Yelp!! My Dog Eats His Poop

Out of all the disgusting habits our beloved dogs have – like drinking from the toilet, rolling in swamp muck, licking their butts—nothing tops the disgusting practice of eating poop.
There’s a scientific name for this habit—coprophagia —and also both behavioral and physiologic reasons why some dogs view dung as a delicacy.

If you have a poop eater, don’t despair. There are ways to discourage the habit.

Poop Eating is Normal for Mothers and Pups

For some species, eating fecal droppings is a totally normal way of obtaining key nutrients.

Fortunately, dogs do not need to get nutrients in this manner.

It is, however, a normal, natural behavior at some canine life stages. Mother dogs will lick their puppies to urge them to eliminate, and clean their feces, for about the first three weeks. Puppies will also naturally engage in this behavior, eating both their own fecal droppings (known as autocoprophagia), and those of other dogs (allocoprophagia), as well as cats and other animals.

Eating their own poop is harmless, but consuming that of other animals may cause health problems if the stool is contaminated with parasites, viruses, or toxins. In most cases, this behavior will fade before the puppy is about nine months old.

Some Facts About Dogs Who Eat Poop

When it occurs in puppies, coprophagia is generally considered part of the process of exploring the world around them. Most will be satisfied with a sniff, but a few will want, like human children, to put everything in their mouths. One bizarre fact: Dogs will rarely eat soft, poorly formed stools or diarrhea. They appear to be attracted most to hard stools.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

If your adult dog starts to dine on dung, you should consult with your vet to rule out such health problems as:

  • Parasites
  • Diets deficient in nutrients and calories malabsorption syndromes diabetes, Cushing’s, thyroid disease, and other conditions that might cause an increase in appetite drugs, such as steroids

In many cases dogs eat their own poop because of various reasons:

Being left alone: Dogs who are kept alone in kennels or locked up are more likely to eat poop than dogs that live with their people
Restricted confinement: Spending too much time in confined spaces can cause the problem

why do dogs eat poop
why do dogs eat poop

Anxiety: Often when a pet parent has used punishment or harsher methods while toilet training their dog. Dogs eat their own poop to get rid of evidence, but then they are punished more for it.
Attention seeking: Dogs eat their own poop to get a reaction from their humans, which they inevitably will. So if you see your dog doing this, don’t overreact.
Inappropriate association with food: Dogs who are fed in close proximity to their feces may make a connection between the odors of food and those of poop and will be unable to tell the difference.
Scenting it on their mothers: Puppies will get confused by sniffing fecal odors on their mother’s breath after she has cleaned them. Also, sometimes mothers may regurgitate food that is mixed with puppy fecal matter.
Living with a sick or geriatric dog: Sometimes a healthy dog will consume stools from a weaker canine member of the household, especially in cases of fecal incontinence. Science says that this may be related to the instinct to protect the pack from predators.

How to stop your dog from eating poop

Vitamin supplementation: There’s been a long-standing theory that dogs eat feces because they are missing something in their diets. Vitamin-B deficiency, in particular, has been a prime suspect

Enzyme supplementation: The modern canine diet is higher in carbohydrates and lower in meat-based proteins and fats than the canine ancestral diet.

Taste-aversion products: The theory is that certain tastes and smells are as disgusting to dogs as the idea of stool eating is to us and that spraying certain substances on poop will make it less appealing.

Be diligent in cleaning up: After your puppy eliminates. Do not give him the chance to play with or eat his stool. Try placing the puppy on a leash when you take him outside to relieve himself, and do not allow him to inspect his stool after he has defecated. Distract him from the stool by calling him to you, and when he responds appropriately, reward him with a training treat and verbal encouragement and then take him inside, away from the stool, before you go back to pick it up.

Why You Should Take Your Poop Eating Dog to the Vet

If your dog eats poop, you should make sure it’s not because of a health issue. Some dogs will start eating poop when they aren’t absorbing enough nutrients, they have parasites, or they have issues with their pancreas. All coprophagic dogs should be examined by a veterinarian.

38 thoughts on “Yelp!! My Dog Eats His Poop”

  1. Omyyyyy! I would’ve freaked out if I found my dogs eating poop! Don’t know what I’d do if they got sick from it 🙁 Great tips though, will definitely take note of these 😀

  2. This is so interesting. For one, i do not have any idea that dogs may eat their own poop or even worse, others’. Second, just learned such terminologies and I find it real cute reading and pronouncing them again and again. Lastly, of course any action has reasons for it and the dog’s reason for eating its poop is just fascinating. It only shows that any man’s bestfriend has emotions, too.

  3. I didnt know they could also develop Cushing’s i thought the syndrome only exist with humans. I learned so much about dogs here. The term coprophagia was new to me.. And i didnt realize that dogs can dine on dung. I love dogs. But as much as i wanted to keep one i cant. I am really allergic to dogs and cats. It causes me severe skin allergies and i dont know why..

  4. When I first read the title of this I was like “what-am-i-about-to-read!?” Haha!

    To my surprise, it was actually a really interesting article! My partner and I are looking at buying a dog soon so it’s been really beneficial to learn about this! Thank you so much for your time to write it and put it together!

    • Thank you for your visit and feedback. Good luck with getting a dog please research well before you buy one; also consider adopting one from the shelter

  5. Oh my goodness! Hahaha so much interesting information in this post! I didn’t know dogs (pups) could do that, you know? I didn’t even know it had a scientific name, haha! Surely this article of yours will help dog owners who are in a similar predicament. My pups aren’t as “adventurous” as to eat their own poop (but they love chewing on our pillows!). Much luck!

    • Thank you for your visit & feedback . I know somebody’s boxer who has a fetish for pillows no matter how well exercised she is it is her lifes mission to shred them

  6. I have a dog named Dastan but I didn’t know about all of these, thanks to you I get to learn something. I do agree that dogs eat poop and we actually discouraged them. This is a good information, I didn’t know about this.

  7. I haven’t seen or experienced this with my dogs. However, I caught one of them eating the food they already vomited. I don’t know if the same circumstance occurs when they eat their poop but after eating the vomited food, they seemed normal. But, as a fellow pet parent or doggie owner, I’ll keep this in mind! Well, just in case. 😉

  8. As it is I am not good with dogs and now this. Don’t hate them but I am scared of them. But honestly, this is quite unheard of. Have heard of some weird things dogs do but not this.

  9. Though it is normal for them they still need to see vet to sure that it has nothing to do with their health. So far, our dog, Jojek as we call her a shihpoo breed, has not eaten her poop yet. So I just hope she wont.

  10. crazy things i hear and learn about dogs… i for one dont allow my friends dog who i take care of get any close to poop. i am glad it has also gotten use to not doing it.

  11. Luckily my dog usually doesn’t eat poop :). She prefers her food ;).
    But She did it once. when she felt ill. I think she was just confused and didn’t feel ok. She ate her poop and then vomited again. Luckily she recovered well after visiting the vet!


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