Dogs | Science | Animals | Pets

Science Finally Explains Your Dog's Nastiest Habit

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The Bark / NBC

It's the dirty little secret that all dog owners know, but wish they didn't.

Some dogs just love to chow down on their own poop. And no matter what we do to stop them, it can seem like there's no way to curb this gross behavior.

They look so innocent...but they love to gross you out.Loiter

While dog owners around the world have witnessed the behavior, vets and animal experts are still trying to figure out why our pets do it in the first place. A new survey may provide some answers, as well as sound advice on how to break your pet's poop addiction.

The scoop on this bad behavior comes from the journal Veterinary Medicine and Science. Researchers compared two surveys: one of 3,000 dog owners, and a smaller group who say their dogs regularly eat poop.

The results aren't for the faint of heart, but they are illuminating:

  • 60% of owners in the second survey say their dogs eat poop every day
  • The other 32% say they do it at least once a week
  • A dog's age, sex, and training don't seem to make a difference when it comes to this behavior
Poop eating is unhealthy, but not that risky.A Letter To My Dog

While the habit isn't very dangerous, vets warn it has been known to cause diarrhea and other diseases.

Thankfully, the survey identifies the best way to prevent your dog from eating poop once and for all.

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