why do dogs eat their own poop

Why do dogs eat their own poop?

Taste for waste

Why do dogs eat their own poop – Poop eating, also better known in scientific terms as coprophagia is a common practice among mammals. Such obsession for waste can be witnessed in many classes of animals such as rodents, rabbits and wolves. The most plausible reason behind this weird habit could be an attempt by specific animals to extract nutrients that might be present in the poop. Another interesting fact suggests that dogs are more attracted by fresh poop than the older ones.

Reasons for indulging in poop eating act

Dogs may indulge in the nasty habit of poop eating due to one or more of the following reasons: –

  1. Abnormal increase in appetite: – Some specific diseases such as thyroid and diabetes are known to artificially boost the appetite. A dog is driven by his hunger to devour even the feces.
  2. Digestion issue: – If the dog suffers from hydrochloric acid deficiency, the digestive system may not be able to digest the food completely by decomposing protein. Consequently, the dog tries to recover the missing nutrients badly needed by his body from his poop.
  3. Insufficient Food: – If pet parents do not monitor the health and weight of their dog at regular intervals, they fail to notice that he is suffering from lack of food. The dog with nutritional deficiency may revert to his own stool to make up for his missing diet requirements.
  4. Presence of parasites in intestines: – If worms are present in the intestine of dog, a major chunk of food consumed by the dog goes to the share of such worms leaving the dog under fed. Again, the easiest and readily accessible source that can satisfy his hunger would be the feces around that are easily accessible.
  5. Random curiosity driven adventure: – Dogs especially during their young age are quite curious. They spend most of their time exploring the surroundings and eating a wide variety of things including their poop. This however is a transient phase that soon ends on gaining maturity.
  6. Special sense organs: – Most of the creatures avoid eating defecated stuff as it gives out a foul smell that acts as a deterrent. Dogs, on the contrary have a large range of smell due to which they are able to trace beneficial nutrients present in the poop and consume them. Hence, the poop that seems as a contaminant to others may still be a treasure house of delicacies for dogs.
  7. Stress bursting act: – Some dogs might find poop eating a means of relieving stress.
  8. Fear of punishment: – If a household follows strict hygiene and cleanliness norms a dog might have a guilty feeling after defecating. The poop eating act might be seen in such cases as an attempt to conceal the evidence driven by fear of punishment.
  9. Imitation: -Among dogs, poop eating habit is quite contagious. A dog may start consuming poop just because he watched some other dog doing the same.
  10. Other reasons: -There could be many more reasons for poop eating among dogs such as compulsive disorder, genetic, obsession for cleanliness, acting as a scavenger etc.

Measures to discourage dogs from eating poop

A dog owner has very little that he can do to check this abominable habit in his dog. Here is what can be done: –

  1. Balanced Nutrient Diet: – The owner must carefully plan the diet of his dog in consultation with a nutritional expert, wherever necessary. The diet must include digestive enzymes for the complete decomposition of food and proper absorption of essential nutrients.
  2. Engagement: – A dog must be given a proper healthy routine. If most of his time is spent in playing, performing duty, walking and other pastimes, there wouldn’t be any spare time for such futile ventures such as poop eating.
  3. Food supplements: – Whenever a dog owner notices any abnormal eating habit in dogs, he must consult a vet dietician to include some food supplements that the dog might be feeing scarce in his current diet.
  4. Parasite check: – The dog must be routinely examined for the presence of worms in his intestine. Medicines can help getting rid of parasites.
  5. Confidence Building: – The owner must not make littering the interior of their house with droppings a big issue. This will prevent dogs from eating their poop under fear.
  6. Barrier: – Dogs can be kept away from places where they might find excretory stuff lest they should be tempted to try it governed by their instinct. Even their poop must be picked immediately, packed in a poop bag and disposed at the earliest.


Every individual has a menu designed dedicatedly for their very species by the nature. Any deviation from it may not prove conducive to his body constitution and eventually to his wellbeing. Feces are essentially the excretory products that are no more required by the body. Consuming such refuse always runs the risk of catching infections and getting sick. If a dog eats his own poop, he may get sick but if he consumes the stool of other dogs or any other animal, the chances are even higher to contract a disease. The sickness may lead to following health hazards for the dog: –

  1. Gastric Problems.
  2. Digestion related complications.
  3. Loss in appetite or aversion for eating food.
  4. Lethargy and slump down.
  5. Contracting infectious diseases.
  6. Vomiting and nausea etc.

Pet parents may not be able to completely stop the poop eating habit of their dogs, but a proper understanding of the issue and its various aspects and consequences would help them in dealing with it more efficiently and effectively.

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