Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Dogs certainly love to eat! Their food, cat food, and human food are some of their favorites, but there’s one that isn’t in the food category that they also have been known to chomp on: poop.

Continue reading our animal hospital‘s article to find out why exactly dogs eat poop, and sometimes their own poop. 

why do dogs eat poop

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Poop eating, also known as “coprophagia” is not rare among dogs, and there are several reasons why it occurs. They include:

Anxiety Over Harsh Punishment Trauma

If you have overreacted to your dog pooping in places you deem inappropriate, they may have developed the desire to clean up after itself in order to prevent further reprimand.

Their Food Being Too Close to Their Poop

If a dog’s food is kept too close to areas where it goes to the bathroom, they may confuse the scent of the food and feces. When this occurs, the dog may start associating poop with consumption.

They Aren’t Getting Enough Attention from You

Dogs sometimes eat their feces in order to get attention from you.

They’re Kept in an Overcrowded or Small Space

For some reason, dogs who are not provided enough personal space sometimes eat their poop.

Your Dog is a New Mom

Female dogs will eat the poop of their babies to keep the areas around them clean.

Nutrients Inside Other Animal’s Poop

If the poop is not from a fellow canine and instead from another animal (like a horse), it may be due to nutrients that are inside. However, this behavior should be discouraged because there can also be harmful bacteria in the feces of other animals.

Risks and Symptoms of Dogs Eating Poop

With dogs, especially those who eat the poop of other dogs or different animals, there is always a chance of illness due to infectious disease, toxins, or parasites.

Adverse symptoms to dogs eating feces includes:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Tiredness

If you saw your dog consume poop and you notice them demonstrating the signs above (or others you find troublesome), you should consult your vet right away.

How to Discourage Your Dog Eating Poop in the Future

To prevent your dog from eating poop, you may consider vitamin or enzyme supplements. These may help if your dog is looking to the feces for nutrients it is not already getting enough of.

There are also deterrents offered online and pet stores that make eating poop less appealing. According Healthysolutionsforpets.com, the seven best are:

  1. NaturVet Coprophagia Stool Eating Deterrent Soft Chews (Most Trusted).
  2. Healthy Solutions Stool Eating Deterrent for Dogs, Plus Breath Freshener (Best Overall).
  3. Zesty Paws Chew No Poo Bites (Advanced Technology).
  4. Berine’s Perfect Poop Digestion Supplement (4-in-1 Formula).
  5. For-bid Stool Eating & Coprophagia Deterrent (Vet-Recommended).
  6. Solid Gold No Stool Eating Supplement (Holistic Blend).
  7. Nutri-vet Chewable Tablets for Dog Stool Eating (Easy to Eat).

Furthermore, you can train your dog commands that will keep them from eating poop—such as, “leave it.” And cleaning your backyard immediately after your dog poops will also help.

Here are five steps dog poop eating deterrence success:

  1. Supervise. Monitor your dog’s outdoor time.
  2. As soon as your dog approaches poop, use a friendly voice to call them back over to you.
  3. Give them something else to do than focus on the poop—like a treat, game, and attention (or all three!).
  4. Remove temptation. Pick up a dog’s poop immediately and discard it in the trash where your dog can’t get at it.
  5. Just like with anything, practice makes perfect.


Q: How is Coprophagia Similar in Dogs and Other Animals, Like Rabbits?

A: Like the dog, the rabbit will: (1) eat its own poop as a means of ingesting vitamins and protein, (2) eat the poop of other rabbits, and (3) eat poop as a supplement to their routine diet. (Other animals and insects that also eat feces as a way of ingesting otherwise wasted nutrients are monkeys, dung beetles, wolves, coyotes, and guinea pigs.)

Q: How is Coprophagia Different in Dogs Than Other Animals?

A: The main difference between dogs and other animals that eat feces is that canines sometimes do it in response to mistreatment, behavioral issues, or illness. On the contrary, animals like rabbits eat their poop to prevent illness.

Q: Can Pineapple Stop Dogs from Eating Their Own Poop?

A: Some owners have found that their dogs no longer desire to eat their feces because it has become bitter to the taste after ingesting pineapple or zucchini. (Both of these should be introduced to a dog slowly because diet changes can upset its stomach.)

Q: What’s the Best Way to Stop Your Dog from Eating Cat Poop?

A: Put the litter box somewhere that the cat can still reach, but your dog cannot. Alternatively, you can also consider getting the kind of litter box that is only accessible from the top.

Ask Our Vets If You Have Any More Questions About Dogs Eating Poop

Our veterinarians are here to help if you have additional questions about your dog eating poop during your pet’s next vet visit. To schedule your pet’s exam, reach out to our animal hospital

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