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Dogs’ pooping is usually due to one of two reasons: a medical condition or a behavioral problem. Sometimes you may be able to stop your dog from eating poop. This requires a lot of effort on your part. The methods are easy enough to be used by children. The plans will be discussed in the sections below.

Sometimes stool eating may not stop, no matter what you do. If this happens, your dog might continue to eat stool even if you try everything. You can only clean your dog’s paws properly and make sure they don’t lick their mouths, which could cause more problems.

For clarity, the article will only cover dogs that eat poop from any specie (interspecific coprophagia). There are many types of poop-eating dog classifications. For example, autocoprophagia is a dog that eats only its poop, or intraspecific coprophagia/allocoprophagia is a dog that eats poop from other dogs.

 TL;DR 

  • Dog eating dog poopcat poop, and other animal poop are normal.
  • It is part of the dog’s genetics. Dogs are omnivores. They scavenge and forage and love carrion smells/tastes like vile and pungent odors. Dogs will eat many things that have zero nutritional value just for the fun of it or because they find it interesting.
  • There is no clear evidence to support the claim that dogs eat poop.
  • Management is the best way to get your dog off poop. Other factors and methods can help with dog pee eating, such as behavior modification, enrichment, and exercise.

Why does my dog eat poop? 

A study has shown that around 50% of dogs have a habit of eating poop.

Some dogs enjoy eating cat poop. Other dogs, however, love to eat the poop of their friends or siblings.

You can find tons of research on poop-eating dogs for all animals and dogs by searching for “why dogs eat their own urine” or “why dogs eat cat poop.” Canine poop eating is thought to result from survival, domestication, and atavistic traits.

Dogs are not packed animals. However, they can be alpha/trying dominance over you, den-animals, or carnivores. Some dog behaviors, such as pooping, can be attributed to their Canis Lupus evolution. Pleistocene Wolf is an extinct grey wolf population.

The canine ethogram includes coprophagia or eating poop.

Although it seems strange that a dog would eat feces as part of its natural behavior, research has shown it beneficial to wild dogs and dogs in the community. Keep the nesting/whelping boxes clean to avoid predator detection and keep your puppies healthy.

Canis lupus familiaris is prohibited from eating poop in modern society.

Canines are classified as omnivores, or carrion-eating (opportunistic), canines. Many things that a dog does “in natural” are not nutritional or beneficial for its health. Many things that a dog does could cause injury or death to him.

Dogs are carrion animals and were once scavengers. They ate decaying carcasses, foraged through garbage, and ate many rotten things from the ground. We can conclude that dogs will investigate any item they find interesting with their noses and mouths and possibly eat/taste it.

Dogs aren’t the only ones who do this. Many species continue to exhibit harmful and dangerous behaviors for their survival chances. Unknown reasons may explain why these behaviors persist.

The seminal article Misbehavior of Organisms, by Keller & Marian Breland, describes idiopathic behavior in dogs and atavistic behavior that Certified Animal Behaviorists do not understand.

One reason dogs eat poop is that it is an instinctive behavior. First, let me clarify what “natural” means in this context.

Poop-eating dogs are defined as “natural,” which refers to behaviors that a dog can perform on its own, without the intervention of a person or other. It can be learned, natural, or a combination.

Dog behaviors like barking, jumping, and humping/mounting are intrinsic, self-reinforcing, and rewarding, similar to coprophagia. Another example of coprophagia is dog poop eating, which is an intrinsically reinforced behavior because it can feel, smell, and taste good for a dog and is, therefore, difficult/impossible not to manage.

Natural does not necessarily mean healthy or behavior performed to survive or for other reasons. Many dogs could eat fine stools anywhere if they had the freedom to make their own decisions and be autonomous.

It is essential to recognize that a dog’s natural behavior does not mean we should encourage, condone, or allow it to eat poop.

We don’t allow certain dog behaviors due to ethical or health reasons. We also find other dog behavior unacceptable, such as poop eating. However, it would not necessarily cause harm to a dog.

Medical reasons

Deficiencies

Dogs can become deficient in vitamins and minerals, leading to them eating unnatural foods. Pica is a condition that makes dogs eat more than poop. It can also make them eat paint or other rocks. Other health hazards include parasite infections and the possibility of eating rotten wood, stones, or household furniture.

A lack of digestive enzymes can also cause stool eating. Your dog’s ability to absorb nutrients from food is affected by the absence of digestive enzymes. Adult dogs will seek out other food sources if they don’t have enough.

