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While eating poop is a disgusting habit, it is quite common in dogs (cats rarely develop this habit).
In any case, it’s important to get your dog to change this behavior to protect him from any potential health issues and to help you keep your breakfast down when he does it.
Here are some theories behind why dogs eat poop, but keep in mind that there’s no substantial proof either way for any of these theories.
Some experts believe that dogs learn this behavior from a mother when she cleans up after her pups by eating their feces. Most experts agree that because there’s no substantial evidence for exactly why dogs eat poop, you may need to speak with your Vet or an animal behavior specialist to find the right solution.
Clean up after your dog—whether it’s in your own yard or while you are on a walk (this is part of being a responsible dog owner as well). Spray the dog with water or whatever method you’ve developed for punishment if you catch your dog in the act. Keep in mind that if your dog is doing it for attention, verbal scolding may be misunderstood as interaction or rewarding him for the behavior. An older puppy, weaned for a while and eating commercial puppy food or homemade meals, might eat poop to fulfill his nutritional needs. If your puppy starts eating poop on a regular basis, and the vet can't find a dietary or medical reason for it, prevention is worth a pound of cure -- or pounds of consumed dog feces. Puppies that learn this behavior usually outgrow it once they realize that it doesn’t taste good, but some dogs continue to do this as they get older.
We encourage you to read any of these popular articles below or search our extensive pet health library.
With over 600 hospitals and 1,800 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, we strive to give your pet the very best in medical care. Make sure your puppy is not getting an overload of grain in his meals -- meat should be the primary ingredient. If you are out of the house most of the day and he's left on his own, he's likely to get into stuff. Clean up poop immediately, whether taking your puppy on walks or letting him out in the yard.
After relieving himself, your dog suddenly turns around and eats his own poop, or maybe he finds the feces of another animal to snack on as heads back inside.
It’s called, “coprophagy,” and it is a specific type of “pica,” which refers to eating any non-food items. This may not be the reason your dog is eating animal waste, so it’s important to go over this behavior with your Vet and decide together how to deal with it.
She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City. General pica can be dangerous if your dog gets into something toxic, such as human medicine or poisons, but eating feces typically does not harm your pet, unless the fecal matter is tainted with a parasite.
That’s why it is important that you take the correct steps to change the behavior (see bulleted list below).


If the dog pooped in the house, he may eat it to try to hide the evidence; this is another reason that rubbing your dog’s nose in poop to “teach him a lesson” is never a good approach.
The consequences of eating contaminated feces will also depend on the immune system and general health of our dog.
Young puppies, for example, have developing immune systems, and may be more susceptible to bad stool; especially if they have not been fully vaccinated. When left unsupervised, puppies may simply begin to investigate, play with, and even eat stools as a play, investigative or scavenging behavior. Since coprophagia may attract a great deal of owner attention, the behavior may be further reinforced. If we keep things clean, there will be less chance for him to engage in opportunistic poop eating.During retraining, it is also important to supervise our dog closely, so that he does not practice any bad behavior on his own. In adult dogs the innate behavior of grooming and cleaning newborn puppies and eating their excrement, along with the well documented fact that dogs tend to be attracted to infections or discharges of their pack-mates, which they will sniff and lick, may explain some of the motivation for coprophagia.
Help our dog reduce stress.Identify situations that cause extreme stress in our dog, and try to reduce the number of stressful encounters.
Early intervention can help reduce the possibility that the behavior will become a long-term habit.
In the meantime, practice managed desensitization exercises, to help reduce his stress response.To desensitize my dog-I make sure that I am in control of the training environment. The owner that uses the outmoded, inhumane and useless training technique of "sticking the dog's nose" in its stool when it has soiled the home, may be further encouraging coprophagia. I move a few steps back, help my dog to calm down, and then do some simple focus exercises so that I can end on a positive note.While conducting desensitization exercises, it is important to keep sessions short, fun, and rewarding for our dog. If necessary, we can also cover the treat with our hand.As soon as our dog leaves the treat alone, mark and treat him from our other hand. At the first indication of any stool sniffing or investigation the dog should be interrupted with a firm command, remote punishment device or a quick pull on the leash (this is particularly effective for dogs wearing head halters). This may inadvertently teach him that he gets rewarded with whatever is on the ground, which is often not the case in real-world situations.Keep practicing this until we have a really solid Leave-it command. If the dog is taught to come to the owners and sit for a special food treat immediately following elimination, the new behavior may become a permanent habit. Now, we can use it when our dog gets tempted by animal leavings during walks.Note that independent minded dogs may choose to eat the feces anyway, if they decide that our reward is of lesser value. Remote punishment and disruption devices may also be useful in that they can interrupt the dog as it approaches the stool without any direct association with the owner. If this happens, I try upgrading my rewards, and make sure that my dog does not get within striking distance of the bad stuff. A remote spray collar may therefore be effective if the owner supervises the dog from a distance (or by watching through a window to the backyard) and immediately and consistently interrupts the dog every time it begins to mouth stools. In addition, I quickly march my dog home and end the walk, if he manages to sneak in some poop eating.
Take Our PollAdding meat tenderizer containing papain, in small quantities to our dog’s food, will sometimes prevent poop eating.


Specifically, digestive enzymes in the form of meat tenderizers or food additives may help increase protein digestion, resulting in a less palatable stool. When adding some of these items to dry dog food, it may be necessary to moisten the food first and allow the product to sit on the food for 10 - 15 minutes to increase effectiveness.
Unpleasant tastes are unlikely to be successful unless the product is suitably noxious as well as odorless (so that the pet cannot detect its presence in the stool). To use a taste aversive deterrent, while the dog is out of sight, open up the stool with a disposable plastic utensil, insert the taste deterrent into the center, then close the stool and replace it for the dog to find. However, stool deterrents only work when our dog is eating his own feces, or those from other dogs in the house. Most dogs however, either develop a tolerance to the taste, or learn to avoid those stools that are pretreated.
Experimentally, the only form of taste aversion that is consistently effective is something that becomes associated with nauseousness. My dogs explain why they get anxious when I leave them alone at unexpected times, and why the vengeance poop is not a pay-back at all, but rather a symptom of anxiety. The best techniques for food aggression focuses on helping our dogs re-associate people with something good and positive. In this way, my dog learns that if he eats poop, we walk home right away and his fun walk ends.I talk more about this in the article above. I will so he giving him rice and boil chicken to help with that but when I leave fore work and put him in his play pen area and when I come back he Poo everywhere, plays and eat his poo!
In addition, eating poop and having poop everywhere can also be a result of stress and anxiety, for example from being alone. How to stop the dogs – several times a day they go outside in our own fenced backyard to do their business. She is very active dog, we are spending a lot of time together and when we are in a separate room she starts to eat her poop. The more I understand the source of my dog’s behavior, the better I can help him cope with the underlying issues.
In this way, his poop schedule is also more regular and I can clean up after him right after he poops.During the potty training period, I also make sure to supervise my puppy all the time. Here is more on how I potty trained my dog.Supervision is necessary because in order to change behavior, I need to catch the behavior, no-mark, and show my dog what to do instead. I want to maximize success and also minimize failures because the more successes we have, the more opportunities I get to reward my dog for doing the right thing. On the other hand, the more my dog practices an undesirable behavior, the more it will become a habit.



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