Why does my dog eat poop?

We may love our four-legged friends like family, but we certainly don’t love some of their habits.

As gross as it may be for us humans, it is a reality that you as a dog owner have to get used to when you watch your dog eat.

Whether it’s their own, horse manure, cat droppings or even from other dogs – they love it.

Not uncommon in dogs, the technical name for it is coprophagia, the eating of feces.

Would you like to know why this disgusting habit is so prevalent among our dog lovers? Here are 9 reasons dogs eat poop, from behavior to health.

1. Diseases

There is a common misconception that dogs that eat feces are linked to a nutritional deficiency or medical problem. While this is not common, if this is a new and unusual habit for your pooch you should take it to the vet for a check-up.

2. Inquisitive puppies

Puppies may be cute, but they’re also curious little creatures. They find their way into the world and will try to eat everything. Unfortunately, this also means they eat their own feces.

It’s an important part of their development and something that most puppies will eventually outgrow.

3. You enjoy it

It really is the simplest explanation of why dogs eat poop – they like the taste. It might be hard to understand, but it’s one of the most common reasons and it’s usually nothing to worry about.

4. Boredom

It could also be a sign of boredom. If your dog senses this is causing a reaction, he will likely move on. They’re smart little things, and they love attention, even when it’s negative.

Make sure your dog is getting enough stimulation. Take them for lots of walks, play with them, and generally make a fuss about them. Dogs can get bored too.

5. Separation anxiety

Have you left your dog longer than usual? Are they showing signs of stress or anxiety? This could be another explanation for why your dog is eating poop. Eating something they shouldn’t be eating, whether it’s poop or not, is a way to channel their fear.

6. Hunger

Your dog might just be hungry and fill up with whatever he can find between meals. Make sure you are feeding your dog enough food and not leaving them too long between meals. Increased exercise and certain medications can increase appetite. Speak to your veterinarian if you need advice on what and how much to feed your dog.

7. Cleanliness

Eating feces is a sign of cleanliness, especially for mothers trying to tidy up after their pups. This is completely natural and should not be discouraged, the mother will simply take care of her litter.

8. Punishment

If your dog has an accident around the house and is regularly punished for it, he can eat his poop to hide from his owners. Try not to cause major accidents so that they are not inclined to hide the evidence.

9. Learned behavior

If you have older dogs around the house, it is likely that this is a habit picked up by watching other dogs do the same.

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How to stop them from eating feces

Eating feces should be discouraged as it can be harmful to your health – it can contain parasites or horse manure can contain traces of worm medication that is harmful to dogs.

There are ways you can stop your dogs from eating poop. This includes:

  • Eliminate temptation – If your dog has not yet been trained in the house or has made a mess in the garden, eliminating the temptation by eliminating it immediately can help remove the temptation.
  • Distract them – When you go for a walk, keep them entertained and distracted. If they want to indulge in something nasty, give them a call and let them distract them.
  • Reward them – Dogs respond well to rewards, whether it’s a treat, a game, or just a lot of love.

It’s important not to punish your dog for eating poop. It is unlikely to work and it will simply try to hide its habit from you.


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