbits. And what do these animals eat? Grass, which inevitably ends up in the stomach. At this point, therefore, it is easy to think that the predator also ingests some parts of the digestive system of the prey, which normally still contains a certain amount of grass.

Therefore, if our dog seems particularly attracted to grass, it does not mean that he has suddenly become a salad lover, quite the contrary. Probably some dogs will find it pleasant, but according to veterinarians and nutritionists, the explanation for this behaviour is found above all in the health of his stomach and intestines.

Amongst the reasons that push dogs to eat grass we find:

  • cane mangia erba stomaco vomitoNutritional deficiencies: the grass is rich in vitamins, mineral salts and other important nutritional sources. A dog that eats little or badly will need to obtain these substances it needs in an alternative way, for example by eating grass. In particular, the herb is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for the health of the whole organism;

  • Personal tastes: some dogs find fresh grass really irresistible, so every time they get the chance, they will try in every way to ingest a lot of it;

  • Food intolerances and allergies: animals that suffer from food intolerances and allergies can often also suffer from stomach and intestinal disorders, as well as nutritional deficiencies;

  • Stress: when dogs are particularly agitated or stressed, they can chew grass to relax, just like we would do if we pounce on a bar of chocolate. The act of chewing itself, in fact, helps all of us to lower the level of tension, releasing the soothing substances, the endorphins;

  • Use it as a game: if the owner continues to scold him or chase him every time he sees its intent on munching on the grass, the most spiteful dog could react by reinforcing this attitude. This is especially the case of the most neglected dogs or those most eager for attention;

  • Gastrointestinal disorders: this is one of the most accredited theories. According to most veterinarians, in fact, dogs would eat grass especially when they experience nausea and digestive difficulties. For example, it may happen that our dog has made a mess with meals and snacks collected from our table, and feels the need to "free himself" as soon as possible due to the large quantity of food ingested. In these cases, he will resort to the herb, detaching it in order to obtain quite long strands, and throwing them down without chewing. This mechanism will cause the stem to tickle the throat and stomach and intestine walls, stimulating the gag reflex.

What should I do?cane mangia verdure

If the dog tends to eat a few well-chewed blades of grass once in a while, there is absolutely no need to worry. He probably just needs to add an alternative flavor to his daily diet, or maybe he feels the need to supplement some nutrients.

The situation is very different when the dog gulps down grass non-stop, throwing up all the time, or eating it in disproportionate quantities. In these cases, it is advisable to contact our veterinarian, who will be able to assess the general health of the animal, possibly resorting to therapies or diet changes.

The main advice is to try to integrate vegetables to our dog's daily diet. If we only feed him dry food, he may probably need to get more water.

Let's offer him fruits and vegetables, choosing the ones he likes best and avoiding those included among the foods that are dangerous for dogs.


immagine Cosa fare se il cane cerca di scappare di casa

What can I do if my dog tries to run away from the house?

 This problem really affects many owners. When the dog runs away from home, in most cases he does not do it because he cannot stand us anymore and wants to run away, but he just wants to take a breath of fresh air. By running away, however, he might get lost, but also might come across the typical dangers of the road, such as cars or other dogs with which he could fight. Here's how to fix it.

Why does the dog run away?

As we have just said, in most cases dogs don't want to run away from us specifically. The reasons why they could decide to run away can be many. For example:

  • He had previous habit of going out and going to the toilet on his own.
  • Before adopting it, he lived in an outdoor place, like a countryside, albeit fenced;
  • He gets bored because he doesn't have enough stimuli;
  • Tends to get too excited in some situations, for example the sound of the intercom;
  • He is afraid of something in the house or garden and tries to get away;
  • Outside the house there is something particularly interesting that awaits him (other "friends" animals, people who offer him food, stimuli to hunt);
  • Feels the presence of a female dog in heat to conquer;
  • The dog runs away in search of a companion;
  • He simply enjoys devising new plans to escape.

Each of these situations hides a very specific reality: the dog finds something more pleasant outside, compared to our presence and his home. Therefore, we must begin to ask ourselves questions about our relationship with him, evaluating if we really do our best to create a pleasant, peaceful and fun environment for him.

What to do

Although many owners tend to ignore a problem of this type, in reality it is a situation that must be stopped immediately. None of us would like to live with a segregated dog at home, but, as mentioned above, the dangers present outside are real and are also very dangerous and harmful.

Think, for example, of the dog running in the street while we chase after him desperately. Speeding ​​cars, bunch of dogs, children, poisoning risks are just some of the dangers present.

The dog must absolutely have the opportunity to go out, but all together, under our constant control. We will determine where and when to free him for a good run, protected from dangers.

For this reason, the first thing we have to do, as obvious as it may seem, is to make sure that the dog is equipped with a collar with an identification tag, in addition to the microchip so we can be able to localize him if he runs further away from us.

cane scappa di casa scava terreno recinzione

Therefore, to prevent them from running away you can bring padlocks, reinforced locks, fences and anything that can help you seal doors and windows. Remember that dogs can jump, so even if they are very small, they can surprise you with incredibly agile leaps. Avoid leaving possible "trampoline" furniture around the fence or balcony.

