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Dogs can definitely develop some weird habits that we humans aren’t akin to. But by far, one of the most repulsive is eating poop.

Key Takeaways

  1. Some Dogs Eat Poop Because They Like It
  2. They’re Eating Poop Out of Stress
  3. Maybe Your Dog Eats Poop Because of a Medical Condition
  4. Dogs Eat Poo to Copy Their Mom
  5. Hungry Dogs Might Turn to Poop Eating

Even if your pup is adorable, nibbling on feces is not a good look. And if you’ve ever caught your furry friend snacking on their own poo, you’ve likely wondered why exactly they do it (and how to make them stop!)

Keep reading, and we’ll answer all your questions about why dogs eat poop.

See Related: How To Train Your Dog To Walk On A Leash

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

Even though your pup can be cute and courageous, that doesn’t mean they can’t be downright disgusting sometimes. Just because you feed your canine companion top-quality dog food doesn’t mean that they won’t turn to their own poop if they get hungry.

Even if it seems totally insane to us humans, eating poop is actually a pretty common behavior in many dogs. Coprophagia, or the practice of eating stool, affects about 25% of canines. So, if your pup has picked up this nasty habit, he/she is not alone.

It’s hard to say for certain why your pup might eat their own poop. Maybe they just like the taste and texture, regardless of how repulsive that might sound. But that’s not the only potential reason behind it.

girl picking up after her dog cat poo eaten poop litter box dog eating poo dog's age potty training dog's health dog is eating poop dog's food

#1. Some Dogs Eat Poop Because They Like It

Most of the time, dogs start eating their own poop simply because they like it. We know that sounds pretty nasty – and that’s because it is! But your pup doesn’t care about what’s socially acceptable and what’s not.

Your dog’s sense of taste and smell is nothing like ours. Sometimes, feces contain undigested fats or proteins that smell simply delectable to your pup’s sharp nose. And that can be hard to resist!

#2. They’re Eating Poop Out of Stress

If your pup is home alone for long periods of time, it might lead to separation anxiety. Family changes or moving to a new house can cause your canine companion to feel stressed, anxious, or on edge. And sometimes, that can trigger a poop-eating problem.

Your dog eating poop can be a self-soothing technique. But if your dog starts eating poop out of stress, be sure not to punish them, as that can exacerbate their stress. Be patient with your furry friend, and consult your vet or behaviorist for some advice.

#3. Maybe Your Dog Eats Poop Because of a Medical Condition

Some adult dogs develop a poop-eating habit due to a dietary deficiency. But other times, it’s a symptom of a health condition.

Certain illnesses like diabetes, worms, or gastrointestinal disease can cause your pup to start eating their own poop. Other times, it can be the result of brain diseases like dementia or certain medications.

If you notice abnormal changes in your pup’s behavior, take them to the vet to rule out anything serious like thyroid disease or intestinal parasites.

dog at the vet dog is eating faeces dogs poop steal food dog from eating animal faeces other dogs eating dog owner puppy other animals

#4. Dogs Eat Poo to Copy Their Mom

Any good canine mom licks their young to cleanse them right after birth. But if you call yourself a pet parent, you don’t need to do this. Giving your pup a bath in the tub is good enough.

Mother dogs also will ingest their pup’s poo in order to keep them clean, hygienic, and feces-free. It will also help to prevent diseases and parasites. In the wild, this helps to prevent predators from finding their doggy den.

A puppy learns how to be an adult dog by copying their mama. So if they see their mama eating feces, they’re sure to follow in her footsteps.

After a while, though, mothers will stop cleaning up after their puppies. Once dogs start eating solid foods, it’s not necessary for her to do this anymore. And as dogs get older, they’ll begin to grow out of this stinky practice.

#5. Hungry Dogs Might Turn to Poop Eating

Dogs usually don’t know what’s supposed to be food and what’s not. They rely on their senses to tell them if something’s worth chomping down on. And if they’re hungry, they’ll turn to the first thing they deem edible.

Some research has shown that dogs who are “greedy eaters” (meaning they want to eat anything and everything) are more likely to eat poo. They might turn to rabbit droppings, horse manure, cat poop, or even their own feces when looking for a tasty treat.

Be sure to give your dog nutritious food and follow a consistent feeding schedule. Before changing your dog’s diet, check in with your pet’s vet.

Is it Dangerous if My Dog Eats Poop?

We’re not going to lie – eating feces is pretty gross, and we’re 110% sure you agree with us. But just because it’s revolting to us doesn’t mean your pup agrees. Dining on dung is normal behavior for dogs and it’s actually pretty harmless.

Of course, there’s always the potential risk of your dog ingesting parasites, bacteria, or germs. There’s also a chance that your pup might eat medications that were passed on by other animals or pets. Just be sure to clean out your dog’s mouth with some (real) food or water, and don’t let them lick you!

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How to Stop Your Pup From Eating Poop

Though it might seem like your furry friend enjoys it, eating poo isn’t something you should condone. It’s unsanitary and downright disgusting. So, we don’t blame you for trying to break this nasty habit!

#1. Make Sure All Puppy Poo is Picked Up Promptly

Out of sight, out of mind.

If you don’t want your dog to start eating poop, make sure that you don’t leave it piled up in your yard. Whenever your furry friend drops a deuce, pick it up right away. Otherwise, ensure you have a set lawn clean-up schedule.

If you want to enjoy proper convenience and freedom, just hire a pooping-scooping company to do the job for you. You won’t need to worry about getting down and dirty when you turn to a team of local pet waste removal professionals!

At Scoop Masters, we service your yard on the same day every week so you know exactly when to expect a clean lawn. We’ll even text you when we’re on our way. Plus, we offer countless pet waste odor control options so that you can prevent that fresh scent of dog feces from wafting into your humble abode!

#2. Focus on Positive Reinforcement When They Resist the Urge to Eat Their Own Poop

If your dog tries chomping down on some fresh feces, don’t scold them – this can lead to more behavioral issues and subsequent poop-eating. Instead, stay patient and praise them if they turn away from a pile of dung.

#3. Occupy Their Mouths with Something Else

Try outfitting your pup in a muzzle when you’re out walking your dog. If they’re not pleased with the idea, try occupying their mouth with a stick or toy. That’ll keep them distracted, so they are less likely to try snacking on some poo.

small dog running with a stick in her mouth developed coprophagia vitamin b deficiency dog called coprophagia

#4. Try Some Other Tactics if All Else Fails

It might take a while to find out what it will take for your pup to kick this nasty habit. Some people feed their dogs things like fresh pineapple or courgette so their poo smells less appealing (to your dog).

Ensure your dog enjoys a well-balanced diet that keeps them full so that they won’t start searching for feces if they get hungry.

Bonus: 8 Ways To Keep Your Dog Warm Outside In The Winter

Final Thoughts

Though dogs consuming poop is considered normal canine behavior, it can be pretty gross. Discovering why your pup prefers eating feces is only part of it – you also need to know how to make them stop!

Keep Reading: Dog Constipation: 8 Home Remedies To Make Your Dog Poop Quickly

Scoop Masters offers professional dog waste removal services in California, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee. Since 1988, we’ve saved dog owners across the country from the overly unpleasant task of picking up after their pets. Each poopy project we complete gives them the freedom, convenience, and sanitation they deserve! Contact us for a free quote, or simply stock up on enough dog poop bags to keep your pet’s number twos at bay. To stay in the loop, follow up on Facebook and Twitter/X. If your dog can poop it, we can scoop it!

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