Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poo? Full Explanation

If you own a dog, “Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poo?” you may have experienced an unappealing behavior: your pet feasting on their own excrement. This is known as coprophagia, and it raises many issues. Is this typical? Why do dogs behave in this manner? Is it possible to put a stop to it? In this post, we’ll dig into the strange realm of coprophagia, looking at what causes it and how to deal with it.

Understanding Coprophagia

Coprophagia is the act of dogs devouring their own or other animals’ excrement. For years, dog owners have been perplexed by this behavior. While it may appear disgusting to us, dogs have their motives for doing it.

Is It Normal?

One of the first questions that dog owners often ask is whether coprophagia is normal. The answer is a bit complicated. In some cases, it can be considered normal behavior, especially in puppies. However, if this behavior persists into adulthood, it may signal underlying issues.

Causes of Coprophagia

Causes of Coprophagia
Causes of Coprophagia
  • Instinctual Behavior

Dogs are descendants of wolves, and wolves often consume the entire prey, including the intestines and feces. This behavior was an evolutionary advantage, as it allowed them to maximize their nutrition. Some believe that coprophagia in dogs today might be a residual instinct from their wolf ancestors.

  • Dietary Deficiencies

Another reason for coprophagia could be dietary deficiencies. If a dog’s diet lacks essential nutrients, they might try to compensate by consuming feces. This behavior is more common in dogs on low-quality diets.

  • Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as malabsorption disorders or parasites, can lead to coprophagia. Dogs might consume feces to alleviate digestive discomfort.

The Role of Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poo?

Stress and worry can also be variables in canine coprophagia. Just as people may participate in neurotic habits as a coping technique when they are concerned, dogs may do the same. If your dog eats excrement in stressful situations or in response to changes in their surroundings, managing their anxiety may help lessen the tendency.

Social Learning

Dogs are highly observant animals, and they often learn by watching other dogs, especially if they live in multi-dog households. If one dog in the family starts eating feces, others may follow suit. In such cases, it’s crucial to address the behavior in all the dogs to prevent it from spreading.

Cleaning Up Promptly

One practical approach to preventing coprophagia is ensuring that feces are promptly cleaned up from your dog’s living area. This simple step can help eliminate the temptation and reduce the opportunity for your dog to engage in the behavior.

Gradual Changes in Diet

If you’re considering changing your dog’s diet to address coprophagia, it’s important to do so gradually. Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poo? A sudden shift in their food may upset their stomach and exacerbate the problem. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on how to make dietary changes safely.

Behavioral Consultation

In some cases, particularly when the behavior is deeply ingrained, seeking the assistance of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist can be beneficial. They can provide customized strategies to address your dog’s specific coprophagia triggers.

A Word of Caution

While coprophagia is generally considered a behavioral issue, it’s essential to rule out any medical conditions with your veterinarian. Sometimes, underlying health problems can lead to this behavior. Regular check-ups and open communication with your vet are crucial for your dog’s overall well-being.

Puppy Behavior

Puppies are more likely to engage in coprophagia as they explore the world with their mouths. This behavior often diminishes as they grow older and their dietary needs change.

How to Stop Coprophagia

How to Stop Coprophagia
How to Stop Coprophagia

If you’re concerned about your dog’s coprophagia, Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poo? There are several strategies you can employ to discourage this behavior.

Training and Behavioral Approaches

Training plays a crucial role in curbing coprophagia. Teaching your dog commands like “leave it” and “drop it” can be very effective. Additionally, positive reinforcement for not engaging in the behavior can be a powerful tool.

Dietary Modifications

Switching to a higher-quality diet with all the necessary nutrients can help reduce coprophagia. Consult your vet for dietary recommendations.

Medical Interventions

In cases where underlying medical issues are identified, medical treatments may be necessary. Your vet can provide guidance on this.

When to Consult a Vet

If your dog’s coprophagia persists despite your efforts, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian. They can rule out any underlying medical conditions and provide expert advice on how to tackle the issue effectively.


In the above, we discuss Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poo? Coprophagia, or dogs eating their own feces, is a behavior that can range from normal to problematic. Understanding the underlying reasons and taking appropriate actions is essential to addressing this issue. By incorporating training, dietary changes, and seeking veterinary advice, you can help your canine companion overcome this peculiar habit.

Can coprophagia be a sign of a dog’s unhappiness or boredom?

Yes, dogs may engage in coprophagia if they are bored or not mentally stimulated. Ensuring they have a stimulating environment can help.

Is there any specific age when coprophagia is more common in dogs?

Coprophagia is more common in puppies, but it can occur at any age. It often lessens as dogs grow older.

Are there any home remedies to deter coprophagia?

Some dog owners have had success with adding pineapple or pumpkin to their dog’s diet, as these can make feces less appealing. However, consult your vet before trying this.

Should I punish my dog for eating feces?

No, punishment can be counterproductive and increase anxiety. Positive reinforcement and redirection are more effective.

Are there support groups or forums for dog owners dealing with coprophagia?

Yes, there are online forums and support groups where dog owners share their experiences and tips for managing coprophagia. These can provide valuable insights and support.

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