Why Dogs Eat Poop And How To Stop It

Humans find it disgusting when dogs eat their own poop or that of other animals.

Dog owners need to understand that this behavior is common in all dogs. In fact, coprophagia is a medical term for the act of eating feces. Some medical problems can cause this condition, but it is regarded as a behavior that can be prevented and even reversed. There is a lot of speculation about the reasons dogs eat poop, but there is no scientific explanation for the dogs behavior.

Many distraught dog owners want to know why do dogs eat poop and what can they do to prevent it.

Possible Medical Reasons

Because all dogs are different, it is important to eliminate any medical reasons dogs eat poop before attempting to address the behavior. An undetected, underlying health problem overrides behavior issues and should be a top priority when searching for a reason.


Because today’s dogs are often fed a highly processed diet that may be lacking in necessary enzymes, some dogs may suffer from an enzyme deficiency. If a dog does not receive the proper enzymes, it is impossible to absorb the nutrients needed for digestion.

Waste that passes undigested is a reason why dogs are tempted to eat their own poop.


Worms and other intestinal parasites can rob a dog of some necessary nutrients. Parasite infestation causes a dog to be overly hungry, which can lead to consuming his own poop.

Pancreatic Problems

EPI is a problem with the pancreas that results in diarrhea and severe weight loss.

A telltale symptom is eating poop.

Poor Nutrient Absorption

Dogs sometimes eat their own poop when their body loses nutrients that are undigested.

Eating poop from some other animals could make up for the loss of protein or other nutrients that are deficient in their own.

Stress and Anxiety

Being left alone or being in a new environment does cause stress in some dogs. When this happens, they may resort to eating their own poop to help relieve their anxiety.


It is important to know how much food a dog needs per day. Many people determine the amount to feed based on the dog’s weight. This is just a guideline, but some dog’s metabolism is higher than others are and they may need to be fed more food more often.

Malnourished dogs with a hardy appetite will eat anything, even poop, when they are hungry.

Risks of Eating Poop

Many dog owners want to know why do dogs eat poop and will it harm them.

They can rest assured that normally it is not dangerous for them to consume their own poop, but there is a health risk if they eat the poop from other animals. They could ingest possible harmful bacteria that can cause illness. This bacteria can be transmitted to humans through the dog’s saliva. Humans can become ill by not washing their hands after touching a dog that has eaten poop.

The best way to guard against this contamination is to prevent poop-eating behavior through training.

Dog owners need to know how to stop dog from eating poop after determining the possible reasons why they do it.

How to Prevent Poop Eating

This gross, disgusting behavior can be prevented with a little extra effort and determination. Dog owners need to spend time with their pet and observe their good and bad behaviors before deciding on a plan of action.

The simple act of taking a pet out for exercise can provide clues as to how to stop a dog from eating poop.

Vigilant Observation

  • Always be observant when taking walks.
  • Pick up poop immediately and dispose of it quickly.
  • Do not allow time for sniffing and eating.
  • Watch out for the poop of other dogs and steer the dog away from it.
  • Teach the command “leave it” and be consistent all the time.
  • Follow up obedient behavior with a reward every time.

Feed Nutritious Food

A good diet ensures the availability of digestive enzymes that dogs need. Undigested food that results from a lack of enzymes is one culprit that prompts dogs to eat their own poop. Consider adding raw foods and supplements to the daily diet.

Enzymes are present in raw food that can help dogs process their meals.

Exercise and Play Time

Many dogs get a very little exercise as they spend most of their time indoors. They need a good routine program of exercise and play in order to maintain their health and well-being.

Just like humans, a dog’s brain requires exercise and stimulation through play. Choose good, safe toys that will help with agility and strength. They need entertainment and exercise that comes with interaction with their owner. They are much less likely to eat poop when they are actively involved in playing.


Always keep a dog’s immediate environment clean and free of poop. Do not allow waste to build up. There are deterrents to keep a dog from eating poop when it is left for a period.

Dogs will not touch poop that has been doused with pepper sauce or lemon juice. Pet stores carry products to put on the waste that makes poop unappealing to dogs.

Helpful Dog Food Additives

Dogs do not want to eat poop that does not taste good.

There are some things that they like to eat, but that do not taste good in poop form. Dogs love the taste of spinach in their food, but will not eat poop that contains it. Some dogs like and will eat pineapple, but most cannot tolerate it the second time around in their poop.

Poop-eating Prevention Training

A dog’s natural instinct is to be curious and smell everything. Poop, whether theirs or another animal, is no exception.


All dog owners want to prevent this behavior for their well-being and that of their dog. There are some simple basic commands and instructions that can help alter or stop this poop-eating behavior completely.

In order to be successful in training a dog to stop eating poop, an owner must be consistent. Dogs can learn quickly when the same words are used repeatedly. It is important to speak plainly and firmly.

The tone an owner uses in training is more important than the actual words. Dogs sense the urgency in their owner’s voice and respond accordingly. When a dog comes upon a pile of poop while on a walk, the owner should change direction immediately and continue on the walk. The dog gets the message that eating the poop will stop the walk.

When not on a leash, use the command “leave it.” Be consistent with the command. Say the same thing every time and give a reward or treat for compliance. Dogs want to please their owner and soon learn to stop this bad behavior.

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