Why Do Dogs Eat Poop? Unveiling the Surprising Reasons and Effective Solutions

why do dogs eat poop

As a pet parent, you may have observed your furry friend engaging in a strange and disgusting behavior: eating poop. You might ask yourself, “Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?” 

Coprophagia, or the act of eating excrement, is a frequent dog activity that can be baffling and even frightening for owners. In this article, we will look at why dogs eat poop and what you can do to stop it.

5 Reasons Why Do Dogs Eat Poop

There are various reasons why dogs eat poop, and it is critical to identify the underlying cause to successfully manage the problem. Most puppies stop this when they reach the proper dog’s age which is approximately nine months.

According to the American Kennel Club, specialists led by Dr. Benjamin Hart of the University of California, Davis revealed that.

Serious dogs that eat poop are classified as those caught in the act (16%), while 24 percent of the dogs in the study were seen eating poop at least once. To help you prevent poop-eating behavior in your dog, here are some of the probable reasons for this not-normal behavior in dogs:

Medical Issues

If a dog suddenly starts eating poop or will eat poop, it might be an indication of a health issue that causes an increase in hunger. 

Coprophagia in dogs can be caused by a variety of medical disorders. Other dogs may eat poop due to digestive enzyme deficits, malabsorption diseases, harmful bacteria, or intestinal tract infections, for example.

Your dog might eat their own poop or, even worse, the excrement of another dog or animal.

If your dog suddenly starts eating poop or eats it regularly, you should consult your veterinarian, especially if they have lately shown any other indications of sickness.

Nutritional Deficiency

Dogs may eat poop if their diet is deficient in certain nutrients. A European PMC investigation discovered that other dogs whose meals were low in thiamine established coprophagia.

For example, if a dog’s life diet is lacking in vitamin B, it may eat poop to supplement the substance. The symptoms of nutritional deficiencies vary depending on which nutrients are deficient, however, they commonly include

  • Dry Skin or scaling
  • Underweight or overweight
  • Frequent Infections

Instinctual Behavior

A 2018 study discovered that coprophagia is an inherited trait from dogs’ progenitors, wolves. According to the researchers, wolves frequently defecate away from their homes, in part because the waste contains intestinal worm eggs. 

However, if a wolf was unable to roam and forced to defecate at home, those parasite eggs were a possible concern. However, because parasite eggs normally do not hatch into infectious larvae for many days, the poop would not necessarily be hazardous immediately away.

According to the experts, wolves would eat the poop to get rid of it and defend the group. While it may seem severe to be a poop eater, keep in mind that those wolves didn’t have a pooper scooper on hand.

Cleaning the dog’s den when rearing a litter of pups is another instinctual habit for mother dogs.

For an initial couple of weeks upon birth, a mother dog would subsequently eat feces. Mother dog would also lick the newborns’ rears to promote bowel movements.


Dogs may eat poop to attract the attention of their owners. Most dog owners are opposed to their dogs eating feces, whether it’s typical or not.

Other dogs may have begun to eat poop when they were young because it seemed like a game to them.

Your dog could not even want to play and may simply want you to interact with them. This is then passed down to your adult dog as a taught habit that attracts their attention.

If an adult dog has learned that eating poop gets its owner’s interest, it can keep trying to do so.

Behavioral Issues

Coprophagia(Poop Eating) may occur in certain adult dogs as a result of behavioral difficulties such as nervousness or boredom.

It is not usual for an adult dog to eat its own poop. Anxiety can produce coprophagia in the following situations:

  • Anxiety, in general
  • Confinement Concerns

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety, for example, may eat poop as a coping method when left alone for lengthy periods. 

Dogs that are alone or who spend too much time in a box or other restricted settings are more prone to eat their own poop.

Anxiety caused by rigorous training methods, inappropriate association, or punishment might also contribute to the behavior.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Eating Poop?

Understanding the underlying cause of coprophagia in dogs is necessary for stopping the behavior. If your dog is trying to eat poop frequently, you should seek help from your veterinarian or a behaviorist. 

Here are some tips to keep your dog from eating poop:

A Well-balanced Diet

Ascertain that your dog’s diet satisfies its nutritional requirements. Premium-quality dry food, which may be combined with water, broth, or canned dog food, provides a well-balanced diet for adult dogs, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

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Other dogs, such as bigger breeds or those prone to bloat, benefit from two smaller meals.

