Why Do Dogs Eat Poop ( Coprophagia )

Why do dogs eat poop. The scientific term for eating faeces is called Coprophagia and is a behavior that many dogs show. The reasons behind it are not yet fully understood. However, vets have concluded that it might be related to an animal’s instinctive need for nutrients, or it could be a behavioral issue.

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We are often told how important it is to have a balanced diet for pets. However, some pets are more finicky about what they eat than others and dogs are among the most notorious of these. Some dogs will happily gobble up anything they can get their paws on, while others will refuse to eat anything at all unless it’s cooked in a very specific way.

Here are the most common reasons for why dogs eat poo, which is known by the medical term called Coprophagia.

To Get Attention:

Your dog might be trying to get attention from you by eating what is likely still their excrement. This usually results in a reaction from the owner and your dog might then continue with the behavior.

It’s very difficult to ignore a dog that’s eating poop.

They Are Anxious:

Another reason that dogs can eat poop is when they are anxious. If an scared or anxious dog is confined, in a crate, they may eat their own poop.

Mothering Their Pups:

Female dogs usually clean their dens by having the young ones lick them. They teach this behaviour to their own pups who then learn the “trick”.

Feeling Unwell:

If your dog is eating poop, they may not be feeling well.

If your pet is suddenly eating poop, it might mean they don’t feel well. We advise to take them to the vet for a check up because Coprophagia may be related to diseases of other parts of the body (liver, brain).

Feeling Hungry:

It is possible that your dog wants to eat more than one time per day. If you are not giving your dog food, they may be eating pet waste to get the nutrients they need. This could be an indication that they want to eat more frequently.

Lack of Nutrients:

When you don’t give your dog the right nutrients, they’ll look for them elsewhere. And with most dogs, that will mean eating their own poop!

Scientific Study:

In a study in 2012 presented at the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior annual conference, it was found that 24% of the dogs in the study (one in four) were seen eating poo (feces) at least once, whereas around one in six, (16%) of dogs were deemed to be “serious” stool-eaters.

Medical Reasons:

These medical reasons can range from enzyme deficiency, parasites or diabetes or thyroid problems. Enzyme deficiency is where dogs can’t produce an enzyme that breaks down the sugar in their poop to avoid the formation of gas.


Info Box

Your veterinarian will need to take blood samples to make a diagnosis of digestive enzyme deficiency (called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, or EPI). – (Source PetMD.com)

How To Stop Your Dog Poop Eating:

To avoid boredom, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Playing games, providing toys, performing agility or other sports work great. This is especially true with Working Dogs – they require the mental stimulation to stay focused and excited about their jobs.

If there are other animals living with your pooping dog, make sure their feces are disposed of as soon as they happen. You should also keep your cat’s litter box clean. This will reduce the chances of them eating feces.

Feeding a commercial processed diet instead of a whole food diet has been shown to have negative effects on our pets. Ensure your dog is fed a balanced raw meat based diet so that he can get the nutrients his body needs.



Sometimes, figuring out why your pet is eating poop can be a little tricky. But with some time and patience, you’ll start to notice patterns in their behavior. Remember that this is perfectly normal behavior for pets! We hope that the information above has answered your questions on why dogs eat poop?


Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only. It may not be construed as medical advice. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information. Instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals or veterinarians on any matter relating to their pet’s health and well-being. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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