Hydrochloric acid deficiency can lead to your dog urinating on its own. This could happen if your dog is not eating enough food. In such cases, your dog might eat its poop to obtain its nutrients.

It is crucial to understand the ingredients in dog foods and what your dog can and cannot eat. You must keep a log of your dog’s diet if they start eating poop.

Parasites

Parasite-infested dogs eat their poop to replenish the nutrients they have lost. Unfortunately, parasites can be found in the intestines. Dogs can have a difficult time digesting food if they are infected.

Malabsorption

Exocrine pancreatic dysfunction and inflammatory bowel diseases can cause intestinal malabsorption in dogs.

Malabsorption can also be caused by small intestinal bacterial growth. However, stool eating is daily in dogs with dietary sensitivities or neoplastic intrusion.

Pancreatic Health Problems

Exocrine pancreatic dysfunction has been mentioned before, but it’s far more common than people think. Dogs that eat their poop may have too few pancreatic enzymes, making them unable to absorb the nutrients in the food they eat.

Pet parents may notice other than poop eating if their dog has a health problem, such as weight loss, diarrhea, or diarrhea.

A lack of nutritional food

Dogs that don’t get proper nutrition will resort at all costs to eating their dog’s poop. Worse, some dogs may eat the poop from other dogs. This could lead to serious health problems. We’ll provide more information in a section down.

Pets can resort to coprophagia (a scientific term for poop eating) when their dog’s food is not nutritious. Your dog will benefit from a regular feeding schedule. If your dog continues to be hungry after eating, this could indicate a more severe problem.

It doesn’t matter what type of chews you choose for your dog; they need to be able to eat the right food, so they don’t steal food or get into coprophagia. Alpha Paw Vitality dog food is recommended, and Multi-Vitamin Chew is recommended to maintain a healthy diet.

Behavior Causes

Anxiety

Dogs that eat poop are a sign of something wrong. However, it could also be something in their environment. Sometimes stress or anxiety can cause dogs to behave unusual, such as eating poop.

Your dog may be stressed or anxious if you have taken him to the vet for a physical exam. We don’t understand their dog language, and they don’t know the human language. It can be hard to understand the reasons for your dog’s stress and then help her reduce it.

Dogs may also eat poop if they are anxious. However, they might be worried about being locked in their house.

Separation anxiety can also affect other dogs.

Dogs with anxiety should receive calming chews on an ongoing basis.

Boredom

Let’s face facts. Poop from your dog is not the most appealing thing in the world. If bored dogs don’t have any other entertainment options, they may turn to other activities.

If you leave it alone, you can’t expect your dog to be content with all the boredom, inactivity, and loneliness they experience (make sure it is puppy-proofed).

Bored dogs can chew on your shoes, especially if they don’t get enough treats or chews while still puppies and teething), ruin pillows, and eat poop.

Being A Puppy

Poop eating is more common in puppies because they have more experience. Poop eating is an everyday activity for them.

Most puppies will stop coprophagy if they have access to the correct nutrients in dog food and engage in various physical activities. This behavior can also be seen in bored puppies. We all know how active young dogs are.

Punishment

Your dog might become more concerned if you punish them for an “accident” and they pee or poo indoors, rather than waiting for you out to take them for a walk.

This worry could lead to your dog eating the poop, which you won’t see. Your dog may eat the poop to keep it from you.

You will be better off if your dog is appropriately potty trained, whether you’re preparing to go outside for the toilet or indoors on a pee pad. Never hit a dog if she has an accident. Your dog’s behavior will worsen if you hit, push, or swipe her. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog.

Attractive Attention

Sometimes dogs eat poop to tell you something is wrong, and they need your attention more. This behavior may not be the best, but it often works.

If your dog is responsive to such behavior, the chances are that your dog will repeat it to grab your attention.

Other Potential Causes (But Not Proven), Of Coprophagia 

As we have already discussed, my dog likes to eat poop. There are many case studies and research papers, some extreme and abusive, and others suggest (but do not prove) that dogs eat poop.

Although coprophagia has been hypothesized, it is not yet proven.

