Why Do Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It

Reasons for coprophagia include instinctual behavior, nutritional deficiencies, attention-seeking behavior, boredom or lack of stimulation, medical conditions, and stress or anxiety. To prevent coprophagia in dogs, owners should consider dietary changes, increase exercise and mental stimulation, and provide plenty of attention to their pets.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes of coprophagia, the risks associated with it, and the steps you can take to prevent it. Ready to learn more? Read on!


Prevalence of Coprophagia in Dogs

Coprophagia, the consumption of fecal matter by dogs, is something that pet owners may find quite concerning. Fortunately, this behavior is not as uncommon as one might think; research suggests it is seen in approximately 16 percent of dogs.

A variety of factors could contribute to it, such as boredom, dietary deficiencies, or simple curiosity. However, owners should be aware that coprophagia can cause serious health problems for their pooch and should take steps to remediate the behavior.

One potential solution is incorporating high-fiber ingredients into the diet to reduce appetite for stool-based nutrition and re-channel the dog’s natural scavenging instinct. Additionally, exercising the dog more often can provide a mental challenge that may help decrease undesired behavior.

With this information in hand, there are ways to reduce the prevalence of coprophagia in your pup and ensure he or she remains healthy and happy!

Prevalence of Coprophagia in Dogs


Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop

1. Instinctual behavior

Dogs eating their own or other animals’ poop is an instinctual behavior with biological roots; however, there can be some additional underlying issues that make dogs more prone to this natural behavior. In most cases, the behavior is driven by nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that lead to a lack of essential vitamins or minerals in the dog’s diet.

It may also be the result of anxiety or boredom, which can sometimes happen when dogs don’t get enough exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Owners should look for patterns in their dog’s behavior for signs of distress that may be indicating an unhealthy dietary need or emotional instability.

This will help them better understand what might necessitate such an instinctual reaction from their furry companion, and provide appropriate steps to remedy the situation.

Instinctual behavior


2. Nutritional deficiencies

Many dog owners may be perplexed as to why their beloved pup is eating their own poop. It’s important to consider that there may be underlying nutritional deficiencies at play. Dogs are naturally drawn to both taste and texture in their food, your pet may think that the poop offers more nutrition than what they’re getting in their regular diet.

A nutrient-rich diet will easily remedy this issue, allowing your fur baby to get the necessary vitamins and minerals they need while preventing them from consuming their own feces.

Boosting nutrition levels in pups can also help stop unhealthy behaviors like coprophagia, leaving your canine companion happier and healthier in the long run.

Nutritional deficiencies


3. Attention-seeking behavior

Dogs that eat poop, or coprophagy, have a condition commonly known as pica. While there are many reasons why dogs may be drawn to eating their feces and the feces of other animals, attention-seeking behavior is one risk factor.

This could mean your pup wants more playtime with you or believes they’ll get some treatment. Although this kind of behavior is certainly not desirable from a pet owner’s perspective, worrying and punishing your dog for it will likely just make the problem worse.

Instead, try giving them plenty of exciting activities that redirect their energy away from harmful behaviors such as coprophagy.

Attention-seeking behavior


4. Boredom or lack of stimulation

Dogs eating poop is a surprisingly common phenomenon that can be caused by a number of different factors. One possible reason is boredom or the lack of stimulation to keep a dog mentally and physically active.

Even if there is plenty of food to eat, dogs can become overwhelmed with the monotony of their day-to-day lives and can start to act out by eating their own feces or those from other animals. To combat this, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle for your pup and make sure they have enough opportunities for exercise, companionship, and mental stimulation on a daily basis.

This will help ensure that your furry friend leads a full life and doesn’t feel compelled to seek out unappetizing treats.

Boredom or lack of stimulation


5. Medical conditions

Dogs may eat poop for a variety of reasons, including medical conditions. Dogs with advanced stages of diseases such as diabetes and kidney failure may have difficulty breaking down food, leading them to seek out alternative sources of nutrition.

The condition known as pica can also cause dogs to develop a craving for feces. Hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and parasites are all other possible causes of the behavior. In any case, if your dog is exhibiting these behaviors it is important that you take them to the veterinarian right away so they can receive proper diagnosis and treatment.

Medical conditions


6. Stress or anxiety

Dogs eating poop can be a stressful and embarrassing situation for pet owners. Understanding why this happens can help alleviate anxiety. Dogs eat poop to meet their caloric needs, satisfy the craving for feces or relieve gastrointestinal distress.

Malnourished dogs who do not receive adequate nutrition may resort to eating feces to fulfill their body’s need for essential nutrients. Another reason is pica, which is an innate behavior found in young puppies that often disappears as dogs get older.

