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Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Fluffy dog in fallen leaves

Why Is My Dog Eating Poop?

 

Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

Summary: In this blog, we learn all about why dogs eat poop! We’ll discover whether dogs can eat poop, why they eat poop (their own or other animals!) in the first place and whether eating poop is normal for a dog. Read on to find out more about dogs eating poop…

 

My dog eats poop” – if this is you, pet parent, rest assured you’re not alone! Many of our four-legged friends indulge in this arguably gross habit, also known as coprophagia. But, why do dogs eat poop? Is it normal for a dog to eat poop? And, what are the ways you can encourage your dog to stop eating poop…?

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

There are actually a few reasons behind why your dog may be eating poop…

They’re experiencing separation anxiety

Some pet experts believe that our pups start to eat poop when they’re experiencing anxiety when away from you, their pet parent. Read our blog on how to help your pup with suspected separation anxiety here.

They’re bored

Some dogs eat poop out of boredom, so engage in the behavior for something to do. As well as meeting their daily exercise needs, make sure you’re engaging in play both indoors and outdoors and regularly interacting with your furry friend to alleviate any potential boredom.

They’re hungry

Your dog may not be being fed enough and is compensating for their hunger by eating poop. Check-in with your vet on how much your dog should be eating in accordance with their breed, size, exercise routine, and weight.

Fluffy dog in forest

It’s instinctive

One general view is that dogs engage in this habit (alongside other mammals like rodents, rabbits, elephants, and beavers) in order to digest more nutrients, despite it being second-hand. So, your dog may be instinctively eating poop to top up any nutritional deficiency they may be experiencing, but this is still a topic of debate amongst pet care experts and animal scientists. 

It tastes good

Some dogs simply love the taste of other animals', or their own, poop! For Fido, it may just be a case of being too good a smell to not try and taste… Lovely!

However, if your dog has never eaten poop before and has developed this habit out of nowhere, or they’re eating a lot of it whenever they get the chance, make sure you get them looked over by the vet to rule out any underlying issues that are causing them to indulge in the habit. 

And, what about cat poop?

If your dog has started eating cat poop from the litter tray or the yard, this isn’t uncommon - cat poop tastes extra nice to some pooches! 

Make sure the cat litter tray isn’t accessible to your dog by either purchasing one that has a lid on it, or place it in a space your dog can’t get into but your kitty can. And, be sure that you’re staying on top of picking up all poop in your backyard before Rover gets a chance to try it!

Should I Let My Dog Eat Poop?

Small dog hidding

Eating dog poop can be bad for a dog’s health. Other animal’s poop can contain worms and other unwanted bacteria that can make your dog sick. Some livestock’s poop will even have worming medication residue in its contents, which could make your pup very unwell. 

It’s essential that any dog, but particularly one who likes to eat poop, is receiving regular flea, worm, and tick prevention treatment. This protects them, your home, your family, and your community from the different types of intestinal worms in dogs which can be picked up via eating feces if they are not properly protected.

How To Stop A Dog Eating Poop

Is There A Good Poop Eating Deterrent?

Encouraging a dog to stop eating poop can take perseverance and persistence from you, their owner, as it’s a hard habit to break once your pooch has acquired a taste. Some useful steps to take include:

  • Make sure you’re picking up poop as soon as your dog, and other pets, finish up. 
  • Check the yard for poop to clean up if you have neighboring animals, before letting your dog out. Removing the possibility of eating it is the most effective poop eating deterrent!
  • Work on their recall training to make sure they will come back to you as a priority, so you can help them avoid the urge to eat poop
  • Don’t make a fuss or get upset with your dog for eating poop – they will perceive this as attention and this may encourage the behavior. Instead, try training the commands “leave it” or “no” and praise them a lot when they obey with petting, happy vocal tones, and treats!

Related Reads

Worms In Dogs

Strange Dog Behaviours: 9 Common Habits Explained

Sources

Blue Cross

Live Science

MEET THE AUTHOR

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!



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