10 Best Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It

Why Dogs Eat Poop?

Coprophagia in dogs is a problem that should not be underestimated. 

In fact, if your dog eats his own feces or those of other animals, you should know that he runs the risk of suffering from various health problems, such as the appearance of bacteria or parasites in the intestine. 

It is not just something that disgusts us human beings, but behavior that involves various problems.

Coprophagia refers to the ingestion of feces and is a common action in both dogs and other animal species. Despite this, the owners reject this behavior. 

If you want me to stop doing this, continue reading this AnimalPedia article and find out why the dog eats poop, the causes, and the remedies to put into practice to stop this habit.

10 Best Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It
10 Best Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It

Why Dogs Eat Poop?

Coprophagia in dogs is a more common behavior than is thought in canids, including wolves that live in the wild. 

However, many people who decide to get a dog are unaware of this behavior and clearly worry when they see that their puppy or adult dog behaves this way.

However, to understand why dogs eat poop, it is good to distinguish several situations. For example, a dog who has just given birth eats puppy feces to keep the kennel clean.

But how to understand when this behavior is normal and when it must be repressed? And above all, how unaccustomed is the dog to eating Poop? 

To answer these questions it is essential to know the cause of coprophagia in your four-legged friend, discard any health problems with a visit to the vet, and then try to apply remedies and, in the most serious cases, contact an expert in canine behavior. .

Coprophagia in dogs

Coprophagia is much more common in dogs than in cats and there are several types:

  • Autocoprophagia: when the puppy eats his feces (or the adult dog);
  • Intraspecific coprophagia: when the dog eats the feces of another dog;
  • Interspecific coprophagia: when the dog eats the feces of another animal species.

While the idea of ​​eating feces is disgusting for us, eating poop is quite common for dogs. 

As long as it is only auto-propagating there are no major dangers, but when the dog eats the poop of other animals (dogs, cats, or rodents) it is dangerous because it is a very fast way of transmitting diseases or parasites. 

This is why it is important to understand why my dog ​​eats poop and to intervene immediately. But why do dogs eat their feces? Let’s see it together.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop – 10 Causes

Why Does Dog Eat Poop? 10 main causes:

  1. They discovers what surrounds him
  2. She recently gave birth
  3. They have a health problem
  4. They wants to get your attention
  5. Suffering from loneliness
  6. Wrong reproaches
  7. They are stressed out
  8. Dirty house
  9. Diets deficient in nutrients and calories (your vet may suggest supplements)
  10. Dogs that eat the feces of cats, horses, mice, other dogs, etc.

To learn more about each cause, continue reading the next paragraph.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop – Top 10 Common Causes

In order to understand what is the exact cause of coprophagia in dogs, it is good to take into account some aspects such as the age of the dog, the well-being of the animal, the hours he spends alone, his health conditions in general, and the time or the situation in which he eats feces

Do you suspect your dog eats feces but you don’t know exactly when and where he does it? 

If the situation worries you, we recommend that you place cameras in the garden or in the house to observe what your dog is doing when you are not around.

Below we show you 10 answers to why dogs eat poop.

1. Why Puppy Eat Poop

Why do puppies eat poop? 

There are many puppies that eat poop and in general, it is a behavior linked to age and the desire to explore their surroundings, so it tends to disappear as it grows and with education. In these cases, the dog eats its own poop or that of other animals. 

However, the same behavior can result from boredom or poor environments and in puppies that have passed the socialization phase in pet shops or away from the mom and the rest of the litter. 

Coprophagia in puppies is abnormal starting from the third/fourth month, especially if it is related to curiosity and exploration.

2. Dog eating puppy poop

Again this is normal. The little dogs that have just given birth, in fact, ingest the poop of the puppies to keep the kennel clean and we must neither inhibit nor try to eliminate this instinct. 

What you can do is help her keep the environment clean without interfering too much, otherwise, she may show symptoms of stress. 

Remember that in the early stages of a puppy’s life, you shouldn’t touch or get too close to them, as the mother may reject them or get nervous.

3. Diseases and health problems

Certain conditions can cause adult dogs to eat other people’s poop or their own. The cause may lie, for example, in intestinal malabsorption syndrome or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. 

Before tracing this behavior back to a behavioral problem, it is good to rule out any health problems by visiting the vet. However, some alarming symptoms can be digestive problems, such as flatulence, vomiting or diarrhea. 

In some cases, coprophagia in dogs can depend on a poor quality diet, especially if it is rich in cereals. In fact, to digest cereals correctly, the body needs enzymes called amylases, which are responsible for assimilating the starch contained in cereals. 

However, the dog does not produce it in large quantities, therefore it is not able to digest a high percentage of cereals and eats the feces to find the enzymes and trace elements necessary to be able to synthesize amylase. 

Do not forget that, in addition, a high percentage of grains in the dog’s diet causes obesity, an excess of sugar and cortisol in the blood, and behavioral problems related to hyperactivity.

4. They Want to Get Your Attention

Although it may seem strange to you, if you ignore it when you walk your dog and spend all your time on the phone, it will try to get your attention.

 If he does not succeed in any way, he will start eating feces. If he does, your reaction will be to scold him, but with the scolding, you are reinforcing this disgusting behavior.

 To stop your dog from eating poop, have him practice olfactory research games, such as searching, active ball games, or frisbee. Remember that the walk is a time of day dedicated to the dog.

5. Spend many hours alone

If the dog spends a lot of time indoors alone, the dog will eat poop out of boredom and loneliness. 

Spend more time with him when you are at home and remember that he should never spend more than 6 or 8 hours alone in the house and you must take him for a walk at least twice a day. 

Furthermore, he tries to enrich the environment in which he lives with new stimuli and games that push him to entertain himself throughout the day.

