Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a means, using an aversion conditioning technique, to deter dogs from eating feces- both their own and that of other animals.
Coprophagia, or stool eating, is a common phenomenon reported to occur in 16 percent of dogs. While the habit is usually not harmful to dogs, it can cause considerable distress in the pets’ owners. There are currently several marketed products to address stool eating - a few just address the unpleasant odor from eating stool while most focus on deterring the habit through the use of pills, chews, or other medications that must be taken daily or weekly. None of the currently marketed products stop the stool eating.
The method developed by the researchers at UC Davis uses a product that induces a one-time transient nausea in dogs that consume feces, leading to an aversion to eating feces. The method is safe for dogs and is expected to produce an aversion in a single use, although it may be used safely in an “as needed” basis. It is envisioned that single dose treatments would be dispensed by veterinarians to clients along with instructions for use. While the product is intended for dogs consuming dog feces, the product could also be used for dogs repeatedly consuming cat feces.