In addition, we should enrich our dog's space and time with many pleasant activities, so he can play with us or on his own. Old cuddly toys, pull-and-spring ropes, food-filled toys, intelligence boards. Everything can be used to fight boredom.

Remember that the dog has an extreme need to socialize, not only with us "humans", but also with his fellow companions. If you really don't have the opportunity to adopt another dog for him to play with, go to green areas for dogs close to your city or try to arrange some activities with friends and acquaintances that have a pet. The socialization classes organized by educators are also excellent.

Finally, if the dog is not sterilized yet, and you do not intend to mate your dog in the future, the best solution is to resort to this surgery. No door lock is able to resist the call of nature!

Let's move onto the behavioural aspect.

A very useful thing to do in these cases is to teach the dog to respond to our calls, which all owners should do. To find out how, read our specific guide on this topic carefully.

Alternatively, for those who have time, desire and patience to devote to dog education, you can teach your friend to wait for our command before leaving the house, with or without us. To do this, we will use the usual snack or clicker technique, but we will have to be familiar with the "stay" command first.

  1. Let's stand in front of the entrance door
  2. We ask the dog to sit or lie on the ground, to make him understand that we want him to stand still and to devote all his attention to us
  3. Communicate the "stay" command, rewarding the first few times without doing anything. So we continue getting closer to the front door and returning to reward him every time
  4. At this point we touch the handle, press the dog gently and continue until we can keep the dog still even with the door wide open

If we are handling frightened dogs, the situation is quite different. If the cause of the escape is fear, then you will have to carve out a safer corner in its personal space, for example with a kennel or a table, which can help him feel safe.



immagine Cane che mangia troppo velocemente

Dogs eating too quickly

 Most dogs tend to eat very quickly, in some cases rushing to finish the mean before the owner fills bowl. This attitude is not at all good for the health of the dog, which could experience regurgitation, vomiting and poor digestion. For this reason, it is very important to get him used to eating with the right peace from the beginning of his life. Let's see how.

What happens when the dog eats quickly

The voracity in the ingestion of food is a real problem, both from a behavioural and physical point of view.

In fact, when the dog eats too quickly, it has a series of consequences. First of all, the food ingested quickly will not be able to be digested in the right way, so it could reach the intestine in a semi-digested form, creating problems such as diarrhea, impaired stools, flatulence and poor absorption of the nutrients present in the food. In addition, one of the main effects of rapid food intake is mainly linked to the appearance of regurgitation and vomiting. The stomach, which receives an excessive amount of food in a very short time, reacts by trying to expel it outwards, generally a few minutes after the end of the meal. In the long run, vomiting can create changes in the stomach and oesophagus, favouring the appearance of gastritis and gastroesophageal reflux.

However, that's not all, because a situation of this type can delay the sense of satiety. In fact, when we chew, messages are sent to our brain, which perceives the amount of food ingested based on the number of chews. If we chewed a packet of crackers in a short time, after a few minutes we would be hungry again. On the contrary, by chewing for a long time our brain will feel more satisfied and fuller. The same thing happens in dogs, so a particularly voracious dog will always be hungry, regardless of the amount of food ingested.

Some tips

We assume that this is a very frequent situation. Many dogs behave in this way mainly because they fear that their food ration may be taken away  from them or by other animals. Not surprisingly, voracious dogs are mainly those who have grown up or still live on farms, kennels or simply with other dogs or cats. The fear of having the food removed, pushes them to swallow it in a very short time.

A typical mistake of the owners, which can favour the appearance of this problem, is continuously handling the dog’s food, delaying its ingestion. This attitude is wrong, because it will not slow down the mealtime, on the contrary. Next time, the dog will eat even faster. So avoid moving the bowl, alternating it between one dog and the other or playing to pretend to give him a biscuit, and then remove it from him.

The moment of the meal, however, should be structured in order to calm the normal sense of excitement of the dog, who is eager to reach the bowl, even before offering it to him. To do this, we should mainly work on the self-control of the dog, an aspect that is not simple, but we can still start from some very simple tips.

We fill the bowl with its usual food before starting. Let the dog arrive, talking to him very calmly. If we began to repeat enthusiastically "Run, Fido, food is ready!", we would unleash that sense of excitement that we want to avoid. Calmly, let's sit him down and wait for him to stop barking, whining, hopping and everything related to excitement. Only once it is perfectly calm will we be able to slowly begin to lean the bowl towards the floor. As soon as he gets back up or tries to get closer, let's bring her back up, asking him to sit down again. He will have to understand that we will tell him when he can start the meal.

For the first attempts, it is enough for you to remain seated even for a few seconds, but the important thing is that the bowl remains on the floor while the dog is stationary. The signal to start the meal will be "go!" or "eat!" as you prefer. So let's walk away, let him eat alone and come back after about ten minutes to remove the bowl, which will be empty by now. He will have to understand that we will not take it away from him during the meal but only when he finished eating. It is very important, in any case, to remove the bowl every time the dog has eaten, otherwise he would eat at irregular timings during the day.

