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Why Does My Dog Eat Poop? – The Puzzling Poop Predicament

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop

Reviewed by Carol Dunham

Seasoned Pet owner and enthusiast, Content Reviewer at

Welcome friends and dog lovers! Have you ever been on a lovely stroll with your canine buddy just for them to stop suddenly, and when you look down to see that your dog is eating poop, and thought, why does my dog eat poop?? Well do not worry you are not the only one. We get this question often. Lets jump in and explore this peculiar and stinky subject.

What Is Coprophagia in Dogs

Before we get into it we need to understand what is really going on and what the scientific name for poop eating in dogs is called.

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Coprophagia A Peculiar Phenomenon

Coprophagia, or the consumption of feces, is a very odd habit that is quite common in dogs. Without a doubt it is stomach-churning, even to think about. But it’s important to understand the reason behind your dog’s fecal feasting in order to find a solution.

The Many Motives for Munching Poop

Dogs don’t just eat poop for one reason; in fact there are a multitude of reasons dogs like to eat poop. This peculiar behaviour can start just weeks after birth and many puppies eat their own poop, many dogs eat their own poop and even like the taste, bizarre right. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Nutritional needs (Something is lacking in their diet)
  • The boredom blues (Nothing better to do, might as well eat poop)
  • Anxiety or stress (Stressed and anxious dogs act out in many ways, eating stool is but one of them)
  • Seeking attention (Will eat poop to get your attention)
  • Monkey see, monkey do (Everyone else is doing it)

Beagle Eating

The Weird Categories of Canine Poop Eating

The Opportunistic Poop Connoisseur

Given the sheer amount of different dog breeds out there with all the different personality types it really is no surprise that some dogs are more likely to eat poop than others. These peculiar dogs are far more likely to partake in a good ol’ poop snack when they can. They don’t have any real motivation other than “Hey that’s poop and I will eat the poop”.  Going on a walk or a romp in the park is the perfect time for these canids to partake in stool eating.

The Bored Poo Snacker

Boredom is awful for humans, now imagine you are a dog, right, stick with me here. A pup lives in the present so when they want to play they really want to play and boredom can set in hard, much faster in dogs than humans I might add. An possible way to stop your dog from eating poop is to provide them with lots of interesting and exciting things to do. Take them on a road trip with all the new sights and smells, why not try a swimming pool for dogs, or go on a hike and show them true nature. Some fun and interesting activities can really spruce up their lives and steer them away from devouring poop.

The Attention-Grabbing Fecal Feaster

Poor dogs are often starved of attention from their owners, an adult dog would experience this more than a puppy. This lack of attention can lead them to eating poop to get a reaction from you. Try to play more with them, be more fun, buy games, make food time exciting and definitely focus on positive reinforcement for good behavior.  Shouting or hurting a dog over negative behavior will lead to anxiety or isolation of your dog. Don’t do this.

Sick Dog

Health Hazards of Coprophagia

Stool eating is usually not life threatening but it can and does present some health risks to your pupper. When dogs eat feces they are exposed to harmful substances, to bad bacteria, hard to fight viruses and intestinal parasites. If your dog is consuming poop from other animals they are at a higher risk of ingesting harmful substances that those animals have eaten. Think cows, pigs or chickens, they often get exposed to pesticides or toxins.

In a 2012 study presented at the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior annual conference, researchers led by Dr. Benjamin Hart, from the University of California, Davis, found that:

  • 16 percent (one in six) of dogs are classified as “serious” dog poop eaters, which means that they were caught in the act five times
  • 24 percent of the dogs in the study (one in four) were observed eating poop at least once

Hart wrote, “Our conclusion is that eating of fresh stools is a reflection of an innate predisposition of ancestral canids living in nature that protects pack members from intestinal parasites present in feces that could occasionally be dropped in the den/rest area.” Translation: Researchers found that dogs evolved to eat poop.

Quote courtesy of American Kennel Club

help break the habit training

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop? How To Break The Habit

Cleanliness is Key

Possibly the easiest way to prevent stool eating and help break the habit is to keep the den clean, having a clean environment works wonders. Providing your dog a litter box can make the cleanup super easy. Be on poop patrol at all times, quickly pick up any feces in their area or during walks to remove for your dog to eat poo. Also don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly or you will end up sick and smelly.

