Why Do Dogs Eat Poop? And How to Stop It?

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Author: Tilly Walker

Unravel the mystery of why dogs engage in coprophagia—eating poop. Explore the behavioral, nutritional, and health-related reasons behind this common yet puzzling canine habit, shedding light on understanding and addressing it.

Dog eating poop
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Key Takeaways

  • Dogs eat poop for various reasons, including nutritional deficiencies, attention-seeking, or instinct.
  • Ensure a balanced diet, ample exercise, and behavioral training to curb coprophagia.
  • Consult your vet for guidance, as this behavior may also signal underlying health issues.

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Is It Normal for Dogs to Eat Poop?

Eating poop is a very normal behaviour in animals, and is commonly seen more in dogs. It’s true, they like the texture and smell of the poop, so they get more attracted towards it.

dog having poop
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While doing research, we also came across one article from AKC[1], which states “Mother dogs will lick their puppies to urge them to eliminate and clean up their poop by eating it, for about the first three weeks after birth.

Puppies will also naturally engage in this behaviour, eating their own poop (autocoprophagia), poop from other dogs (allocoprophagia), as well as poop from cats and other animals.

Reasons Behind Dogs Habit of Eating Poop

Encountering your canine eating his own poop or other animal’s poop is not common behaviour. And you just cannot give him permission to continue his habit of eating poop.[2] So, it’s important to know the reason behind his abnormal behaviour.

Here, are a few reasons which will help you to know better about your pup’s weird habit of eating poop. Keep reading for tips on how to handle this situation in the future.

1. Nutritional Deficiency

Nutritional Deficiency
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Well, due to nutritional deficiency also your dog may have adopted the habit of eating his own poop or other animals. Just like, humans have a habit of eating ice cubes and wall paint due to a lack of vitamins. To overcome this habit, provide him with a proper meal, and consult with a vet if there are any prescribed nutrition supplements that need to be given to cure the deficiency issue.

2. They Want to Grab Your Attention

It could be because he wants to grab your attention. If he misbehaves or does something wrong, you will leave your ongoing work and give him attention and stop him from doing it. So, poop eating is one of the negative behaviour, which you won’t tolerate, and he has sensed it.

Dog need attention
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Basically, he wants to engage you with him, and spend some time with him, but that doesn’t mean he is demanding to play, or do any activity.

3. Your Pup Might Not Be Feeling Well

If your pup is eating poop, he might not be feeling well.

During the survey, it has been observed that one of the possible reasons could be he is suffering from some disease. Such as Coprophagia can be connected to diseases of the intestinal tract and sometimes other parts of the body (liver, brain, etc.).

dog not feeling well
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If your canine has never been a poop eater, and suddenly develops the habit, plus shows up with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, and related issues. In such a case, take him to the vet and start his treatment to avoid any future complications.

4. Stress and Anxiety Issues

Another possible reason behind your canine eating poop is that he is nervous or scared. This mainly happens when he has been punished/gets scolded for soiling the house. So, to save themselves from getting punished, they simply eat their own poop to remove the evidence from the house.

dog in stress
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Note: Giving your dog toiletry training is good because it will make him get used to using a poop box instead of soiling the carpet. But this doesn’t mean you will scold or punish him. This will only scare your pup more and make him eat his own poop, which can lead to health problems.

5. Suffering From Medical Issues

Could be that your canine is facing a deficiency issue. As per vet consultation, the canine habit of eating poop is due to a medical condition which makes them eat poop or crave for eating faeces.[3]

dog with medical issues
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Following are the medical conditions for why your dog would be eating poop:

  • An issue in digesting the meal
  • Diseases such as diabetes, thyroid, and worms increase the appetite
  • Brain medical issue
  • Suffering from severe cold
  • Feeding supplements also increase the craving of ingesting poop

Due to such medical issues, canines crave of eating poop. If your pooch is suffering from any of the medical conditions mentioned above, it is best advisable to take your pet to the vet.

