Why Do Dogs Eat Poo?

You may find out that your furry buddy enjoys dining on his own poop. Such behaviour can leave you perplexed, and you’ll wonder why your dog eats poo. However, dogs eat poo for many different reasons, and you can stop this behaviour in a few ways.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poo?

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs eating poo is quite normal. Also, dogs may engage in this behaviour when they are anxious, seeking attention, isolated, and for many other reasons.

Poop-eating is called Coprophagia when it occurs in puppies and is a result of them exploring the world. Although this behaviour is common in adult dogs, it’s important to consult your vet immediately. This way, you’ll be sure your dog is not eating poo due to a health condition.

Why Do My Dogs Eat Poop?

Your dog may start eating his or her poo due to behavioural triggers or some type of environmental stress.


Dogs may suffer from anxiety when you use harsh methods or punishment during house training. In this case, they eat their poop after eliminating it to get rid of the evidence. And when you punish them more, it can become a vicious cycle.


According to research, dogs kept alone in basements and kennels are more prone to eating their poo than those living close to their families.

Living With An Elderly Or Sick Dog

Sometimes, healthy dogs may eat poop from weaker canine members in your household. This mostly occurs when there’s a case of faecal incontinence. Studies have shown that they do that because they want to protect the pack from predators.

Attention Seeking

Don’t overreact when you see your dog eating his or her poo. Sometimes, they do that to get a reaction from you. Dogs love attention and are willing to do certain things to get it.

Restrictive Confinement

Dogs may also eat their poo when you keep them confined in a small space for too long. Coprophagia is common in dogs rescued from crowded shelters.

Scenting It On Their Mothers

Sometimes, fur babies might become confused after sniffing faecal odours on their mother’s breath. This usually occurs when their mother is done washing them. Mothers may also regurgitate food mixed with puppy faecal matter. This behaviour is called “appetitive inoculation” and can cause the puppy to develop the habit of eating poo.

Inappropriate Association With Real Food

If you feed your dog in proximity to their poop, he or she may make a connection between the smell of poop and that of food. When this happens, the dog will have a difficult time telling the difference between poo and food.

Why Do My Dogs Eat Poop?

What Do I Do When I Find My Dog Eating Poo?

If you find your dog dining on dung, it may be due to a few reasons. But first, you need to consult with your veterinarian so he can rule out health issues such as:

Diets deficient in calories and nutrients
• Parasites
• Malabsorption syndromes
• Diabetes, thyroid disease, Cushing’s, and other conditions that can increase your appetite
• Drugs, such as steroids

How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Poo

If you are a veterinary professional or a dog owner, you will see improvements with many different strategies. With the ones listed below, your dog will stop eating poo in time!


Environmental management methods and training are the most effective ways to stop a dog from eating poo. These tips will guide you through it:

• Ensure that your dog’s living area is always clean and keep the yard clean so he or she won’t see any poo to eat.

• If you own a cat, keep the litter box clean. It is even better to take it away from the dog’s reach.

• Always supervise your dog during walks and ensure to pick up after him or her.

• During training, work hard on commands such as “come” and “leave it.” An effective way to do this is by providing a treat for your dog and teaching him or her to come to get it after pooping. This way, your dog will start running toward you for a tasty treat instead of going for the smelling one on the floor.

Enzyme Supplementation

You can improve your dog’s diet to solve this problem. Many people have succeeded by using a meat tenderizer containing the enzyme papain. However, you should know that these days canine diet has relatively higher carbohydrates and lower meat-based fats and proteins than the canine ancestral diet.

Vitamin Supplementation

There is another theory that dogs eat their poop to make up for something they don’t have in their diet. According to research, the culprit is usually a vitamin-B deficiency.

In this case, you will successfully stop your dog from eating poo by giving him or her a multivitamin. Research has shown some missing nutrients to be the reason for this problem. For example, scientists found faecal microbial activity synthesized B-vitamin (Thiamine).

Taste-Aversion Products

You can also stop your dog from eating poop with taste-aversion products. Some smells and tastes are unappealing to dogs, just like the idea of poop eating to humans. So, when you add a stool-eating deterrent to their treats and meals, it will make their poo less appealing.

Most taste-aversion products contain camomile, monosodium glutamate, pepper-plant derivatives, parsley, yucca, and garlic. Make sure you treat all your dogs in a multi-dog house if you find out that there is a poo-eating issue.


Digging into dung is repulsive for humans but pretty normal for puppies and adult dogs. Puppies often develop this habit when they sniff poop in their mother’s breath while she cleans them.

However, in adult dogs, it may be due to many reasons such as diets deficient in calories and nutrients, anxiety, isolation, etc. Ensure that you consult your vet once you see your dog eating his or her poo.

The most effective way to stop a dog from eating poo is through environmental management methods and training.

Dogs can stop eating poo on their own, but you can aid the process by training them.