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Why Do Dogs Eat Poop, and How to Stop them?

8 min read

Dogs eat poop is a topic you might read about, or heard of before, but you didn’t imagine you will be in such a situation, right? Don’t worry. You are in the right place.

Well, dogs eat poop for several reasons; maybe they are bored, afraid of punishment, need attention, or sick. But, if this behavior is not corrected as soon as possible, it will be a recurring habit; and, this will be a problem.

To avoid any more complicated circumstance, you need to know exactly why your dog is eating poop, and then you can search for solutions. 

Therefore, you need to know that there are behavior reasons and medical reasons; however, both reasons require you to calm down and don’t react immediately to stop your dog, because that will never end well.

Why do dogs eat poop?

Medical Reasons:

1- Parasites

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Parasites is an organism that lives in the body and absorbs the nutrients that your dog need from his/her food.

2- Diabetes, Steroids, or Theroid 

Certain diseases can make serious changes in the dog’s behavior and can make him/her ravenous enough to eat its own poop.

3- Lack of Nutrients, and Calories in Diet

That’s why we always recommend a healthy diet for your dog; because your dog’s body needs certain things, and it will get it from anywhere.

4- Enzyme Deficiency

Digestive enzymes are the basis of your dog’s digestive process; if it is not doing its work, your dog’s body will not be able to absorb their foods. So, if they didn’t get it from the food when it is in their body, they will try to take it from the poop.

5- Malabsorption 

Malabsorption or any other syndrome that leads to poor nutrition absorption can easily lead dogs eat poop wither it is their own poop or even any other poop.

Behavioral Reasons:

6- Boredom

Boredom is a very popular cause for dogs eat poop, sometimes when you leave your dog for a long time alone, he/she finds relief from the boredom he/she feels by playing and eating his/her poop.

Therefore, you need to make sure that your dog did all the exercises he/she need, don’t leave your four-legged friend alone for a long time, make sure he ate his/her food, and also you need to make sure that your dog released him/herself after eating.

Also, there a lot of toys for dogs that helps them be busy, and release the extra energy they have so they can stay calmed and not bored tell you are back home.

7- Anxiety

If your dog is anxious about something; loud noise, fireworks, strangers, or even bikes –you can find here more about biking with dogs-, all of those reasons can stress your dog out and lead him/her to eat his/her poop.

8- Attention

Dogs love attention; they love how you talk to them, connect, and play with them. If you didn’t give your dog the attention he/she needs, your dog will definitely find a way to grab your attention; even by eating their poop. 

dogs eat poop
Do you want to play with me?

9- Hunger

If you are not giving your dog the right amount of food; that satisfies him/her, and help them feel fulfilled, they will find another thing to eat.

10- Isolation

Researchers found out that dogs that are kept in alone, without interacting with other dogs or humans; are most likely to eat poop than those dogs that live and interact with others.

dogs eat poop
Let me out!

11- Fear

Fear is also one of the most common reasons for dogs eat poop; in fact, that is one of the reasons why we recommend using positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement.

Negative Reinforcement is not easier, not faster learning method, and, of course, not the best training technique to prevent bad behavior.

A lot of dog owners thinks that your dog needs to fear you, to obey you; and that is a very wrong concept. Negative reinforcement will only lead to negative behaviors, for instance: aggression, more bad behaviors, and poop eating.

Imagine that accident happened, and your dog pooped on your floor, what you are going to do?

If you used the negative reinforcement; shouting, hitting, or taking his/her favorite toys. Your dog will not just feel bad about him/herself, he/she will also be afraid of doing anything wrong to avoid being punished.

Therefore, if the pooping accident happened again; he/she will try to hide it, even if that means he/she should eat the poop.

dogs eat poop
Sorry!

However, if you used to the positive reinforcement; treated him/her for the good behavior, and ignored the bad behavior. Your dog will do his/her best to avoid the bad behavior, so he/she can get his/her treat; which is exactly what you want to stop the bad behavior.

Another solution for preventing accidents from happening at home, you can learn more about the dog training pads from here.

How to Prevent dogs eat poop habit?

Make sure your dog gets the love he/she needs

Dogs need love, attention, and a lot of care; Make sure your dog gets all the training, playing time, and the exercising he/she needs, so, when your dog is left alone he/she doesn’t get bored and start acting weird.

The right diet

Needless to say, that your dog needs to get all the nutrition his/her body needs, to grow up healthy and happy. But, now it is very important to mentions that if your dog didn’t get enough food, with the right amount, of supplements that his/her body needs; he/she will find another source to get them from.

However, you need to be aware of what you are putting in your dog’s plate; so, make sure you know what your dog can, and cannot eat.

Here is a list of food you should not let your dog eat:

  • Alcohol
  • Cat food
  • Bones
  • Candy
  • CupCakes
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Human Vitamins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Xylitol
  • Raw Meat
  • Onions
  • Fish
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Milk

Always keep your dog’s home clean

Help your dog stop the bad behavior by not giving him/her the room to do it. After your dog finishes eating, take him/her outside to relives him/herself, and if an accident happened in their place, clean it up right away.

Avoid using negative reinforcement.

Negative reinforcement will only make the situation worse, so keep in mind that whatever your dog’s do, you are allowed to use the positive reinforcement only. 

No hitting, no shouting, no taking; only avoiding the bad behavior and treating for good behavior; this is only training method you are allowed to use on your dog.

Visit your dog’s veterinarian

If you noticed a ‘dogs eat poop’ behavior, the first thing you have to do is checking your dog, and asking your dog’s veterinarian if this behavior is because of any medical reasons; if you found that your dog is fine, and it is a behavioral reason, so start paying more attention to why he/she is doing it.

Last but not least, don’t give up on your dog easily; nothing can’t be resolved by patience and positive reinforcement, absolutely nothing!

Related Questions:

What should I do my dog started to eat his/her poop?

You need to know that most cases of dogs eat poop is behavioral cases, but, there are numerous medical problems that lead to such a behavior; therefore, you need to check with your dog’s vet first is there are any medical problems you need to take care of it first, before you start fixing the bad behavior.

Are there any other names for dogs eat poop?

Coprophagia; is the consumption of poop. However, it is not likely to be used between dog’s owners, most probably, doctors and vets are the ones who use it. Therefore, we like to simplify things and just say that we are talking about the behavior of dog eating poop.

Is my dog going to eat other animal’s poop, too?

Well, I know how this answer can make you uncomfortable, but yes; dogs can eat other animal’s poop. Some other animal’s poop, like cats, can be attractive for dogs to try eating it.

Is it harmful to dogs to eat poop?

According to the Illinois Poison Center, eating poop could cause some symptoms that are similar to poisonous symptoms; vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms indicate that your dog’s body is fighting something harmful.

Remember, Dog’s bad behavioral can be fixed easily with using the right tools and with the right training; therefore, you need to focus on how you should act to stop the bad behavior, not how you to stop the bad behavior fast.

Therefore, you need to ask experts, veterinarian, and read more about how you can help your dog to quit eating his/her poop, and if you couldn’t be satisfied with the results just ask for your dog’s veterinarian help, or you can always ask us, and we will be happy do the research for you.

Final thoughts: Did this post meet your expectations, and answered all your questions? Don’t hesitate to ask us anything.

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