Why Dogs Eat Poop!

I'm often asked why dogs eat poop so I thought I'd explain it here. The formal name for a dog eating poop is Coprophagia and whilst you and I may believe it's a disgusting habit, dogs and puppies don't!

Understand the reasons why they do it and what you can do to stop it.

Wondering Why Dogs Eat Poop?

First of all, let me reassure you, you're not alone. 

Whilst it may not be very pleasant to witness, it's quite a common sight and if your puppy begins to eat his own poo, you shouldn't really worry too much because he'll probably grow out of it.

In the meantime, continue to do your regular 'poop patrol' in the garden to help reduce his opportunity to snack.

Chocolate cocker spaniel sitting in a field full of yellow buttercups.Mmmm, yum!

You might like to add pineapple to his diet as this is thought to make his poop unpalatable. (I can't believe I just wrote that!). 

You can also step up on the Leave command. You'll need to make sure that the treat you have ready for him is tastier than the poop he's about to eat. Chopped liver or chicken will probably do the trick!

Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop 

There may be several reasons why dogs eat poop:

  • One of the most common reasons why dogs eat poop is boredom, but an anxious or stressed puppy may also develop this habit.
  • Dogs that eat poop may simply be copying the behaviour of another dog, or after watching you pick up after him, he may be mirroring your behaviour.
  • Your puppy may be attention seeking - let's face it, 'mommy' can get quite animated at the sight of her lovely little puppy eating poop...mission accomplished!
  • If your puppy isn't yet fully house-trained and is 'punished' for messing in your home he may try to avoid being punished again and 'dispose of the evidence' by eating it.
  • If your dog's eating poop, he could simply be 'cleaning' his living space, particularly if he's confined for too long in a small area, or has been locked in his crate for too long.
  • Your Cocker Spaniel may be overfed or eat his food too quickly and as a result it doesn't digest properly. This can lead to dog poop that will still smell and taste like his dinner! (Yuk!)
  • If your Cocker is only fed once each day, he may become hungry towards the end of the day and scavenge for food - if he's really hungry, this may lead him to eat his own poop!
  • If your pup is on medication it could be the cause of your puppy eating his poop, in which case, it's probably best to check with your vet.
  • Your puppy's food may not be nutritious enough; he may be lacking in essential nutrients which is causing him to eat his own or another dog's poop (they're not fussy!).

    Eating dog poop allows the maximum amount of nutrition to be absorbed from the food, which may be a throwback to the wild; ie, the difference between surviving or not!

Why Dogs Eat Poop: Summary

Understanding why your dog is eating poop in the first place will help you to rectify his anti-social activities.

Golden cocker spaniel lying in the garden, on the grass. His little pink tongue is showing.What's for dinner, Mum?

It's important to stop your puppy eating poop before the 'indulgence' becomes a habit otherwise it may become more difficult to deal with.

If you catch your puppy in the act, don't get angry with him or punish him for it because you may inadvertently teach him that he's being punished for pooping.

In his mind, the punishment may confirm that his decision to eat (ie, 'dispose of the evidence') was a good one.

Go to the next page to learn how to stop your puppy eating poop and enjoy his sweet scented kisses (albeit slobbery!) and loving licks once more!

Photo Credit: Why Dogs Eat Poop
1. Crabchick at www.Flickr.com - https://www.flickr.com/photos/62327186@N00/3523890628