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Why Is My Dog Eating Poop?

If you find your dog eating poop, don’t fret! Although it may seem bizarre, this is something many pet parents encounter in both puppies and adult dogs. This puzzling behavior makes folks wonder, “why is my dog eating poop?”

Common Reasons Dogs Eat Poop

Coprophagia, or dogs eating feces, is a very common behavior that can be corrected. There are a variety of both behavioral and physiological reasons that can cause this habit.

1. Learned Behavior

Mother dogs will often eat their puppies’ feces to keep the “den” clean, and this is also a survival instinct to get rid of smells that could attract predators. Puppies observe this behavior and often copy it. When the puppies are old enough to find their own food and leave the nest, mothers will often stop eating their puppies' poop.

2. Issues with Digestion

Sometimes, dogs dine on a poo poo platter because they are having digestion issues. If a food is low in digestible nutrients, it will come out tasting pretty much the same as when your dog initially consumed it. A food that assists with digestion, like Top That Tummy Meal Enhancer, can help prevent this. It’s crucial to give your dog the right food as early as possible to curb this behavior and ensure proper digestion. Our "Food Finder" can help determine what type of food is best for them.

3. Boredom or Stress

If dogs or puppies are left alone for long periods or are under stress in a new environment, they will sometimes play with or consume their feces. Dogs should not be reprimanded for this behavior, as it will only cause further stress. Try to create a calming environment for your pup, and if you’re leaving for the day, provide them with toys to play with or activities to keep them occupied.

4. Health Problems

If this is new behavior for your dog, you should consult with your vet to rule out physiological problems like:

  • Parasites
  • Diets deficient in nutrients and calories
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Diabetes, Cushing’s, thyroid disease, and other conditions that might cause an increase in appetite
  • Drugs, such as steroids

Why Eating Poop is More Prevalent in Puppies

  • Puppies need to be fed more than adult dogs, and often require food 2-4 times a day. Because of this, they’re often hungry and will eat anything available, even their own poop. It’s important to give them food specially formulated for puppies, like our Puppy Food Starter Kit.
  • Puppies love your attention and will do anything for it, even if it’s a negative reaction like reprimanding them for eating feces.
  • Young pups are sneaky and may also try to “hide evidence” if they’ve had an accident in the house and are trying to avoid punishment.

Ways to divert your puppy's attention away from eating poop:

  • Give them something to chew on, like one of these chewy treats!
  • Always feed them high-quality puppy food
  • Keep them on a leash when walking them
  • Make sure your puppy is getting attention, playtime, and exercise
  • When your puppy poops in the backyard, call them away from the stool to distract them and take them inside before going back outside alone to clean it up

Although this behavior may be disturbing to you, keep in mind this is very common in both puppies and adult dogs. While eating their poop is harmless, consuming that of other animals may cause health problems if the stool is contaminated with parasites, viruses, or toxins.

In most cases, this crappy behavior will fade before the puppy is about nine months old. With patience and the proper training and distractions, you can stop this habit! Check out our list of other items that your dog shouldn’t be eating.

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