Why Do Dogs Eat Poop

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Dogs eating their own poop and other animals’ poop, a habit otherwise known as ‘coprophagy’ or ‘coprophagia,’ can be normal at times. However, owners should be able to tell the difference between a normal poop-eating stage and a habit formed because of behavioral or medical problems. Read on to find out why your dog eats poop, whether you need to seek professional help and how to approach the issue if it becomes one.
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Why do dogs eat their own poop and other animals’ poop?
There are different reasons why your dog might be eating their poop and poop from other dogs and animals such as cats. At the puppy stage, when dogs don’t have enough bacteria in their stomachs, consuming feces is a common way to build it up. And as long as it doesn’t needlessly carry into adulthood, there should be no cause for concern.
However, regular poop eaters, especially if they’re adult dogs, might be giving you signs that something’s not quite right. Whether the cause is behavioral or medical will be easily determined by a vet.
Behavioral causes
There are certain outside factors that can cause dog behaviors such as poop eating. Female dogs, for example, instinctively eat their offsprings’ poop to keep their nursing area clean. Puppies might pick up this behavior from mother dogs, incorrectly mistake poop for actual food and not be able to unlearn this by the time they reach adulthood.
Another factor to take into consideration is the dog’s house training. If it involved punishments such as being confined to a kennel, it’s likely they developed anxiety surrounding their own feces. Your dog could also be attention-seeking through a behavior that will get a reaction out of you.
Medical causes
Although it may seem like a purely behavioral issue, eating their own feces could also be a sign of something being wrong with your dog’s health. Some medical issues that could be causing your dog to eat dog poop, cat poop or poop from other animals include:
Nutritional deficiencies (caused by nutritional malabsorption, intestinal parasites, unbalanced diets, etc.)
Conditions that cause appetite fluctuations (ex. Cushing’s disease, thyroid issues, etc.)
Reactions to prescribed medications
Food intolerances or allergies

How to get a dog to stop eating poop
Getting rid of poop-eating habits in dogs will first require dog owners to narrow down why the behavior is happening. If it’s due to medical conditions or other health issues, a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) will help owners determine the cause and which the best course of treatment could be.
If the cause is purely behavioral, dog training with lots of positive reinforcement may be the best route to take. Though some owners might be tempted to use deterring products, it’s always a good idea to ask a veterinarian before doing so.
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Why dogs eat poop FAQsWhat is the best deterrent for dogs eating poop?There are some products owners use to make poop seem less appealing to their dogs. These include treats, powders and sprays usually cataloged as poop-eating or stool-eating deterrents. Before implementing this measure, ask a vet if it’s a good option for your dog.What supplement can I give my dog to stop eating poop?Studies suggest that some dogs eat poop because they are deficient in vitamin B. However, you should always consult a licensed veterinarian before adding any supplement to your dog’s diet as they might not necessarily have nutritional deficiencies. The same applies to using home remedies. Depending on the cause, your dog could need to switch to high quality dog food or a more balanced diet, digestive enzyme supplements, dog training, etc. How do you clean a dog’s mouth after eating poop?Although you can wait for your dog’s saliva to do the job once they eat and drink water, you can always brush their teeth as you normally would.
Summary of Money’s Guide on Why Dogs Eat Poop
Your dog’s poop-eating habit, while completely normal under certain circumstances, could also be indicative of something being wrong.
The reasons why your dog might be eating feces could be behavioral or medical and range from incorrect associations between food and poop to diseases that affect their appetite.
Successfully correcting the habit will require you to determine why it’s happening, which can be best done by a licensed vet.
Before giving your dog any supplements or stool-eating deterrents, consult with a veterinarian to make sure it’s safe and will actually help them.

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