A dog sniffing poop

Dogs are such amazing pets. They’re cute, fun to be with, and absolutely lovable. But even the most well-behaved dogs can have some pretty unsavory habits. Drinking out of the toilet, humping, and butt scooting top the list of potentially confusing behaviors, but poop eating (also known as coprophagia) takes the cake. If your dog eats poop, there could be specific reasons why they do it. The good news? There are ways to get past this habit.

Is It Normal?

Poop eating is generally regarded as a normal canine behavior. Frustrating as it can be, eradication attempts aren’t always 100% successful. What’s important is to understand why your dog eats poop, then you can approach possibly changing the behavior in various ways.

Why Dogs Eat Poop

It’s a fact. Dogs eat poop and they don’t seem to discriminate at all. They’ll eat their own, the feces of other dogs, and the waste of other species, as well. Interestingly enough, most dogs pass on poop that’s not fresh.

Chomp Chomp

Coprophagy is characterized by eating feces, and dogs learn the behavior early in life. However, this behavior is not connected to age, gender, ease of housebreaking, age of separation from mother, or spay/neuter status.

Researchers have evidence that the behavior is more common in dogs that live among other animals, as there is more to go around. Also:

  • Submissive dogs may eat the poop of the dominant individuals.
  • Mother dogs are very efficient when cleaning up after her puppies, a behavior that is instinctual and normal (waste would attract predators in the wild).
  • Ancestors of domestic dogs, wolves, would eat excrement to prevent parasitic larvae from hatching in the den.

In these respects, a dog that eats poop does so because of their environment and inherited behavioral traits.

More To It

It’s easy to dismiss coprophagia as a disgusting habit, but sometimes a dog eats poop because they’re missing something in their diet. Likewise, an animal that’s not absorbing enough nutrients from food, a pet with parasites, or that’s struggling with issues of the pancreas, they may resort to poop eating.

If you ever see poop eating accompanied by diarrhea, weight loss, or obvious signs of malnourishment like lethargy, it’s time to bring your pet in for an exam.

My Dog Eats Poop

There could be other reasons why a dog eats poop, such as:

  • Lacking digestive enzymes
  • Trace mineral deficiency
  • Actual hunger
  • Overfeeding
  • Boredom

It may be time to investigate your pet’s food and daily portions to see if they are contributing to this behavior.

Lastly, to help mitigate this behavior, be sure that your dog doesn’t have access to any poop. Clean up their own waste promptly make sure the litter box is cleaned out daily, and don’t allow them to sniff any piles left behind while outdoors.

Going to Be Okay

Team Parkside is always here to help you and your pet. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. Good luck!