6. Your Canine Is Hungry

We make assumptions because it’s difficult to understand why a dog behaves in certain ways.

In this case, when you encounter your canine eating his own poop or another animal’s poop could be because he is hungry. Also, if you notice that he keeps doing this every day, it’s possible that you aren’t giving him enough food or the food he’s eating isn’t good enough for him or something else.

So to be sure that your canine is eating poop out of hunger ness, you can do one thing, provide him with a full meal, and treats and watch him all day. After having a meal, if he is not eating his own poop or other animal’s poop, then it’s clearly due to an empty stomach he was doing it.

But even if he continues to do the same, then consult the vet, they will understand in a better way and will guide you to prevent him from doing it.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Poop?

If your dog has a habit of regularly eating poop, then you should consult the vet for better guidance. We have also jotted down a few tips which will help you to overcome your fido’s weird habit of eating poop.

preventing dog from eating poop
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  • Re-train your pup, and give him a command not to eat poop. Repeatedly stop him from carrying out such weird habits.
  • If he listens to your command, then try to give appreciation in the form of feeding his favourite treat. In this way, he will remember that he is not supposed to eat poop.
  • You can also try muzzles when you take him out for a walk.
  • Try to clean your dog’s pup on time, so that they get the craving of eating their poop.
  • Always make time for your pooch because if he is under stress or something then also he will try to carry out weird habits such as eating poop. So, play games with him, pamper him and make him feel secure.


Can a dog get sick from eating poop?

It has been observed that eating poop is common and counted as normal behaviour in canines, but it can lead to health issues. For instance, worms issue is very common, and internal parasites are passed from one animal body to another, by ingesting other animals’ poop.

Why is my dog obsessed with eating poop?

One of the possibilities behind dogs getting obsessed with eating poop because they do eat their baby’s poop to keep them clean, and give them a hygienic surrounding. In addition, eating poop help to keep the dens clean, and they really enjoy eating poop, it tastes good to them.

Why do dogs eat cat poop?

Well, dogs are scavengers by nature, they can eat anything, including the poop of other animals. So, yeah dogs can eat cat poop, it smells awful to humans but for them, it smells just like cat food. While doing the survey, it has been observed that canine like cat litter trays so much, that they just cannot resist ingesting them.

Can dogs get worms from eating poop?

Yes, dogs can get worms from ingesting poop. This is because there are chances parasites and eggs are present in animal faeces. So, if your pup ingests his own poop or any other animal’s poop, he might get worms issues. Such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, which can make your canine sick.

How do I clean my pup’s mouth after eating poop?

If your dog has a habit of ingesting stool, and you don’t want him to lick you with the same dirty mouth. In such cases, you can use the following tricks to keep his mouth clean. Giving them water to drink will help to wash out their mouths. You can also use a toothbrush to clean their teeth or wipe their mouths with a wet cloth. Plus, a chewing stick will also help to get the dirt out of their mouths.


As per the survey, it has been seen that it’s very normal behaviour in dogs to eat poop.

Dogs like the texture, and smell of the poop, so they get attracted towards it.

Well, due to nutrient deficiency also, they adopt the habit of eating the poop of their own or any other animal.

If your pup is suffering from diabetes, thyroid, and worms issues, then also they start building the craving of eating poop.


  1. Why Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It. (2022, June 29). American Kennel Club (AKC). Retrieved October 4, 2022
  2. Herzog, H. (2020). Did Eating Human Poop Play a Role in the Evolution of Dogs?. WBI Studies. Retrieved October 29, 2022
  3. Beynen, A. C. (2020). Diet and canine coprophagy. ResearchGate. Retrieved October 4, 2022
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Tilly Walker
Tilly Walker is an avid animal lover and dog owner for several years. She owns a mix breed Cockapoo named Rio. She, along with her group of friends who wanted to help others learn more about the proper ways to take care of their pets, founded this website.

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