Is Your Puppy Eating Poop?

It's called 'Coprophagia' and although we may believe the idea of our puppy eating poop is gross, dogs don't! If you'd like to learn how to stop your dog from eating on.

Dogs Eat Poop - It's A Fact!

Thankfully, this lovely cocker spaniel puppy, Dara, doesn't eat poop!

"My dog's eating his own poop - how can I stop him?"

"Help! My dog eats poop - what shall I do?"

I'm often asked questions like these so I thought they deserved an explanation here.

Coprophagia in dogs is a formal term for when they eat their own poop (and other animal poo too!) and unfortunately it's a fact of doggy life, dogs eat poop!

If you'd like to learn why they do it simply follow the link.

If your puppy's eating habits are causing you to despair, there are several things you can do to help stop it.

How To Stop Your Puppy Eating Poop!

You might like to try one, or a combination of several, of the methods shown below until your pup stops this anti-social behavior.

  • Feed your puppy well balanced and nutritious meals. This will stop the 'need' for nutrition which may be what's causing your pet to eat poo in the first place.

  • A good quality kibble is more easily digested than tinned or other wet dog food and usually results in poop that is dryer and less 'appealing' to your dog.

  • Feed him two or three times a day, and at regular times, rather than once a day. This way he's less likely to feel hungry and won't be tempted to eat his own dog poop.
  • Don't overfeed your pet. If you do, his body may not be able to digest the food properly. Undigested food can smell quite appealing (to your dog!) and it's likely to smell like his dinner!

  • Mixing a tablespoon of crushed pineapple into your puppy's food may help. Pineapple contains an enzyme that helps to break down the food, leaving no undigested meat in his stool.

  • Adding bonemeal to your puppy's food will help to make his dog poop dryer and less palatable to him.

  • Your local pet shop, or your vet, may sell specially formulated products to help stop your puppy's anti-social eating habits.

" dog eats can I stop
my dog from eating poop?..."

Puppy Eating Poop? - Pick Up!

If you clean up your dog's mess immediately your puppy won't be able to eat it!

This may sound pretty obvious, but always keep your dog's living and playing area clear of feces. This way, the opportunity for your puppy eating poop will be removed.

When you do clean up after him, try not to let him see you doing it otherwise he may mimic your behavior.

Beautiful portrait of a Cocker by Joe's portraits

Think about it, your dog sees you cleaning up the yard and begins to do the same because he thinks he's doing something that you approve of.

Unfortunately, his 'picking up' involves eating it!

Puppy Eating Poop? - Exercise Him!

If your puppy has plenty of exercise and play he'll be calm and relaxed and less likely to become bored and resort to eating dog poop.

And don't forget training too - short bursts of fun obedience training will help keep his mind occupied.

Teach your pet the 'Leave It' command and use it if it looks like he's about to approach something you don't want him to have. Once learned, this command may be just the ticket to stop your puppy eating poop.

Play and training are great ways to exercise your puppy, helping to exercise both mind and body; giving him the mental and physical stimulation he needs for development.

A tired pup is contented and well-behaved (usually)!

Puppy Eating Poop? - Immediate Reward

As soon as your puppy has pooped, (don't even give him time to turn around and sniff it) call him to you immediately. Do it with such enthusiasm that he can't resist coming to you.

When he comes over to you, praise him and give him a small treat. If you don't want to feed him too many treats let him play with his favorite toy for a few minutes instead.

If you give him something more interesting to do, or more rewarding, it will block his mind to any thoughts he may have had about eating his poop.

Timing is very important here.

Watch your puppy, and as soon as he's 'done the business' that's when you call him to you and reward  him. This is important and will help to associate any reward with moving away from his toilet.

If your puppy learns that after relieving himself something good happens, he's less likely to begin munching on his own poop, especially if he knows you've something much more exciting for him.

After pooping, he'll begin to automatically look to you for his reward and with a bit of luck, you'll no longer have a naughty puppy eating poop!

Puppy Eating Poop? - Be Consistent!

Try to be around your puppy whenever he does his toilet, this way you will be in control and better able to supervise him.

TIP: If you really don't like the idea of keeping your pet on a lead, why not consider using a muzzle when he's off lead?

This will prevent him from eating anything undesirable and once he's broken his coprophagous habit, you can then stop using the muzzle.

If your pet is off the lead, you won't be able to keep a close eye on him, and if he gets the opportunity to indulge in his own poo (or even another animal's) he probably will! 

That's why I recommend you keep him on a lead until this problem is resolved.

Please don't inadvertently set your puppy up to fail, because if he gets the opportunity to 'munch' it will only set him back and any progress you may have made will be lost.

Consistency is the key if you're going to stop your puppy eating poop.

Puppy Eating Poop? - Try A Rattle Bottle

If none of the above work for your dog you could try using a rattle bottle to help your puppy to stop this annoying habit.

However, a word of warning: always use a rattle bottle with care, especially around timid or subservient dogs, and use it as he's approaching the poop - it will be more effective this way. If he's already begun to eat it, the rattle bottle is unlikely to be ineffective.

Other Related Titles

You've probably never heard of it before, but Coprophagia is a term for when our dogs eat their own (or some other dog's) poop. If your cocker is eating poo, you can learn more about it here.

Important Note:

If your dog's eating poop, I recommend you speak to your vet so you can rule out any underlying medical problem before going on to tackle his antisocial behavior.

A dog eating poop may result in bad breath and kicking the habit will probably resolve his dog breath, however there are many other things you can do to get his mouth back to his normal sweet-smelling self!

Believe it or not, brushing your puppy's teeth will pay out in the long run. Not only will it get him used to having a brush in his mouth, but it will keep plaque and bacteria at bay, (helping to give him fresh breath) meaning his teeth will remain healthy too.

It really is important to brush your dog's teeth too. Just like our human teeth, they need to be looked after otherwise he will lose them, or will suffer from gum disease and other health problems.

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