Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

One of the problems that has plagued many dog owners (including me) is that their dog eats poop. In fact it’s so common that there is a name for it. It’s called coprophagia [kuh-prof-uh-guh s].There are a few different causes for this problem.


  1. They are doing it for attention.

Some dogs, when they feel neglected, will act out and willingly do things that upset you for the attention. This is typically caused by lack of attention from their owners outside of being punished for bad behaviors. This can be remedied by setting aside time to socialize with you pet so that they don’t feel like the only time that you pay attention to them is when they have done something wrong. These social sessions can be two minutes or two hours. The length doesn’t matter as long as your pet is getting positive interaction with you.

  1. Your dog is trying to avoid being punished.

If you’ve had problems with your dog going in the house, whether on purpose or by accident, and punished them for it then it is very possible that they are trying avoid being punished again. The remedy for this one calls for a change in your training approach. Instead of using physical or aggressive punishments promptly take your dog outside when they start to squat.

Another approach is to try and anticipate if your dog needs to go. I’m not talking about mind reading or that sort of thing I’m simply suggesting that you take your dog outside if you notice that they are sniffing the floor more than usual or know how big your dog’s bladder is. Check out my article on potty training for more information.


  1.  Nutritional deficiency.

Dogs require the right balance of proteins, fats, and other nutrients in order to stay healthy and happy. If a dog isn’t receiving that balance it may lead them to consume poop as an attempt to gain the missing nutrients. Try  changing to a higher quality food. Cheap dog foods are full of fillers that have very little nutritional value. Fillers are meant to do just that create a full feeling with minimal food consumption. On the other hand higher quality food has higher quantities of meat and meat byproducts to help satisfy your dog’s nutritional needs. For more information on picking a balanced food for your dog check out my articles on dog foods and feeding methods. There are also supplements available to help with nutritional deficiencies. You should probably consult a vet before making any drastic changes to your dog’s diet.


4.Health Problems

Most of the time coprophagia is harmless and is not a sign of illness; However sometimes it is caused by or can cause health problems. The above mentioned nutritional deficiency is one example. Other examples include parasites, pancreatic problems, intestinal infections, and malabsorption. This list is not all inclusive and seeing as how I do not have any kind of medical degree I am not diagnosing your dog with any of these problems. Because some of the above mentioned health problems can be very serious it would be wise to seek professional help from a veterinarian to determine the cause and possible treatment for your dog.


  1. Your dog just likes it.

As gross as it may seem to us some dogs just like to eat poop; both their own and the poop of other animals. Dogs explore their world through all of their senses and sometimes they develop an acquired taste to some of the things that they have tasted. The only way to be sure that a poop liking dog stops eating poop is to limit the contact and interaction that they have with it. Make sure that you clean up after all of your dogs but don’t make a big fuss out of it. Try to avoid making bathroom breaks a negative experience for your dog.


Hopefully this article has given you helpful information and insight into why your dog is eating poop.

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