  • A dog must be entertained Dogs can become bored and explore eating poop as there are no other activities in their environment.
  • Boredom If your dog isn’t getting the attention they deserve and learns that you give 100% of your attention when you eat poop, they might associate eating poop (positive or negative) with mom/dad being attentive to them. Attention is attention, just like jumping, barking, and other behavior we may disapprove of. It doesn’t matter if you’re mad at your dog or yelling at him; attention is still paid. Ask any child, and they will tell you that negative attention is better than no attention. Dogs are no different.
  • Not enough exercise – Like boredom and under-enriched, if your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, it could cause him to search for cowpies or dog food to play with.
  • Learned behavior – Social learning plays a vital role in dogs’ ability to learn and navigate the world. This could have been known by a dog’s mother when she was a puppy or by mirroring other littermates.
  • Older dogs may be more likely to eat poop than younger dogs.
  • Gender– A pilot study has shown that dogs who eat poop have gender biases
  • The number of pets can cause competition, resource guarding and mirroring of unacceptable behavior. One dog might eat poop, and another dog may also try it.
  • Reproduction status It is possible that spay/neuter may play a role in dogs who love to eat poop.
  • Dog Breeds: What breed of dog do you have that might be responsible for poop eating?
  • Accessibility If your dog is allowed to eat poop, they will most likely enjoy this tasty delicacy. Poop on the floor is attractive to dogs, especially if it’s fresh. Dogs who prefer coprophagia are prohibited from having access to any poop.
  • Behavior modification and dog training are not necessary. If your dog isn’t paying attention to your commands, has trouble keeping eye contact, doesn’t respond to your calls, or isn’t willing to walk with you, it is time to train your foundational behaviors. Your dog does not exist mindread, know what you want, or come into the world wanting to please. Positive reinforcement dog training is a great way to teach your dog how to communicate with you.
  • Punishment – If you don’t know the best way to potty train your dog and punish him for peeing in the house, your pet dog may learn to eat his stool to conceal the evidence.
  • Stress: Stress can cause maladaptive behavior to occur. Emotionally stressed dogs may seek to self-soothe and eat poop to avoid punishment.
  • Health conditions Canine compulsive disorder, Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), canine hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention are all neurodevelopmental disorders that are linked to maladaptive behavior.
  • Nutrition – While gastrointestinal issues, nutrition, probiotics, and nutraceuticals are vital for a dog’s physical, psychological, and emotional well-being and contribute to their survival and integration, there is no evidence to show that nutrition or any other of these causes a dog’s to eat feces.
  • In rare cases, B1 vitamin theanine deficiency has been shown to be linked to abuse and inhumane research that was conducted decades ago. Although it is unlikely that your dog will ever suffer from B1 deficiency like the one in this study, you can still supplement your dog’s diet with additional B1 vitamins. It can also improve their calmness and general behavior.
  • Excessive hunger (Polyphagia – A dog’s insatiable appetite, ravenous hunger, or desire to eat could be the cause of his poop eating. You may also have comorbid medical and/or behavioral issues like resource guarding, possessive aggression, greedy eating, or eating very fast.

How can I stop my dog from eating poop?

The best way to stop your dog from eating poop is to use coprophagia. This will vary from one dog to another and from the environment. However, the one thing that remains constant is that no matter what solution you use to stop your dog from eating poop, you must still practice management.

We start with the most basic theory and solve the problem with the least assumptions, just like Occam’s Razor/The Law Of Parsimony.

We also start with management, regardless of the behavior.

Your dog will eat all the brown gold if you allow him off-leash in areas where there are brown landmines. Stop your dog eating poop.

  • Keep your dog on a lead. Do not allow your dog to roam free in your yard or off-leash. Inappropriate areas, you can use a longer leash, but the more the dog is trained, the easier it will be to manage and control what the dog finds.
  • Supervision – supervise your dog’s pooping. Keep your dog close to you, on a leash, whenever they go outside. You can then watch their poop and make sure that it is not eaten.
  • Learn how to potty train your dog. This is the goal of potty training.
  • Head harness or muzzle – Have your dog wear a head harness or muzzle to give you more control over his head. This will reduce the chances of your dog ingesting poop on walks. This will allow you to quickly direct your dog’s mouth from feces.
  • Management – Manage your environment to stop pooping (or any other behavior) while on walks. You should, for example, immediately clean up any feces from your backyard. Avoid dog parks or dog areas that are heavily populated, where parents may not be responsible.
  • Dog training – teach your dog to recognize names and encourage eye contact between you and your dog. You should also ensure that your dog is able to recall things. These are the things that will help you get your dog’s attention before he eats his poop.
  • Enrichment – Give your daily dog healthy food and treats, as well as enrich him emotionally, energetically, and cognitively. Unemployed dogs that are bored, unexercised, and unenriched will find employment. We won’t enjoy what they choose.
  • Exercise – Get your dog moving every day to satisfy their energy needs. It’s a good idea to socialize your dog with other dogs who are friendly and appropriate for their role.
  • Feeding Increase your dog’s food to three times per day and reduce his intermittent hunger.
  • Don’t use punishment. If a dog is punished for pooping in their house or other places, they might try to eat the poop.
  • Protein: Choose higher-protein food that is less likely to cause stool eating. Dogs that eat poop may prefer a hard texture to ingest to soft or loose stool.
  • Nutrition: Adding B1 (thiamine) to a dog’s diet. You can reduce stool eating by adding pancreatic enzymes into a dog’s diet.
  • Attention Dog poop eating is an attention-seeking behavior. Don’t give your dog any attention for eating dog poop. Instead, enrich, train, and exercise your dog daily. Give them time for play, training, and all the great behaviors that they offer you.

