Why Do Dogs Eat Poop? (And How To Stop Them)

Have you ever asked why dogs eat poop? There are many reasons why they do that, if you find your pup eating feces, don’t fret, it’s a common behavior, that named “coprophagia”. Here’s everything you need to know about why dogs eat poop and how to stop them!

Why Dogs Eat Poop:

There is no apparent reason why they would do this, but there are a few theories. Some are normal and other signs can be medical issues

Medical Reasons For Dogs To Eat Poop:

1. If your dog eats its feces:

Stools may consist of undigested food, which is an indication of a possible medical problem.

2. Your dog not feeling well:

Coprophagia can occur especially if it is a new behavior When there is a medical error with your dog It could be a sign of diseases in the intestinal tract and sometimes other parts of the body like the liver, and brain, you may also notice sudden weight loss, lethargy, discomfort, other behavioral changes, vomiting, or diarrhea, make sure to visit your vet to rule out intestinal parasites, nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal disease or other diseases.

3. It could be a sign of anxiety, fear, and stress:

Another possible reason for eating dog feces is that your dog is stressed or in fear. Sometimes, this could be a kind of self-soothing mechanism. However, this can happen if your dog is punished for inappropriate defecation in the house. If the dog is in a cage and goes to the bathroom and eats its feces, he is removing the “evidence” to avoid punishment.

You should consult your vet to avoid health problems like:

  • The presence of parasites.
  • Diets that lack nutrients and calories.
  • Malabsorption syndromes.
  • Diabetes, Cushing’s disease, thyroid disease, and other conditions can cause an increase in appetite.
  • Drugs such as steroids.
  • Enzyme deficiency
  • EPI – Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

Behavioral Reasons For Dogs To Eat Poop:

pixabay/ Pezibear

Your dog isn’t the only one doing this, one study has found that one in six dogs eats feces regularly

1. Instinct:

Mother dogs often eat the litter of the puppies with their tongue to keep the den and their environment clean, and this is normal maternal behavior. Many puppies will begin to eat poop at a young age. Some grow out of this normal behavior while others continue this behavior into adulthood.

2. Eating the poop of other animals:

Another natural behavior of dogs is by eating the feces of other species. The stool of other animals, such as horses or cats, contains high-protein diets that can be beneficial but also can include harmful bacteria. So avoiding this.

3. They want to get your attention:

If your dog is looking for more attention and knows that you usually react aggressively when you run towards them and holler some form of “drop it” and you catch him eating poo, the behavior may be a way to get attention.

Poop eating may be similar to other negative attention-seeking behaviors such as biting, jumping, or stealing things to start a chase.

4. Mimicking:

It’s normal when your dogs see other dogs enjoying eating a stool snack, he might think that is a good taste and high-value treat and decide to try it.

What Are the Risks of Dogs Eating Feces?

For dogs, eating their feces is harmless. But, bacteria and parasites from that poop can possibly be transmitted to you and your family through direct contact with the dog’s mouth and saliva. So if your dog insists on eating poop, be sure to watch your face and hands thoroughly if you are in contact with your dog’s mouth.

Eating the droppings of other animals can cause health problems if the feces are contaminated with the eggs of intestinal parasites, viruses, or toxins. In most cases, this behavior will fade before the puppy is about nine months old. A dog that is known to eat the stool of other animals should have frequent fecal testing by a veterinarian.

Your dog can also have foul breath from eating poop, you will always need to brush his teeth.

How to Stop a Dog From Eating Poop:

pixabay/ Khaligo

If you check that your dog has no underlying medical issues, you are left with addressing the behavior. If your vet tells you it is a behavioral problem, there are a few ways you can train your dog to stop.

First, make sure your yard is kept free of fresh litter. Pick up your dog’s or cat’s stool as soon as possible after defecation and making sure the litter is put where the dog can’t reach. Provide a toy for a toilet break if your dog, is looking for things to eat in the yard when you let him out to do his work, bring a toy or treat to distract him, don’t leave them alone with time to search, then immediately pick up the poo and discard it

Be positive in training and work with positive reinforcement, and treatment to teach commands like “leave it.” Breaking a bad habit can take time, so be patient.

Treatment for eating feces in dogs:

Vitamin Supplements:

There’s a theory that dogs eat stool because they are missing something in their diets. So a dog with a vitamin “B” lack, in particular, could be the main suspect, and studies have backed this up.

Enzyme Supplements:

The usual dog diet contains a higher of carbohydrates and lowers protein and meat-based fats. Adding enzyme supplements to their diet by putting some papaya, cottage cheese, or crushed pineapple can make their poo less appealing

The right age for train dogs to use the toilet:

The best age to start training is between 3-6 months old which means 12-24 weeks. So at this age, they will have sufficient bladder and bowel control to learn how to hold on or to defecate where allowed them.