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New adult dog rescued from puppy mill. Any hints on helping it adjust?

Dory BlakesleeDory Blakeslee Chicago and GlenviewPosts: 9Member
My aunt just adopted a Westie who was a stud dog at a puppy mill. She is having issues with him eating his poop. Any suggestions for an older dog (Est 4 years old) who has most likely been eatting his poop his entire life? Also, any suggestions for helping my cousin adjust to a new house and a new brother?

Best Answers

  • Melissa TakadaMelissa Takada TennesseePosts: 373Member
    Accepted Answer
    Pick up after him asap to avoid him eating his poop. He propably needs to be on a high quality food, like Innova, Wellness, ect... (great forums here on food). Definatley take it slow. I am sure it will take the little guy a while to adjust so be patient. There are some great people here at dogster so I know you will get a more specific answer! The best of luck!
  • JULIE REYNOLDSJULIE REYNOLDS St. LouisPosts: 10,984Member
    Accepted Answer
    Completely agree with Alex's advice. Just pick up the poo and feed a great food. Puppy mill dogs live in filth and don't know any other way to be. My Sophie is a puppy mill survivor as well. My advice first is to take him to the vet to get an overall check up, and get him tested for heartworms and put on preventatives. Just take it slow. The first few days Sophie came home, she slept a lot, wouldn't come to me, and would run when someone tried to pet her. Now she is like a whole new dog. More outgoing and very happy. Don't rush it. Let him be when it seems like he wants to be left alone. Eventually he will open up. This link is to the rescue where I got Sophie. They specialize in puppy mill rescues and have some great advice:
  • Blair HillBlair Hill NewtonPosts: 934Member
    Accepted Answer
    Adding 2-4 tablespoons of canned pumpkin into his food usually stops a dog from eating their poop. For some reason they love to eat pumpkin but it must smell incredibly bad to them once it's excrement. Also, you should give the dog a multi vitamin(for dogs) if you're worried that he's not getting the proper nutrition from his meals.
  • Sandra PerrySandra Perry MemphisPosts: 1,425Member
    Accepted Answer
    Just lots and lots of love. Heaven knows what that poor baby has been through. Keep reinforcing that his new people love him and want to take care of him. Balance that with giving him space and time to adjust. He's probably been cooped up in a tiny cage his whole life. Having a lot of space in which to roam is probably going to be a big change for him. Bless your aunt for taking in this sweet little man!
  • Michelle BradleyMichelle Bradley CaliforniaPosts: 3,684Member
    Accepted Answer
    I'd say he is probably eating his poop due to poor nutrition in the mill. He could have done this because poor quality food was passing through too fast and he was low in nutrients. Making sure he has a very high quality food is essential for this dog and it will more than likely fix the problem. Until he adjusts, definitely pick the poop up as soon as it happens to stop him being able to eat it. Other than the poop problem, I'd suggest making sure this dog is kept on a very, very predictable schedule. Consistently going for the morning walk, afternoon playtime, meals at the same time, (you get the idea) really, REALLY helps a new dog adjust. Dogs are creatures of habit and thrive on repetition. Having a leader who makes predictable moves helps take pressure off and makes the dog feel safe. Also, basic training sessions (no more than two ten minute sessions per day to start) helps build confidence. It takes time, but congrats to your aunt for rescuing this guy!
  • Lynn LindseyLynn Lindsey JeffersonPosts: 1Member
    Accepted Answer
    Believe it or not, your vet can give you something that will make the poop "less palatable". I work for a vet and it does seem to work.
  • Connie BoltenConnie Bolten PurcellvillePosts: 332Member
    Accepted Answer
    Our rescue mutt, who lived in a kennel situation and is a very submissive dog (probably last to eat at the trough etc) had a habit of eating poop also. We started using "Distaste" sold by Drs. Foster&Smith (catalog and internet) and it has seemed to do the trick. We do pick up every day, but she doesn't have the 'poo breath' that she did before. I'm not sure about the pumpkin, we give our dogs that so that they get enough fiber (mutt has a small anal gland issue and this seems to help a lot). Now, when she encounters horse poop or cow poop - that's still fair game! But she doesn't eat her own anymore and I credit that to the 'Distaste'.
  • paula Allenpaula Allen Posts: 83Member
    Accepted Answer
    I've used a product from the pet store called "Deter" for this problem with good results.
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