Lastly, certain health issues such as intestinal parasites, diabetes, or contaminated food can also cause stress and lead to a dog looking for alternative sources of nourishment like coprophagia. Being aware of the behavior pattern helps pet owners take steps to reduce it and manage their pet’s stress levels better.

Stress or anxiety


Risks Associated With Coprophagia

Spread of diseases

One of the risks associated with coprophagia (the practice of consuming fecal matter) is the transmission of diseases, including but not limited to salmonella, E. coli, and giardia. Because feces can contain an array of parasites, viruses, and bacteria that can cause severe illnesses in people, this practice should be avoided at all costs.

The intestines are home to several thousand types of parasites that dogs can quickly pick up while hunting or scavenging. So even if they avoid eating human excrement altogether, they face serious health risks when engaging in such behavior.

It’s important to take steps to disrupt and discourage your pet’s coprophagia proclivities for the sake of your pet’s health as well as your own.

Spread of diseases


Digestive issues

Coprophagia, the act of dogs eating poop, is a behavior issue some pet owners experience. While it can sometimes be cute and funny, it can also pose serious health risks for the uninformed dog parent.

The main risk associated with dog coprophagia is that dogs are at risk of ingesting harmful viruses and bacteria in the fecal matter they consume. Additionally, dog parents should be aware that their pup’s digestive system can struggle to process feces correctly, leading to gastric upset or more serious diseases such as parasites and tapeworms.

As responsible pet parents, we should always take measures to deter our pets from engaging with any type of fecal material. Read up on your pet’s dietary needs and keep them up-to-date on vaccinations or deworming treatments as recommended by your vet to reduce these risks.

Digestive issues


Behavioral issues

Coprophagia, or the consumption of feces, is an issue that is commonly seen with pet dogs. This behavior presents a potentially serious risk for your dog and other members of the household. It can be caused by emptiness or hunger, but also due to stress or boredom.

Indulging in this type of behavior can burden your pet’s health through the potential ingestion of parasites and toxins from whatever they consume. As such, it’s important to address any underlying issues that may be causing this behavior.

If coprophagia persists despite changes in your daily routine for your pet, you should consult with a trained veterinarian.

Behavioral issues


Prevention and Management of Coprophagia

Dogs engaging in coprophagia, or the eating of their own feces, is a problem for many pet owners. It’s unpleasant, can be unhealthy for both your pet and your family, and can create an unsanitary living environment. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to understand the causes of this behavior and manage it properly.

Here we’ll discuss ways to prevent and manage dog coprophagia so that you and your pup can get back to normal.

Prevention and Management of Coprophagia

Prevention and Management of Coprophagia


  1. Dietary Changes: Incorporating high-fiber ingredients into your pup’s diet can reduce their appetite for stool-based nutrition and help redirect their natural scavenging instinct.
  2. Exercise: Ensuring your pup gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation is essential to curbing unwanted behavior, such as coprophagia.
  3. Attention: Make sure your pup is getting plenty of attention and socialization to prevent them from seeking out attention-seeking behaviors, such as coprophagia.
  4. Medical Issues: If your pup continues to exhibit this behavior despite dietary or environmental changes, you may need to consult a veterinarian in order to rule out any underlying medical issues.
  5. Supervision: If your pup is displaying coprophagia, try to supervise them more often in order to catch the behavior and redirect it before they eat the stool.
  6. Disposal: Promptly disposing of stool can help prevent your pup from engaging in coprophagia, as they won’t have access to it.
  7. Training: Positive reinforcement and obedience training can be incredibly effective in helping you train your pup out of any unwanted behaviors, such as coprophagia.
  8. Cleaning: If your pup does engage in coprophagia, make sure to clean the area where they ate it to reduce the risk of them returning to the same spot.


Seek Professional Help if Necessary

Dog coprophagia, or the ingestion of feces, can be a concerning issue for pet owners. If you’ve noticed your furry friend has been engaging in this behavior, it’s important to seek out the help of a professional. Veterinarians and pet behaviorists can not only provide great advice on how to prevent such behavior, but they can also run tests to ensure that there is nothing physically wrong with your pup.

They will also have the expertise to prepare an appropriate treatment plan based on the individual needs of your dog and family. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance – early intervention is key!

Seek Professional Help if Necessary


In Conclusion

Coprophagia, the act of dogs eating feces, is a behavior issue some pet owners experience. While it can sometimes be cute and funny, it can also pose serious health risks for the uninformed dog parent. It’s important to take steps to disrupt and discourage your pet’s coprophagia proclivities for the sake of your pet’s health as well as your own.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply