Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poop?

dog poo and a question mark
Why do dogs eat their own poop?

Dogs eat their own poop due to a lack of nutrition. Some dogs may have picked up the habit from puppies when they are often hungry or bored.

You need to work out which one out of the four reasons above why your dog displays this behaviour. Below will also help you to stop each possibility.

As explained, there is more than one possibility why a dog may eat their own poo. Here are the four reasons why.

  1. Nutrition
  2. Bad habit
  3. Hungry
  4. Boredom

Dog Coprophagia (Faeces Eating)

There are many theories as to why dogs eat their poop, and no one precisely knows why they do it, but these theories below are the four common explanations. If your dog eats their poop, try going through the list below one at a time.

#1 Lack of nutrition

A Pug eating his dinner
Pug enjoying his dinner time

When dogs lack vitamins of some kind, they feel the need to eat their poop, random I know, but many experts believe this to be one of the reasons why.

How to stop it

If you think your dog is eating their poop because of the lack of nutrition, think about the food your giving them and is it of any decent quality, there are many foods for dogs on the market at present, and they are even dog breed-specific ranges. 

#2 Bad habit

dog holding a sign saying I have a bad habit on the grass
Pug life “Bad habits.”

Your dog could have picked up a poop-eating habit from when they were a puppy, perhaps from their mothers.

How to stop it

Your dog eating their poop could be a bad habit inherited from their mother; they saw her doing this when they were young and have continued to adopt this in their adult life. The way to avoid this is when they go for poop, don’t hesitate and pick it up straight away, don’t leave it for them to go back to later to gobble it up. Still, let them do their business in peace, and if they look like they are about to eat it, tell them a firm “leave it”. Show your presence when they are having a poop but don’t impose on them. Then pick it up straight away and put it in the bin. 

The phrase “leave it” falls under obedience training. If your dog hasn’t been trained for this command yet, you should start it with them. This will help no end, especially if your dog is a poop gobbler whilst out walking.

#3 Hungry

dog begging for food at the table
More food?

A dog might be hungry and eating its own poop due to hunger. 

How to stop it

Provide your dog with three meals a day. You should have a good quality brand of dog food, and usually, on the back of the package is a weight guide and how much you should be feeding them. If you already do this, I suggest trying four meals a day but with the same daily portion size; just spread out over four meals.

#4 Boredom

Bored dog laying down
Bored dog

Yes, boredom can drive your dog to do silly things, and eating poop is a possibility from it.

How to stop it

Physical and mental stimulation is critical for keeping boredom at bay in dogs. Make sure you walk your dog twice a day; this allows them to see new sights, sounds and smells. Make time for playing together and provide them with toys that stimulate their brains.

If all else fails

Make their poop taste terrible; although you would think their poop tastes awful anyway, it is slightly different for dogs. You can apply deterrents on the poop, like red pepper flakes, tabasco sauce or bitter apple. You can also get poo deterrent chews, tablets and in a liquid form that you can apply to their food before they eat it. However, before you do any of the above, you must consult your vet. It’s imperative to do so. When you have the go-ahead from your vet and any underlying medical reasons have been ruled out. It will cause your dog to develop a repulsion towards their poop and, in time putting them off eating it altogether. I would use this as your last resort and try the above first.

When is it normal for a dog to eat poop

Mother adult dog with puppy
Mother adult dog with her puppy

It is never normal for adult dogs to eat their poop; this is classed as abnormal behaviour. However, it’s normal for Mothers to eat their pup’s poop to keep her nest area clean and avoid any attraction from preditors. Also, mother dogs lick their babies rear ends to stimulate them to poop when they are young and clean up the mess by eating it.

Conclusion

I hope this can help you and your dog, and don’t forget if you have tried the above techniques and your dog is still eating their poo, your dog could be suffering from an underlying medical condition. Good luck! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your veterinary expert for further advice.

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