It is actually fairly common that a dog will eat their poop or poop of other animals.
But, if you have ever seen your dog do this, you were probably a bit grossed out (which is understandable). Why do dogs eat their poop?
Dogs have quite a few gross habits- like licking their butt or drinking from the toilet- but nothing is as gross as eating poop.
Eating poop is actually called coprophagia and there are a few reasons why dogs may view poop as something delicious to eat.
Here are some reasons why dogs may turn to eating their poop.
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Anxiety can cause a dog to eat poop. This is especially common in a dog who is confined- they may poop in their area and then eat it.
A dog suffering from generalized anxiety or separation anxiety may also eat their poop as a coping mechanism.
Puppies may eat their poop because it feels like a game to them. Then as they get older, they may continue this practice, because they want to play with you.
Think about it: If you see your dog starting to eat poop, you will probably start yelling and running after them.
This makes your dog think they are playing a game and they may continue to do this behavior to get you to play with them.
Not Feeling Good
If your dog starts eating poop suddenly out of nowhere, the first thing you should do is take them to be seen by their veterinarian.
Your vet will run tests to make sure that there are no underlying conditions (such as intestinal parasites, lacking nutrition, or stomach diseases) that are causing them to eat poop.
A female dog who has recently had puppies will often eat the poop of their young in order to make sure that they keep their den clean and their offspring healthy.
Scared Of Punishment
A dog may learn to eat their poop if they were punished a lot for having accidents in the house when they were puppies.
A dog may eat their poop (and get rid of the evidence) if they are afraid of getting in trouble.
It tastes good for dogs
As gross as it sounds, dogs will sometimes eat the poop of other animals because it simply tastes good to them! Dogs can get nutrients that they need from eating another animals poop, but feces from animals can often contain harmful bacteria, so it is best to discourage this behavior.
How can I stop my dog from eating poop?
Not only is coprophagia beyond disgusting, but it is also a risky behavior.
A dog who eats poop is coming into contact with a lot of bacteria and parasites, which can make your dog sick, and even pass diseases to you if you come in contact with their mouth.
If your dog is eating poop, there are a few things you can do to stop this behavior.
A dog who eats poop may be seeking missing nutrients from their poop snack, so a dog multivitamin may help. An enzyme supplement may also do the trick.
Make sure to keep your dog’s living area clean (such as their crate and the yard) so that they cannot find poop to eat. If you have a cat that uses a litterbox, keep your cat’s litterbox out of reach of your dog.
When you take your dog for a walk, supervise them the entire time and pick up after them immediately.
Train your dog to understand the command “leave it.” Once your dog knows this command, you can use it whenever you see them starting to go for poop.
If none of these solutions work, contact your veterinarian or a local dog behavioral specialist for tips specific to your dog and the reason behind why your specific dog is using poop as a treat.