6.  They’re Scared of Being Punished for an Accident

If you use punishments and punishments to educate the dog when he poops inside the house or if you put his muzzle close to the feces, the animal could eat them to hide them and thus avoid reprimand. 

It is an extremely bad and stressful situation for the dog and it also weakens your bond. Avoid scolding him and use positive reinforcement instead.

7. They Have Stress and anxiety

If you have noticed one or more of the 10 signs of stress in the dog you will need to make sure that he does not spend too much time alone, that he does the right physical activity, that he does not have behavioral problems and, on your part, limit the use of punishment. Anxiety and stress in the dog can cause the dog to change the way he behaves.

8. Lack of hygiene and cleanliness in the house

If your dog is very clean, he may eat poop to maintain hygiene in the house and to prevent his living space from becoming dirty. Perhaps the walks you take him are few or do not last long enough and that is why the dog poops inside the house and then eats it.

9. Other health problems

Many other situations can cause, directly or indirectly, the ingestion of feces by the dog. If you haven’t found the reason that explains why your dog does this, consult an ethologist or canine behavior specialist.

10. Dogs that eat the poop of other animals

It is also common for dogs to eat the poop of other animals such as cats, rabbits, mice or horses. 

For dogs, in fact, the feces of these animals can seem appetizing and tasty. However, care must be taken, because the feces of cats, for example, can transmit diseases or parasites to the dog.

Dog eats poop: tips

Before seeing how to unaccustomed the dog to eating poop, we want to emphasize that there is no single therapy that is valid in all cases because each situation is different and you have to adapt the advice to the specific case and the character of your four-legged friend. 

It is for this reason that we would like to underline the importance of professional figures such as veterinarians, ethologist,s or dog educators because they are the only ones who can help you to definitively solve the problem in the most appropriate way.

How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop?

Below we offer you a list of remedies for a dog that eats poop. Take note and try to put into practice the tips we give you:

1. Avoid eating feces by keeping him under control all the time, especially if it is a puppy. Clean inside the house with enzymatic products and teach the dog to toilet on the sleeper. Eating poop is a feedback behavior, so the more dogs eat poop, the more they will continue to do so. Preventing them from having access to feces is the best way to solve the problem.

2. Check your dog’s diet to verify that the percentage of grains is low. Always choose quality products and consider making homemade dishes for your four-legged friend.

3. More walks and exercises. If you think the dog has a behavioral problem or a lot of accumulated stress, you will need to take him out more often and spend some time on physical activities and games of different kinds.

it will help him to get distracted and improve his well-being, which is fundamental to solving the problem.

Avoiding punishment is the best way to get your dog out of the habit of eating feces. As we have already said, there are dogs that eat poop because they associate punishment with a response to the attention they would like to receive or who do it to avoid being scolded. 

Try to adopt other solutions and do not scold the dog, otherwise, you will only cause him stress and nervousness, worsening the picture of the situation. 

4. Keep the area they live in clean. Hygiene will not only solve the problem but will make the animal less likely to suffer from diseases and infections. Clean kennel, bowls, and toys are essential for any animal. Remember to clean with enzymatic products and not with ammonia or bleach.

5. Give him treats of pineapple or zucchini. Pineapple and courgettes are excellent foods and are much loved by dogs. Instead of using traditional treats for positive reinforcement, try offering them these foods. If he accepts them, the taste of the stool will be different and, therefore, he will stop eating them.

6. Enrich the environment in which it lives. Put different types of games at his disposal, such as balls, a kong, bite-sized toys, etc. If you suffer from loneliness, you can leave the TV on or play a playlist of relaxing dog music in the background.

7. Divide his daily food allowance into several meals so that he feels fuller for longer. This way, getting your dog to get used to eating feces if he resorts to coprophagia because he is hungry will be quite simple.

Remember that ingesting your own feces and those of other animals (cats and dogs) is dangerous because it can involve various health problems. Try to solve the problem by spending more time with your dog by taking him to the vet or a specialist if you can’t find a solution

Coprophagia in dogs: 4 natural remedies

Natural remedies to prevent your dog from eating poop are:

1. Don’t give it too much attention

Especially when it comes to getting your attention, it is best for you and your dog not to give him too much when you are Poops with this situation, otherwise, instead of associating the behavior with a negative thing, he will think that by doing it he will have gotten what he wanted. , that is your attention.

2. Bach flowers

Bach flowers are an excellent natural remedy for stress, fear, agitation, boredom and the need for attention. 

They are a highly diluted extract of 38 plants and therefore totally harmless to your dog. For a natural therapy to be effective, it is very important that it is personalized, so it is advisable to contact a holistic veterinarian as the professional who will be able to tell you which flowers or mixtures of flowers to use for your particular case.

3. Sprinkle the stool with spices

Another natural remedy is to sprinkle the stool with a different spice or sauce each time. We do not recommend the use of powder to prevent dogs from eating feces, especially if chemical or laboratory-made. Better to opt for spices or smells that we have in the house that we know our dog does not like.

4. Put the muzzle on him

If during the walks there is really no way to prevent the dog from eating his own feces or what he finds around, a temporary solution could be to put a muzzle on him. In this AnimalPedia article on the types of dog muzzles, you can find the one that suits you best. However, it is important not to punish him but to take him to an ethologist or dog educator to correct this behavior.

Now that you understand why dogs eat their own feces and that of other animals, let’s hope it doesn’t seem so abnormal to you anymore. 

Did you apply some of the advice we gave you? Or is there any other advice you could give us? 

Share your experience in the comments, it will be very useful to another dog lover like you!


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Shubham sirohi holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also, an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Shubham ’s love for animals has led him to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Shubham holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — he also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to his work as a ghostwriter and author, Shubham is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.