Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

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Why Do Dogs Eat Poop? – The Scoop on Dog Poop

Why do dogs eat poop? It is your dog’s dirty (literally) little (not always) secret. Whether you like it or not, your little ball of love LOVES to eat poop! Well the question is then, why are dogs eating dog poop?

Like humans, dogs each have their own motives for their individual behavior. Dogs are eating dog poop for various reasons, based on their age, their training, their living conditions and their diet.

Your Dog Was Born to Eat Poop!

Before dogs were domesticated they were scavengers, living off of whatever they could find. Dogs commonly fed on the waste of other animals (and other dogs) thousands of years ago. Poop eating may just be a remnant of dog history.

In certain situations, as with a newborn litter of puppies, eating poop is instinctual and completely normal. A mother with pups is wired to keep her den clean so as not to attract predators with scent cues. Thus, she quite often will clean up after her young by consuming their poop.

For households with multiple dogs there is often a pecking order of dominant and submissive roles. Submissive dogs will sometimes eat the stool of their dominant counterparts.

Dogs Are “A” Students

Dogs pick up things quickly and will often learn things that you don’t want them to. For instance, consider a dog that is punished for a housebreaking accident. If he is punished by having his nose rubbed in poop (which is absolutely not a good way to deal with the problem) he may try to “dispose of the evidence” the next time around.

If you clean up after your dog while he looks on, he may misunderstand your intent and try to copy your actions in some fashion by “picking up after himself”. Your dog might also see other dogs eating dog poop and learn the behavior from them.

For puppies, eating feces may simply be a learning experience. Puppies learn things by putting nearly everything that comes in front of them in their mouth. Most puppies will develop a distaste for poop in fairly short order and eventually grow out of it. So, if your dog is a puppy, you can relax… chances are that they will change their behavior in due time. Just make sure you keep an eye on things and try to remove waste whenever possible so that your dog doesn’t develop bad habits.

Old fawn

Why You Should Take Your Poop Eating Dog to the Vet

If you have dogs eating dog poop, you should make sure it’s not because of an underlying health issue. Some dogs will start eating poop when they aren’t absorbing enough nutrients, they have parasites, or they have issues with their pancreas. All coprophagic dogs should be examined by a veterinarian.

Another, rather interesting phenomenon is when multiple dogs are in the same household and one gets sick, the healthy dog will sometimes eat the feces of the unhealthy dog. This may be an instinctual reaction to hide the weaker dog from “predators” much as a mother does with pups.

An important thing to remember for all dog owners who have a poop-eating puppy, is to ensure that all dog vaccinations and worming treatments are up to date. The reason for this is that various diseases and internal parasites can be passed from dog to dog through dogs eating dog poop.

Why Your Dog Sometimes Prefers Poop to Dog Food

Why do dogs eat poop? A dog’s digestive system is dependent on a specific mix of enzymes to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats. There is some evidence that suggests that dog digestive systems haven’t quite caught up to modern diets that include less animal protein and far more carbohydrates and plant proteins. Some veterinary nutritionists have suggested that dogs eat stool to replenish enzymes so that they are better prepared to digest their food.

There is also evidence that dogs that aren’t getting enough of certain nutrients will resort to eating poop. A lack of vitamin B is often said to be a cause of coprophagia.

Another common theory is that overfeeding a dog can lead to coprophagia. A dog that is overfed can’t absorb all of the nutrients in his food, and thus may try to “recycle” his nutrient rich waste.

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  1. Good info. I walk a brother and sister and he was eating her poop before I could get it picked up. Their pet mom changed their food a while ago and he hasn’t done it for a while now.

    • Hmm that’s interesting. I find all sorts of information about how to get your dog not to eat it’s OWN poop. That’s not my problem. My problem is that I like eating OTHER dog’s poop. While there are a lot of products out there that help with “own poop problems” and eating things to make it seem terrible tasting, not many cater to problems of a other-dog-poop eaters!

      Does anyone have any suggestions for this?

  2. Woof! Woof! we’ve only known 1 dog that are poop. It’s a friend of a friend’s dog. A small dog and had to go through series of process with the vet. It’s dangerous and its just YAK!!! Golden Thanks for sharing this. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  3. Frankie Furter and Ernie on

    The Pineapple stuffs DOES work. MOM says SO… Butt WE Don’t know about eating Poops ourselves beclaws we don’t do it… Except fur Rabbit Poops, Of course.

  4. Have to admit this is not a problem I’ve had to face…dogs eating “kitty crunchies” out of the litterbox? Sure I’ve had that one…But never eating their own…Your post should certainly help folks

  5. Thanks for the info. I have 3 furbabies and only one has the poop fetish. And she will eat ANY of the other’s poop not just her own. She is in fact the submissive of the 3. Never considered several of the reasons you have given (she is a pig and is probably part of the overfed group!)

  6. that’s a thing to take care of. It’s really unexpectble to find your dog eating poop. So dog owners take a look

  7. My pug is 2years old.He weighs 8kg.
    Since 3 weeks heis eating very very little food.He shows dislike against egg and biscuits.He is eating mud and small stones when he gets out of the kennel.
    ian giving him appetiser.Still he is not liking food and he became very thin.please tell me the remedy for this problem.

    • 8kg seems like a reasonable weight. Pugs, like most dogs, will eat anything they can get into their mouths. I don’t understand why your pug isn’t eating regular food, so I would consult your vet.

      Let us know how it goes!

  8. Linda Becknell on

    I read that frozen raw green beans contain Phasin, a protein that can cause red blood cells to stock together. Green beans should be
    cooked to 200 degrees to destroy phasin.
    True & False? I have been giving my dogs frozen green beans for years. They like them.

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