Coprophagia in dogs: 5 reasons why your dog eats poop


Coprophagia refers to the consumption of stool. Yes! You’re reading it right. It’s really disgusting to see your dog eating his poop, and you’re likely to feel as if you want to puke.

Like humans, a dog has his own motives for his individual behavior. He/she may eat poop for several reasons, based on some factors such as age, training, living condition and diet. There’re 5 main classifications, or reasons for coprophagia.

My dog was born to eat poop

Before dogs became domestic animals, they were wild and living off of whatever nature provided. Dogs fed on other animals’ waste hundreds of years ago. Coprophagia was remnant of their history.

In some situations, like newborn litter of dogs, coprophagia is instinctual and totally normal. A mother dog usually cleans after their little puppies by eating their poop so that other predators won’t be attracted to the scent of poop.

For big households with numerous dogs, usually dogs with submissive roles eat their dominants’ stool.

Learning experience

For young dogs, coprophagia, or eating feces may simply be a learning experience. Puppies learn things by putting them in their mouths, really everything that comes in front of them. Most puppies develop a kind of distaste of poop in a very short time. So, if you have a puppy, don’t worry he/she will change their behavior shortly. One more thing, you should be careful to clean the waste whenever you find it, otherwise your dog will develop a bad habit.

Take him to the vet

If you have a poop eating dog, you should be careful it’s not because of a health problem. When your dog has parasites, a problem with his pancreas, or when he isn’t absorbing enough nutrients, he/she usually eats poop. Dogs diagnosed with coprophagia must be examined by the veterinarian to determine whether or not your dog is having some health issues.

Much as a mother does with its puppies, healthy dogs in a multiple dog’s household tend to eat the poop of the sick dog in an attempt to hide his/her weakness.

Preferring poop to food

To break carbohydrates, proteins and fats, your dog’s digestive system needs some specific mixture of enzymes. Some experts suggest that dogs eat poop to replenish enzymes to digest food. Too, they suggest that the lack of vitamin B can also coprophagia. Another thing is that overfed dogs can’t absorb all the nutrients in their food, and as a result they may resolve to eat their poop in an attempt to recycle it.

The owner’s behavior

Most of times, your dog’s behavior is directly linked to yours. Most dogs eat poop to draw your attention even if it is a negative attention that would result in you yelling at him/her.

Too, loneliness plays a big role in reinforcing this bad habit. Dogs that are lonely usually spend their past time by playing with their poop and consequently eating it. Moreover, dogs that live in dirty houses tend to do the cleaning themselves without waiting for their owner to do it, thus they eat their poop.


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