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OK, Hello again Vizsla owners!! We are posting this topic again, because we just don't know what else to do...and are having a hard time living with this disgusting habit. Our beautiful 18 month old V, is still consuming feces. Not all the time, and mostly her own. We were open feeding her, which seemed to have stopped the behaviour, because she could eat whenever she wanted, and however much (to a controlled degree). The vet however told us she was getting a little on the heavy side, and to cut it back a little. We changed foods, and she is currently on Royal Canine. But...the poop eating has started again. She is about 21 inches tall and weighs 45 lbs. We are going to switch her to a raw meat diet soon, and are hoping the less fat, higher protein and maybe a higher quantity will help. Just wondering if any other V's do this, or if we just got the special one!! She was the runt, and pretty underweight when we got her. All of her behaviour issues revolve around food as well. Stealing things to chew on (eat) and constant counter surfing. Any advice, help or similar stories would help. Thank you.

Ruger's Mom!
 

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Ruger's Mom,

I have a 2+ year old vizsla male who I adopted at around 12 months old AND a GSP who is about 9 months old. The vizsla was on a raw diet for awhile and the GSP was a "poop eater" early in her life so I'll try and talk about both issues, pardon the unavoidably long winded email...

Raw Diet - We switched our V to a raw diet after being raised on kibble. He took to it immediately, but there were a few issues that caused us to switch him back.

1. Cost & Convenience - We bought our pre-prepared raw food in bulk from a local distributor. Buying in bulk saved cash, but it meant freezing a majority of it and then having to defrost it when necessary.

2. Vitamin/Supplements - Apparent a raw diet, even with choice meats and veggies, does NOT contain all the vitamins/minerals/etc that your dog needs to stay healthy. We had to sprinkle a supplement in to each meal to make sure he got what he needed.

3. Weight Gain - We had LOTS of trouble getting him to keep his weight up. He always looked gaunt. Most raw diets recommend you weigh meals, we eventually started feeding him way more than recommended, even still he was only around 45lbs AND now we found ourselves spending more $ on food.

In the end I decided it wasn't worth all the time/effort/money, especially since I don't think there are any/many visible effects. Most dogs live long, healthy lives off a kibble diet. That being said, ONCE YOU START YOUR DOG ON A RAW DIET IT CAN REAK HAVOC ON THEIR BODY TO SWITCH THEM OFF IT. We battled "the runs" with our guy for months after switching him back to kibble. And now he's on prescription kibble cause that's the only thing that agrees with his stomach.

My recommendation is find a good Organic/Natural brand and mix in some High Calorie food with it. That's what we do and we've seen great results, but again everyone's dog is different some times it takes awhile to figure out what's best for yours.

Poop Eating - Unfortunately there's no easy answer here, we had virtually the same issue, our GSP would eat poop, but only her own. Two suggestions, neither of which are a whole lot of fun:

1. The more you allow him/her to eat it the more he/she will. We got in a bad habit of letting our girl out in the yard on her own AND only cleaning up the yard once a week. Letting her out alone let her roam and gave her plenty of opportunity to eat whatever she came across. If you leave poop in the yard your dog will find it. It takes some effort, but clean up your yard as much as you can AND think about only letting your dog out on leash to go to the bathroom and come back in.

2. Our vet, at some point, recommended sprinkling meat tenderizer in her food. Supposedly it tastes fine on the way down, but once it comes out it's extremely bad tasting and not appealing to them. Might be worth a shot, here's the brand he recommended.

http://www.farawayfoods.com/adolph.html

Good luck, let me know if this helps and if you have more questions.
 

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Have you tried an electric collar? Put it on the dog for a couple of weeks but don't use it (put it on and take it off every day if that is what the manufacturer recommends). After 2 weeks it will have forgotton all about it and not associate the shock with you or the collar. Then keep an eye on the dog. If it starts to eat poop give it a good zap. After a couple of times it will start to think that activity isn't such a good idea.

We do the same thing in New Zealand to stop hunting dogs eating Kiwi birds which live in burrows on the ground. Its called avoidance training (or in our case Avian Aversion training). You might want to talk to a trainer about this as I haven't heard of anyone doing this for your problem. You wouldn't want to create some other negative behaviour.
 

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I have the same problem with my nearly 12 month old female V. named Bella. I get so upset watching her do this and it makes me wonder i have such a "retarded" dog. My girlfriend and i have never ever had a dog that has done this, and we find it completely disappointing. I'm like you, in the fact that i really want to get this remedied. I pick up her poo daily and right after she goes, but she'll search the yard for it, and even lick the poo shovel. Talk about gross. I yell "leave it" when i see her do it, and she stops, but she knows it's bad and continues to do it. I could use some help as well. Maybe i'll try the meat tenderizer trick. Help if you can. thanks
 

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my pup is 13wks and has started poop eating or even cat poop not fussy. some say its poor diet but like your guys she s on a highly recommended food (james welbeloved) from the vets/breeder.I have not changed food -she s been on the same one since weaning.has anyone else had a problem with this (English) food?? poop never been solid or is this the norm for some vizslas???
 

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I think the attempted poo eating is a phase. Blaze tried it 2 -3 times but that was early in puppyhood. Once saw my beardie do it as an older dog. I never ever heard tell of it before that and near died! I could hardly look at him that day! :-[ So when Blaze tried it I had at least known it was not that unusual . Maybe some dogs are more persistent with it than others but correcting it consistently and having an eagle eye to stop it before it happens should stop it. Blaze also used to have a thing for the boys underwear. He just liked "stinky" ! That was gross - I threw more than a few pairs out. :p
 

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I just have to say that my Vizsla was also snacking on poop. Our vet recommended the Adolph's Meat Tenderizer (original version only) and said to sprinkle it on his food (as well as the food of any other pets in the home) for a month. It worked really well and we no longer have that issue.
 

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Yes, why do dogs have a taste for stinky--and disgusting! Mmm, dirty socks--oh, the cat threw up--yum. Rosie actually managed to find a used condom on a walk the other day. I've never seen a used condom in this neighborhood. I am sooo glad I was not the one walking her.
 

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Most books say that poop eating may be a result of the type of discipline on housebreaking your V, maybe the fear the dog has of you, instead of trust may be the cause of the eating. He eats so you are not mad at him.
 

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A note about cat poop eating: I've been told cat feces is particularly high in protein, so dogs love it! I think cat food itself might usually have higher protein levels compared to dog food. I do know that another girl in our puppy class uses cat food for her high-value reward, and the trainer said dogs go nuts for cat food.

Jasper is not interested at all in his or other dogs' poop. He'll sniff, then walk away. But cat poop is like candy for him!
 

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To add yet another perspective: I've read that poop eating doesn't have any special dietary significance, it's just something they do. It is gross, though.
 

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I've been very fortunate in that I've never had to deal with this. But I have heard that the simplest and best way to deal with it is instant clean-up after they go potty. Then it becomes a non-issue.
 
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