Meat tenderizer is a staple in many kitchens. If you're a fan of grilling, it's a must! Usually found in the spice section of your local grocery store, meat tenderizer does double-duty. Not only does it soften the texture of tough meat, but it can also season your meal to add some great flavor.
That's all good and well, but what does meat tenderizer have to do with dog food?
Believe it or not, meat tenderizer is a common trick for dealing with the unique issue of poop eating!
Also known as coprophagia, this behavior is surprisingly common in canines. It's a disgusting sight and often leaves owners feeling uneasy. This is especially true when dogs move in for loving licks to the face!
Sprinkling a dog's food with meat tenderizer seasoning is an age-old trick. While not effective in all instances, many people see success and stop their dog from exhibiting this nasty behavior.
All that said, how much meat tenderizer do you have to put into dog food to see results. Here's the 101 on meat tenderizer and its impact on canine coprophagia.
Why Use Meat Tenderizer?
A powdered meat tenderizer might seem like an unorthodox choice for addressing poop eating. However, it's surprisingly effective at making the feces unappealing.
There are many reasons why dogs eat their poop, which we'll get into later. But ultimately, the taste is still a significant factor.
While we find feces utterly repulsive, your dog might not mind the flavor. The goal with meat tenderizer is to make the droppings unpalatable even to dogs!
Meat tenderizers contain a few core ingredients that get the job done. The first is the primary active ingredient: Enzymes.
Essentially, meat tenderizers are nothing more than naturally derived enzymes. Typically, papain from papayas and bromelain from pineapples are the enzymes of choice.
Once added to meat, the enzymes quickly get to work breaking down tough fibers. As a result, the muscle becomes soft and easy to chew.
When added to dog food, the enzymes don't do much to affect the flavor. However, they will change the taste of the stool later.
The same goes for another critical ingredient:
MSG. Also known as Monosodium Glutamate,
MSG is frequently added to meat tenderizer to infuse some extra flavor.
To have the most impact, double-check the ingredients list of the meat tenderizer you plan to use and make sure it has MSG.
MSG is a bit of a controversial food additive. But you can rest easy knowing that the FDA considers it to be generally safe. A tiny amount of MSG in your dog's food shouldn't lead to any issues.
If you're still worried about its effects, consult with your vet before making any dietary changes.
MSG and those all-important enzymes will make your dog's feces taste awful to your dog.
With regular use, the unappealing taste can be so off-putting that your pup begins to ignore their droppings altogether.
Related: Dog Foods to Make Fido Poop Less
How Much Meat Tenderizer to Put in Dog Food?
When utilizing a meat tenderizer, be careful not to overdo it.
All you need is a light sprinkle. That's it! Anything more, and you could start to see some adverse side effects.
A little bit of powder goes a long way in this application.
Apply the tenderizer to every meal and monitor your dog. Consistency is key! Keep up the applications until your dog doesn't even consider eating their droppings anymore.
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
Adding some meat tenderizer to your dog's food can be pretty effective at stopping most dogs from eating poop. It addresses the taste factor right off the bat.
However, it doesn't tackle any psychological or mental issues.
Canines are complex creatures, and coprophagia is just one of the many ways they deal with their emotions. Let's take a look at some of the reasons why dogs eat feces.
They Enjoy the Taste
Believe it or not, some cases of coprophagia are simply a matter of enjoying the taste! It's something that sends shivers down the spines of most owners. But to dogs, it's nothing but a tasty snack!
You can observe this behavior most around dogs that consume high-protein foods.
It Gets Your Attention
Have you ever freaked out when you saw your dog eat poop? Chances are, you paid a lot of attention to your dog in the moments that followed.
Unfortunately, that extra attention only reinforced the behavior. Some dogs may continue eating stool to spend time with you.
Stress, anxiety, loneliness, and sheer boredom can make dogs do a lot of strange things. Eating poop is just one of them.
It's an emotional response that comes with being in a new environment or a setting that makes them uncomfortable. Younger dogs might eat their poop during housetraining as well to hide accidents.
A Lack of Proper Digestion
If you're feeding your dog low-quality food, digestion issues can become commonplace. Some dogs have trouble processing protein-rich foods, too.
Whatever the case may be, poor digestion leaves some foods unchanged after your dog passes them. When this happens, your dog can mistake the unprocessed food in feces for their standard meal.
Here's an issue that you should discuss with your vet.
Dogs that don't get the calories and nutrients they need to survive often resort to eating poop. It's an attempt to re-digest the food and get more nutrients.
If this is the case, you need to reevaluate your dog's diet and make necessary changes to improve their health.
Imitating Learned Behaviors
When your dog was a puppy, they probably observed their mother eating poop. Mother dogs tend to eat the droppings of their young to keep the nest clean.
Typically, the behavior stops once the babies move out of the nest to do their business.
Young puppies can pick up the behavior and replicate it. They don't know any better, so it's something you'll have to address with behavioral training.
Acts of Protection
Do you have an old or sick dog in the house? If so, your younger dogs might eat the poop of the older ones as an act of protection.
This instinctual behavior is meant to protect the pack. Eating the poop ensures that no potential predators find their weak companion.
If you suspect that something deeper is causing your dog to eat poop, consult with a vet and behaviorist. They can help you get to the root problem and find ways to overcome it.
Otherwise, you can give meat tenderizers a try. Cheap, easy to access, and surprisingly effective, they can be the solution you need to put your dog's disgusting behaviors to rest once and for all!