The Dietary Dimension

One of the reasons why your dog may eat poop is due to nutritional deficiencies or lacking something in their diets. Talk to a vet online or consult with your veterinarian (don’t have a vet yet? Go to google and type in dog vet near me and you will find plenty) to make sure that your canine is receiving a well-rounded diet, and if needed give your dog supplements for what they can’t get. Feeding your dog smaller meals more frequently can also help curb their poop-eating behavior and keep your dog away from eating feces.

Training Techniques

Training a a pup is a dog owners duty and can be a powerful tool to return your dog to normal behavior. Teach your dog the “leave it” command, with this you will get your dog to leave  and consistently practice it to help them understand that poop is not for eating. Dog training requires patience but it is worth it in the end for you and your canine buddy, always reward your dog for their progress with treats of scratches. There are many great resources out their to train your dog. I personally recommend using this Dog Training Guide.

Deterring the Dung Devourers

There are many commercial products available that will make the taste less appealing to your dog.  You can add these products to your dogs food or if you want to get very specific you can add them directly to the poop. One lick and you will see your dog get sick at the taste. These products are not toxic to dogs so you don’t need to worry about that. If you are going to go this route then I recommend talking to a vet online before you get started using any dog deterrent products. There are many available right now, just click the button at the bottom right of this page to get started.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you cannot break the habit and get your dog to stop this odd behavior regardless of what you have tried, then it is time to seek professional help. No one wants to wake up in the morning to find their dog suddenly died in the night. Seeking veterinary help can determine whether there is a deeper, underlying medical issue at work. Hiring a professional dog trainer can give added help and advice. I recommend a dog trainer or dog behavior specialist, especially if your dog often eats their own poop or the stool of another dog.

Consult a Vet

When to Consult a Vet Online

The Perks of Online Vet Services

Our Live Vet Chat Service provides an accessible and easy way to get expert veterinary advice on a variety of dog-related issues, including the problem of coprophagia. Reasons to choose us:

  • Access to licensed veterinarians
  • Swift response times
  • Confidential consultations
  • Wallet-friendly pricing

The Benefits of Using Easy Vet Answers

Using Easy Vet Answers for your pet-related concerns offers numerous advantages:

  • Save time and money by avoiding a trip to the vet’s office
  • Get professional advice from the comfort of your own home
  • Obtain a second opinion or additional guidance on a specific issue
  • Tap into expert knowledge on a wide range of topics, including nutrition, behavior, and health

The Grand Finale

In conclusion, we get the “how to stop my dog from eating poop” question a lot, there is no one single reason why some dogs partake in this behavior but many dogs seem to do it and it is a common and undesirable behavior in dogs. By understanding the reasons behind this weird behavior and following tips may help to find a good solution, and even help your dog break free from their poop-eating habits. If you still don’t know where to start and need additional guidance, don’t hesitate to talk to a vet online free with Easy Vet Answers.


Is coprophagia dangerous for my dog?

Coprophagia can expose your dog to very harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Its hard to tell if a dog will get sick from eating poop and sometimes it can be fatal, it is best to nip it in the bud before anything bad happens.

Can altering my dog's diet help stop coprophagia?

Of course, giving your dog a well-balanced diet will help deter them from eating poop. They usually eat poop because they are missing something in their diet. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on proper nutrition.

How can I train my dog to stop eating poop?

Training your dog to respond to the "leave it" command and rewarding them for doing so is often an effective way to curb poop-eating habits. 

When should I consult a professional about my dog's poop eating habits?

If you've tried various solutions and your dog is still eating poop, it's time to consult a veterinarian, dog trainer, or behaviorist for additional guidance. 

What are the benefits of using an online vet service like

Our online vet chat service offers fast, easy access to professional advice with real vets, quick response times, confidential consultations, and affordable pricing, all from comfort of your home.

This article was written because I had a beagle puppy that was a regular stool consumer and the information in this article I used to stop my dog eating poop, she thought it was good to eat their own poop. How wrong she was. Anyway I hoped you enjoyed the rather smelly subject and found some useful info. Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest and greatest dog news.

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