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Stool Eating in Dogs: Coprophagia Causes and Solutions

Why is my dog eating poop? Coprophagia, the technical term for stool or poop eating, is a common problem for dog owners. Although it is disgusting, it is quite normal behavior for dogs. By understanding the underlying causes, you can address the issue and potentially stop this habit.

Why is my dog eating poop?
Why is my dog eating poop?

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Natural Instinct: Stool eating starts while a puppy is still in the litter. It is natural for a mother to eat her puppies’ stool to keep the area clean and protect her puppies from predators. This instinct persists even when predators are not present.

Digestive/Nutritional Issues: Dogs may eat stool due to digestive or nutritional problems. If their food is low in nutrients, their stool may come out similar to the way it went in, making it appealing. Switching to a higher-quality food can help ensure your dog receives all the nutrients they need.

Behavior: Puppies are naturally curious and may start stool eating out of curiosity. Additionally, dogs may eat stool to seek attention, even if it is negative. Stress or boredom can also lead to this behavior. If a dog is punished for accidents, they may eat their stool to hide the evidence.

Hunger/Disease: Hunger can drive dogs to eat their stool. They may not be getting enough to eat, or parasites and worms may be stealing nutrients. Diseases such as Cushing’s disease, malabsorption disorders, intestinal disorders, and diabetes can also cause excessive hunger. A veterinarian can rule out any health concerns.

How to Stop a Dog From Eating Poop

Stay Calm: If you catch your dog eating stool, do not become alarmed or punish them. Punishing a stressed dog will only add to their stress. Instead, distract the dog and reward them when they leave the stool.

Clean Up Immediately: Prevent stool eating by cleaning up after your dog immediately. This way, they won’t have the opportunity to eat it. Clean up after other pets, such as the cat’s litter box, as well.

Use a Leash: When taking your dog outside, keep them on a leash. Do not allow them to play with, eat, or inspect their stool. Distract them from the stool and reward them with a treat and praise when they respond appropriately. If this doesn’t work, consider using a muzzle or a hood while they are around feces.

Training and Consistency: Training your dog to leave the stool and rewarding them for good behavior is crucial. Consistency in this training will help break the habit.


Stool eating in dogs can be a frustrating and unpleasant behavior for pet owners to deal with. However, by understanding the causes and implementing proper training and preventive measures, you can reduce or eliminate this behavior. For more information and resources on canine health and behavior, visit Our expert advice and training tips can help you manage and improve your dog's behavior.


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