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Why Do Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It

Well, if you are faced with this problem, then we have two news for you. As usual, one of them is good, and the second is bad. The good news is that eating feces as such generally does not harm the dog’s health. The bad news is that this behavior can have a variety of reasons, and now you have to identify them, as well as develop a strategy to deal with a bad habit. This article will help you.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

So, my dog eats poop…However, do not rush to panic – 90% of dog owners around the world have encountered this problem. And many of them, more than once. As we have said, any dog ​​behavior has a cause and eating poops as well.

Let’s not get too carried away with the details of this case, but simply say that there are three of the most common situations.

  • The dog eats its own poop
  • The dog eats the poop of other dogs
  • The dog eats the poop of other animals

Moreover, the causes of the first phenomenon are most likely related to behavioral factors, while the causes of the remaining two situations are most likely to have medical roots.

Medical Reasons

The number of possible medical causes is much less than behavioral. And therefore, it is much easier to identify the medical reason than to understand the inner world of the dog.

Nutrient deficiency

This is the simplest medical reason why a dog eats poop. Most likely, she needs additional vitamins and minerals of plant origin (which are contained in the excrement of cats).


A dog may suffer from helminths. It is logical that such behavior only increases the risk of infection with helminths, but there is an opinion that dogs can eat horse feces to get rid of worms. Just invaluable scientific discovery! 


Dogs can start behaving at least strangely due to stress. Stress itself can be associated with the appearance of a second pet or child in the family, relocation, loss of the owner. As a rule, in this case, the dog will have a reduced appetite and depressed mood.

Diseases in the initial and progressive stage

Eating feces can also indicate progressive diabetes mellitus or thyroid deficiency. As in the previous case, you will also notice other manifestations of the disease, however, only the veterinarian can make an accurate diagnosis.

Behavior Reasons

The medical reasons that a dog eats poop are the most logical, but there are other, less obvious reasons. They have behavioral prerequisites and can be associated with a variety of factors. Let’s find out more about this.

Instincts developed by evolution

For example, the reason for this behavior may be that the dog simply displays the instincts that were given to it by nature and evolution. Dogs are domesticated wolves, which means that the blood of predators still flows in their veins. In those days when dogs lived in the wild and were hunters, eating their feces or the feces of their offspring was necessary for survival – in order to hide their tracks from other more dangerous predators.

At the moment, this reason is very rare, but it can occur in dogs of the most “wild” breeds, which still have a connection with their wolf nature. For example, these are such breeds as husky or malamute.

Following hierarchy

If several dogs live on the same territory, eating stool of other dogs can be a sign of respect and submission. Yes, dogs understand very well who the leader of the pack is. As a rule, this is the human – the owner of the dog, but if you are the owner of several dogs at once, then each of them, in any case, has more or less authority in the eyes of other animals.

Fear of getting punished

This reason may be relevant if the dog has been punished more than once for doing its job in the wrong place. This reason is especially relevant for puppies who are just learning to use the toilet outdoors and still do not understand the clear difference between “allowed” and “forbidden”. In this case, the dog’s decision to eat poop is the most logical and has a clear goal – to hide the traces of its mistake in order to avoid punishment and discontent from the owner.

Copying your behavior

This is a really funny reason, which also has a place to be. Some zoopsychologists believe that the answer to the question of why do dogs eat their own poop is that the dog is firmly convinced that it is always necessary to clean up after itself. And in this situation, the dog can simply copy the behavior of its owner, who seeks absolute cleanliness after each walk of the dog.

Passion for experimentation

If you ask why does my puppy eat poop, then perhaps the reason is banal curiosity. Puppies explore this world using their sense of smell, hearing, and taste. A puppy can successfully eat a wire from the iron for the same reason – it is just interested in the taste, process, and thirdly, the consequence of this action.

However, this does not mean that you can only take into account the behavioral factor in this case. Even if the reason is only banal curiosity, then it will still not be superfluous to examine your puppy in the clinic.

Lack of attention

Sometimes a dog, like a child, is ready to do anything to attract attention. And bad deeds are known to provoke and attract attention much better than good ones. This behavior may just be a trigger for your attention to the dog.

Just hunger

Perhaps your dog is simply hungry. And in this case, the animal will try to eat anything that could be potentially edible. Observe your dog’s eating habits. If the dog asks for food, constantly looks into its empty bowl, is anxious, strives to steal something from the table, has a lack of weight or a problem with the coat, maybe it does not have enough food.

Upbringing flaws

And the simplest reason is that the dog simply does not know the basic rules of etiquette, as well as the words “No”. In this case, all you have to do is just reconsider your parenting strategy.

How to Keep a Dog from Eating Poop

If the dog is simply interested in the feces of other animals, then this is normal behavior. However, if this interest goes beyond reasonable boundaries, then such behavior definitely requires correction. Here is what you can do.

Determine the reason

So, the first thing you need to do is try to track the behavior of the animal and suggest at least a few hypothetical reasons.

Make an additional clinical examination

The second thing you need to do is a clinical analysis of blood and feces for the presence of helminths. A blood test will help to suggest that the dog has diseases that may not have obvious symptoms at this stage.

Review diet

Next, you need to once again pay attention to what your dog eats. Poor feed or monotonous diets in insufficient quantities may be the cause of the desire to eat feces.

Track your dog’s behavior and distract it from unwanted attempts

If these situations most often occur on a walk, then your task is simply to prevent unwanted behavior. Distract the dog with toys and active games so that it does not have time for additional explorations of the world.

Do not punish, but prevent

Dogs are like children – usually, it’s easier to prevent unwanted behavior than to deal with the consequences later. Therefore, you should not punish the dog, as this can have the opposite effect, but prevent any attempts and, of course, take the reason into account.

Use taste correctors

Some owners use special nutritional supplements that make dog feces unattractive as a result. This method works only when the dog shows an unhealthy interest in its own excrement, and is quite controversial, since it works with the consequence but not with the cause.

Pay more attention

If the reason is a lack of attention, then the right strategy is obvious. Offer the dog more collaborative and useful activities so that it does not have the time and opportunity to do stupid things.

Get professional dog training help

And of course, expert advice will never be superfluous.


Even such disgusting behavior of a dog is not a reason to panic, and even more so, not a reason to scold and punish your pet. In this article, we explained the most possible causes and also suggested what you can do right now.