There are many options for coprophagia treatment. This is similar to dog separation anxiety or other canine disorders. The opposite may be able to help, just like all the possible causes of coprophagia.

You Must Give Your Attention To Them Consistently

You can be sure that your dog will not eat stool if you give them enough attention and spend enough time with him every day. Understanding your dog’s emotions and how to take care of them will help reduce stress and prevent them from poop-eating.

High-quality food can improve your dog’s diet.

Dogs can eat low-quality food that isn’t rich in nutrients. Alpha Paw Vitality dog food is high-quality, high-quality food. You can also give them probiotics, vitamins, and plant-based digestive enzymes. This behavior will most likely disappear.

Stop Your Bad Habit

Sometimes, poop eating can be a bad habit. Dogs can have different patterns, just like humans. Not all bad ones. We have already mentioned that dogs may eat poop to get your attention or relieve stress. It becomes a bad habit over time that should be broken.

What to Do and What Not to Do To Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop? 

According to some studies, the dogs who ate more poop than usual were stressed dogs. These are not solutions.

  • Hot sauces or cayenne pepper
  • Aversives
  • Punishment: hitting, screaming, scolding, and throwing rocks or cans at the offender.
  • Vibration collars (also known as shock collars or “training”) collars
  • Citronella collars
  • Bark collars
  • Choke chains and prong collars
  • The leash pops for “Corrections.”

These are dangerous and could cause injury to your dog.

We’re on the subject of poop. Here is a handy stool chart that shows what healthy dog poop looks like.

You can help your dog to have a healthy stool by examining the food he eats and making changes.

Do Dogs like to eat poop?

Feces don’t have a high level of a particular nutrient. Wastes are lower in nutrition than they should be and can contain dangerous germs. It has very little or no effect on dogs’ diets and doesn’t alter the nutritional content of the dog.

They are safer than common household foods that can be toxic to dogs.

How do I clean my dog’s mouth after he eats poop?

It can be challenging to clean your dog’s mouth. However, many dogs will love this technique. It is essential to do something. Dogs can have bad breath and foul-smelling feces.

To get rid of visible residues, you can use coconut oil, salt water, and a moist cloth. You should then give your dog water and food.

A dog chew or dental wash can be very useful in this instance. Avoid human mouthwash. It contains dangerous ingredients and alcohol that dogs should not consume.

Is it possible for dogs to become ill from eating poop?

Although poisoning from poop eating is rare, it is possible. However, stools can be messy. Dogs who eat their poop may not be sick, but they might experience mild digestive distress from the bacteria present in their feces.

Dogs that eat poop from other animals are the real problem. Dogs can become infected with bacteria and parasites from other animals.

Is poop eating harmful to my dog? 

No. poop is safe for dogs to consume. Here are some foods that dogs should not eat.

Dog poop and cat poop can be eaten by dogs, but they should not eat poop from sick animals.

A poopsicle isn’t going to cause the death of your dog. It doesn’t mean that we should condone or allow poop eating even if you love to kiss your dog!

Last Thoughts

You should not be concerned about your dog eating their poop while they are still puppies (less than nine months old). This behavior is likely to disappear as they age. Puppy mills are more likely to have this behavior because puppies in these places experience high-stress levels. It usually disappears once the puppy finds a loving home.

Is your dog going through a phase where they eat poop? What happened? How are they doing now? Please share your story with us in the comments.

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Anamile Guerra
Anamile Guerra is a pet owner and entrepreneur with a passion for the well being of pets and animals. She believes in educating pet owners about natural and healthy alternatives to toxic chemicals in our dog's diets and nutrition. By following a natural lifestyle, we can prevent most common illnesses we see not only in our pet's health, but in our own well being, allowing us all to live long and happy lives.
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