Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Pick up your dog's poop
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Oh no, your dog is at it again! He’s eating poop. Yuck! You may be wondering why in the world your dog would want to do this, or how you can stop him from this behavior. There could be several different reasons why your dog is eating poop. It may be a physiological or behaviour issue. Figuring out why your dog is doing this in the first place is the first step in eliminating this revolting habit.

Maybe he was just born this way? Dogs in the wild would often eat their own faeces to remove their scent, protecting themselves from predators. This behaviour may just be part of the dog’s long-embedded instincts.

The first thing to look for is any health or diet issues that may be contributing to this disgusting behaviour. A nutritional deficiency, such as pancreatic insufficiency or enzyme deficiency may be the cause. Parasites and malabsorption should be considered as well. A visit to the vet to have your dog’s stool checked will rule out any parasitic activity. Also, if your dog has been eating poop, his chance of developing parasites has greatly increased, so it would be wise to have his stool tested, and treat him if necessary. Speaking with your veterinarian to create a balanced nutritious diet regimen, with a high quality dog food including supplements should help.

If you’ve ruled out any medical issues that may be causing stool-eating, then it’s time to look at your dog’s behaviour. It is possible that he is just bored. Anxiety brought on by nutritional deficiencies can also cause this behaviour.

Pick up your dog's poop
Click to Enlarge

Ok, so you’ve figured out what might be causing your dog to eat poop. Now, how do you get him to stop? It’s a known fact that while disgusting to us humans, eating a little poop now and then is not as harmful to dogs as it sounds. However, there are steps that you can take to eliminate this habit. Changing his diet to a higher quality food can help with stool eating caused by a nutritional deficiency. Next, it’s a good idea to clean up and remove any faeces in the garden as soon as possible. If your dog is prone to eating cat poop straight from the litter box, then move the litter box to an area that your dog cannot easily access. You can also use a self-cleaning litter box that rakes away the cat’s stool regularly. Veterinarians can recommend a supplement that is added to the dog’s food that makes the stool taste less appealing. Give your dog some exercise and play with him more to alleviate boredom. Often, behaviour issues such as stool eating arise out of boredom and lack of exercise. And finally, keep your pet healthy with regular visits to the veterinarian.

Eating poop is a nasty habit, but by following the steps outlined here, you can work to alleviate this behaviour once and for all.

1 Comment
  1. i think our dog eats poop out of boredom, and bc of a nonbalanced diet. we went on vacation and the sitter began giving him people food, i feel that could be part of the issue. he is crate trained, so he is in his crate most of the day when we are at work.

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