We can also use the "stay" command before starting to place the bowl on the floor, alternating it with the "go!" or "eat!" when he can start eating and is sitting down calmly.

To slow down food intake, we can choose very comfortable bowls, available in most pet stores. They are designed to make it more difficult to swallow food, thanks to the presence of small blocks inside, which the dog will have to avoid in order to reach the actual food. The toys that can be filled with food are also excellent, but they are especially useful for snacks and bites, rather than for a complete meal. These two methods also offer the enormous advantage of calming the dog and increasing his ability to focus on the activity he is carrying out.

Alternatively, we can spread his croquettes on the floor, quite far from each other, so that he will necessarily have to ingest them one at a time.

cane comando mangia

immagine Perché i cani leccano viso, mani e piedi?

Why dogs lick face, hands and feet

One of the most common behaviours among dogs is to obstinately lick its owner. Hands, arms, legs, feet and even the face are the parts of the body preferred by dogs, but only because they are the most exposed. We often interpret this dog attitude as a simple way of kissing us. In reality this explanation is really too reductive. So, let's try to understand why dogs lick us.

When can dogs lick each other in nature?

In nature, dogs tend to lick their fellows in specific circumstances.

Firstly, the mother will lick her puppies during the first weeks of life. At the time of birth, she will lick and tear the placenta surrounding the baby, especially trying to eliminate any residues present in the nostrils, which could obstruct breathing. During the first few days, she will try to keep them clean, but also to stimulate the escape of poop and pee, considering that very young puppies are not able to do this without external stimulation. In these cases, mother's licking can vary from the quickest ones, typical of the first period, to the slower ones, which give us a clearer idea of ​​maternal care towards offspring.

cane lecca piedi

Another typical attitude of mothers is to lick their puppies to cover their strong smell, which could attract the attention of predators. Therefore, in these cases it protects its puppies from enemies.

In addition, some puppies may lick their mother to ask for food. As "disgusting" as it may seem, mothers often regurgitate their pre-digested food, giving it to their offspring. By licking the muzzle of the mother, the babies ask for regurgitated food.

As far as the social explanation is concerned, we have to talk about pheromones once again. These particular chemicals are released by each of us and serve to stimulate communication between one individual and another. For example, females communicate their sexual availability to males through pheromones. Normally these molecules are received through the sense of smell, but in some cases, dogs can try to lick us to feel them more distinctly.

Another type of licking is the hierarchical one. In nature, in fact, hierarchically inferior dogs tend to lick the dominant to recognize his supremacy.

What does it mean when the dog licks us?

As we have seen before, the "normal" situations that push dogs to lick can be different. Here are a few reasons why dogs tend to lick their owners.

  • Food request: just as puppies lick the mother's face to ask for regurgitated food, they can also do it with us, especially if they tend to lick our lips or in any case our face. The dog that jumps on us when he sees us, aiming above all at our mouth, does it precisely to mimic the typical behaviour of when he was a puppy. He clearly does not want to get regurgitated food from us, but in any case he would just like to eat;
  • Protection: some dogs tend to lick us just when they smell very strong odours, to try to hide us from possible predators. The most typical example is the dog who licks the owner's feet or armpits, after a long run in the summer, or after a shower. In all these cases it is the smell that attracts the dog, who tries to eliminate it by covering it with his own, in an attempt to protect us from any dangers;
  • Take care of us: often we come across videos of dogs carefully licking babies and children. The reason, in these cases, is linked both to the attempt to protect them, and to put natural maternal care into practice. The licking will be slow and accurate, almost as if the dog were in another dimension;
  • Hierarchy: the dog can also lick the owner for hierarchical reasons, even more so if he is afraid. The typical example is that of the dog licking the face or hands of the veterinarian during the visit, to communicate "ok, you have the power, but don't hurt me";
  • Pheromones: some dogs can lick us to get more information through the perception of our pheromones. In some cases, in fact, we can emit a larger quantity than usual or with a different scent. The dog will lick our skin where we are producing pheromones, to try to understand what is going on.

What if the dog licks himself?

In these cases, we talk about various situations.

A dog that licks its muzzle repeatedly, perhaps in front of us or another dog (sometimes even looking away) is implementing one of the most classic "calming signals". It's a coded message, which really means "I don't want to do anything to you, leave me alone".

In addition, the dog can also trigger a behavioural response when he tends to obsessively lick the owner, himself and even object such as floors and windows. In these cases, we might have come across a compulsive disorder, which will require the help of a behavioural veterinarian. The reasons could be many, the most common reasons are boredom or repeated stressful stimulus, determined by a negative situations at home, a health problem or a new event in the house.

If the dog licks himself too often, talk to your vet immediately, who can help you understand the reasons and suggest an appropriate solution, before the situation gets worse.