If your dog is one of the greedy eaters but has nutritional deficiencies, consult with your veterinarian about what your dog should eat, changing your dog’s food, or adding supplements.

Keep Your Dog’s Environment Clean

To keep your dog from eating poop, clean the poop immediately as possible. You should also limit your dog’s exposure to the animal’s poop in public places. 

Pick up your dog’s poop as quickly as possible and keep them on a leash when they go to the bathroom.

Always have a poop scooper or poo bag handy anytime you take your pets outside to avoid dog-eating behavior.

Another suggestion is to limit your dog’s access to the litter box. The litter box for dogs is basically similar to those designed for cats and usually has dog-friendly features such as taller sides to keep litter confined within the box.

Training Methods

it is not always normal for dogs to eat poop, provide lots of exercises and mental stimulation if you’ve noticed your dog eating poop.

To avoid boredom and anxious dog, which can lead to coprophagia. If your dog is eating poop, it is critical to evaluate if the is consuming his own poop. Have all of the necessary supplies for training, and walking your dog.

According to Research, those who work out with their dogs are more likely to adhere to their fitness practice.

Regular walks may assist with pet behavior issues as well as improve their heart health, just as they can help with your blood pressure and mental wellness. 

Use Natural Poop Deterrent Products

Several products on the market promise to stop eating poop behavior in dogs. Unfortunately, over-the-counter poop-eating prevention solutions just do not work.

Feeding your dog little bits of fresh pineapple can make their poop unappealing. According to a 2018 study, none of the commercial products were effective in treating coprophagy.

Teach Your Dog the “Leave It” Command

You may teach your dog to leave poop alone when asked by introducing and practicing the Leave It command.

One thing to keep in mind here is that dog owners usually have to be there to say “leave it” for their dogs to be successful with this. Below will help you for teaching your dog the command, “leave it”:

Make sure you have two types of snacks on hand. You could also break up the goodies into pea-sized pieces so he doesn’t have to chew on them for too long. Put a different sort of goodie in each hand.

Make a fist with the hand that is holding the lower-value goodie and offer it to your dog to smell. “Leave it” and wait for him to finish smelling your fist. When your dog has finished smelling, either click with the clicker or say “yes.”

Repeat until your dog stops smelling your hand as soon as you say “Leave it.” When you say “leave it” he immediately stops sniffing, tethering your dog, and tossing a low-value goodie out of his reach.

By practicing “leave it,” your dog should eventually cease tugging as soon as you provide the command. When giving him a tasty treat, make it something special, not just kibble. 

While most pups grow out of this tendency, it is your responsibility to offer correct instruction along with positive reinforcement.

Consult With a Professional

If your dog’s coprophagia continues despite your best attempts to avoid it, get advice from a professional behaviorist or veterinarian. 

Inquire if they have any suggestions for foods or supplements to include in their diet. For additional testing and treatment, they may send you to a veterinary nutritionist.


Is it normal for some dogs to eat their poop?

While it’s hardly a desirable feature, eating his own poop is often safe. However, eating other animals’ poop might expose your dog and family to hazardous parasites and illnesses.

What home remedy can I use to stop my dog from eating his poop?

If your dog eats poop, take them outside with you so you can quickly divert them and pick them up if they start eating them. Add meat tenderizer, canned pumpkin, or similar food deterrents. These foods taste OK when consumed, but they make poop taste awful to dogs.

Can a dog get sick from eating poop?

Even if consuming poop is a natural activity, it might make your dog sick. Internal parasites are commonly transmitted among dogs or to dogs from others through eating other animals’ poop. Eating poop can also cause dogs to develop infectious intestinal parasites and gastrointestinal diseases.

Final Thoughts

If you follow this instruction and your dog is still eating poop, you should take him or her to a veterinarian. The veterinarian will assist in determining whether any medical concerns are causing the dog to be too hungry.

You may answer the question “Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?” by addressing the main reason for the bad habit and implementing preventative steps. You can contribute to your dog’s health and well-being while avoiding potential dangers to yourself and your family.

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