Coprophagia: Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Let’s face it, just like you and I (hey, it’s not exactly the most beautiful of subjects to talk about it life, but it’s true), your dog loves a good poop! But, what if your dog loves to EAT their poop? Now, that’s something you and I have never thought of!

So, why do dogs eat poop? Is it safe for dogs to eat poop? And how can you stop your dog from eating poop?

This article will discuss everything you need to know about your dog eating their own poop (Coprophagia) or that of anyone else, and what you should do about it.

Is It Bad For Dogs To Eat Their Own Poop?

As disgusting as it might sound to you and I, science tells us that dogs eating their own poop doesn’t really cause them any harm.

Strange, right? Who would have thought!

However, and as with everything else in life, this statement only holds true as long as your dog doesn’t over-do it eating their own poop.

If they go overboard with this, bad things can happen, such as:

  • Stomach upset
  • Digestive problems
  • Development of parasites in the body
  • Pancreatitis

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poop?

Dogs eating their feces is more common than you might imagine, and they do it for many reasons.

– Cleaning: This is one behavior that’s especially seen in mother dogs with their pups, where the mother eats her puppy’s feces in order to clean after them, as well as to (instinctively) protect her puppy from predators that might be drawn to the poop’s odor.

Other dogs who aren’t necessarily mothers to young pups might eat after their own poop thinking that this way they’ll be cleaning after themselves and leave the area they “operated” in as clean as it was before nature called.

– Poor Nutrition: Dogs which consume a diet relatively poor in nutrients resort to eating their poop because they find digested food in it, thinking that this way they’ll get the nutrients they require.

This is one of the reasons why it’s extremely important that you make sure you always provide your dog with the most nutritious and healthiest diet you can.

– Hunger: Similar to the case of poor nutrition, if your dog is hungry and starving and is finding it difficult to get access to proper food, they might resort to eating their own poop.

So, make sure you’re properly feeding your dog enough amounts of food during the day!

– Boredom: Another very common reason dogs eat their own poop is simply because of being bored.

– Stress: If your dog is stressed out or anxious about something that’s worrying them, they might resort to eating their own poop as a mechanism to release stress.

– Smell: To your dog, the smell of their poop is just like the food they consumed beforehand, which obviously attracts your dog to eating it.

– Bad Learning: Sometimes, dogs interpret something their owner did for something that wasn’t meant.

For example, when dogs poop somewhere their owner doesn’t want them to and their owner comes and finds out what has been done, the owner might react by removing and disposing of the feces infront of the dog, or even react in a bad way by rubbing their dog’s face in the poop to “teach them not to do that again”.

But, in both of these cases, your dog learns that you don’t like to see the poop there, so they’ll just “dispose of it” themselves before you come and see it. How? By eating it.

– Attention: Many dogs will eat their own poop simply to get the attention of their owners.

This is especially seen in houses where dog owners start to yell at their dogs whenever they eat their own poop, and since yelling at your dog is still you giving them attention, this will basically communicate to the dog that whenever they eat poop, you’ll yell at them and they’ll have your attention.

How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop

So, you’ve had enough of seeing your dog eat their own poop and want to stop this behavior once and for all?

Let’s see how you can do that:

– Bad Taste: There are many products out there that aim to give your dog’s stool a bad and bitter taste, which will in turn repel your dog from eating it.

Meat tenderizers are one of the most popular items dog owners like to include in their dog’s diet in order to give the poop a bad taste.

Or, you could add some canned pumpkin to your dog’s diet, which tastes awesome to your dog but makes their poop taste awful.

– Monosodium Glutamate: If you add some MSG to your dog’s diet, or give them some foods to eat that contain MSG, this will go a very long way in making them stop eating their own feces.

It’s best that you consult with your veterinarian first before making such dietary changes to your dog’s lifestyle, and so you can get specific instructions on dosages and all the rest of the details.

– High Quality Diet: Probably one of the most important steps you an take to make sure you help your dog to stop eating their feces is ensuring you give them the highest quality food you can offer.

This way, you’ll make sure that your dog is getting all the required levels of proteins, minerals, vitamins and nutrients they need in their diet, and won’t go looking for them in their poop.

– Careful Cleaning: When cleaning up after your puppy passes stool, you have to be extra careful.

As soon as your dog defecates, you must take them away from the stool and remove it without them seeing any of this.

If your dog interacts with the stool after they defecate, there’s a big chance they’ll sniff it and eat some of it.

And, if your dog sees you getting rid of the poop yourself, they’ll assume that you want them to do the same next time, and they’ll try to eat it to get rid of it.

– Exercise And Stimulation: Your dog must be getting daily exercise and mental stimulation, even for many reasons other than preventing them from eating their own poop.

– Interaction: Just like your dog must be getting daily exercise and mental stimulation, they must also be interacting with other dogs or humans on a daily basis.

If your dog doesn’t get the interaction they need and spend long periods of time alone instead, they will be at risk of suffering from emotional trauma which, in turn, could lead to them eating their own feces.

– Don’t Over React: If you over react after seeing your dog eating their own poop, show your dog that you’re upset at them and start yelling, you’re giving your dog a very strong reason and motive to do this again in the very near future.

Why? Because if you do this, you’ll be showing your dog that when they eat poop, they’ll get your attention real good!

– Veterinarian: Sometimes, your dog is suffering from a medical issue that’s making them eat from their own feces, such as when they’re suffering from parasites.

In such cases, it’s always a good idea to take the dog to your veterinarian to run some tests to determine if there’s anything medically wrong with your dog or not.

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