If your dog eats their poop, here are 8 reasons why and how to stop it

There’s a world of difference between a dog having a quirky habit and a dog eating their own poop.

Now, let’s be honest, this is not exactly dinner table conversation.

Catching your dog in this act may gross you out, but it’s important to understand that this might be pointing to an underlying issue.

Understanding why your dog is doing this can help you put a stop to it.

And yes, there are ways to curb this unusual appetite.

In the following, I’ll share eight possible reasons why your dog might be eating their poop and how you can help them kick this nasty habit.

1. It’s called coprophagia

Let’s face it, our dogs can sometimes have the most bizarre habits, and eating their own poop is high up on that list.

This behavior has a name – it’s called coprophagia.

Though coprophagia may seem entirely repulsive to us, for dogs it might be a natural instinct.

The behavior is often seen in mother dogs who are looking after their puppies.

They would eat their puppies’ poop to keep the den clean and reduce the chance of attracting predators.

This also goes back to the wild roots of dogs where they had to keep their living area free from any smell that could attract danger.

Now, if your dog is not a mother cleaning up after her puppies, and she’s still indulging in this habit, it’s time to dig a bit deeper.

It might be an indication of dietary deficiencies or health issues.

So before you start yelling “no” every time you catch your dog in the act, just remember that understanding the ‘why’ behind this behavior is the first step towards helping them stop it.

2. A lesson from my own experience

I’ve owned dogs all my life and unfortunately, I’ve had to deal with this gross habit too.

My golden retriever, Rusty, started eating his poop out of the blue.

At first, I just thought it was a nasty habit he’d picked up.

But after some research and a trip to the vet, I discovered that Rusty was actually suffering from a nutrient deficiency.

Turns out, Rusty’s dog food wasn’t providing him with all the nutrients he needed.

So in his own doggy-way, he was trying to recycle them by eating his poop.

After switching him to a more balanced diet, the poop-eating stopped.

It was a huge relief!

This just goes to show that sometimes this behavior can be an indication of a deeper issue that needs addressing rather than just a disgusting habit.

Always check with your vet if you’re concerned about your pet’s behavior.

3. Puppies are just curious

Puppies are like toddlers, they explore the world around them through their mouths.

Whether it’s your favorite shoe, the couch cushions, or unfortunately, their own poop, they’re just trying to learn about their environment.

This behavior is quite common among puppies, and most of them outgrow it as they mature.

However, if your adult dog is still indulging in this behavior, it’s a sign that there might be something else going on.

So next time you see a puppy eating poop, remember it’s not just about the gross-factor.

It’s their way of exploring and understanding the world around them.

4. It might be a sign of boredom or anxiety

Just like humans, dogs can also exhibit strange behaviors when they’re feeling bored or anxious.

If your dog doesn’t have enough mental and physical stimulation, they might resort to activities like eating their own poop.

Similarly, dogs who are feeling anxious or stressed might also engage in this behavior.

It’s not always easy to tell when a dog is feeling stressed, but changes in their behavior can often provide clues.

If your dog has suddenly started eating their poop, it might be time to take a closer look at their environment and daily routine.

Are they getting enough exercise?

Is there something that could be causing them stress?

These are all factors to consider.

5. Check for parasites

Parasites are another potential reason why your dog might be eating their poop.

Parasites can absorb nutrients from your dog’s body, leaving them feeling hungry even after they’ve eaten.

This could lead them to eat their poop in an attempt to get more nutrients.

Regular vet check-ups can help detect the presence of parasites early on.

If your dog does have parasites, your vet can recommend a suitable treatment plan.

It’s important to remember that parasites are not just a problem for your dog, but they can also pose a risk to human health.

6. Attention-seeking behavior

Our dogs love us unconditionally, and they crave our attention.

Sometimes, they might engage in behaviors that they know will get a reaction out of us, even if it’s a negative one.

If your dog is eating their poop to get your attention, it can be a heartbreaking realization.

It means they’re feeling neglected and are desperate for your affection.

Instead of reacting with disgust or anger, consider giving them some extra love and attention.

Spend some quality time with them. Play their favorite games or take them for a long walk.

Our pets don’t have many ways to communicate with us.

Sometimes, the only way they can tell us they need more affection is through their actions.

Don’t ignore these signs.

They’re telling you something important.

7. Overfeeding could be a factor

I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of overfeeding my dog in the past.

Seeing those puppy dog eyes begging for just one more treat can be seriously hard to resist.

But overfeeding can lead to a host of health problems, including the unpleasant habit of poop eating.

A dog that’s overfed might produce more waste than they can properly digest.

This excess undigested food in their poop might be too tempting to resist.

It was a tough lesson to learn, but adjusting my dog’s diet and resisting those pleading eyes made a world of difference in his health and stopped the poop eating behavior.

Moderation is key when it comes to feeding your pet.

It’s not just about keeping them happy in the moment, but also about ensuring their long-term health.

8. Cleanliness is key

Dogs like to keep their living area clean.

If their poop is not picked up promptly, they might take matters into their own paws and try to clean it up themselves.

Regularly cleaning your dog’s living area can help prevent this behavior.

Make sure to pick up after your dog as soon as possible and keep their space clean and tidy.

In the end, it’s all about understanding your dog and providing them with a healthy and clean environment.

Dogs are a part of our family, and it’s our responsibility to ensure their well-being.

It’s about understanding

The world of dogs can sometimes be a mystery to us, full of behaviors and habits that can leave us scratching our heads in confusion.

Eating their own poop is one such behavior.

As unpalatable as it might seem to us, for our dogs, it could be a normal response to various situations or conditions.

Whether it stems from curiosity as a puppy, a dietary deficiency, an appeal for attention, or an instinctive drive for cleanliness, it’s all part of their canine world.

It’s our job, as responsible pet owners, to understand these behaviors and respond appropriately.

We owe it to these loyal and loving creatures to provide them with the care they need and deserve.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

The latest articles and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.

Scroll to Top