Why do dogs eat poop on walks? The scientific term for eating feces 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.

The content takes around 4 minutes to read, but if you are in a hurry, we have also included a table of contents and infographic below so you can see at a glance what the content is.

 Make sure to check out today’s deals to SAVE money on dog products by clicking on the graphic below. Don’t miss out.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

check out todays deals for dog products

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop Infographic:

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop Infographic:

Click Here For Full-Size Image Plus Embed Code For Your Website


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 why dogs eat poo.

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 a scared or anxious dog is confined, in a crate, it may eat its own poop.

Mothering Their Pups:

Female dogs usually clean their dens by having the young ones lick them. They teach this behavior to their own pups who then learn the “trick.” Male dogs, who are not as useful during pup-rearing, often do not participate in cleaning the nest.

Feeling Unwell:

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

Coprophagia is seen in a variety of animals and is categorized as a behavioral problem. It is not to be confused with pica, which is the overconsumption of non-food items.

Feeling Hungry:

It is possible that your dog wants to eat more than once per day. If you are not giving your dog enough food, it may be eating pet waste to get the nutrients it needs. This is an indication that you should have a chat with your veterinarian about how much and what kind of food they are eating.

Lack of Nutrients:

Dogs are scavengers by nature and will eat anything they can find. If they’re not getting the nutrients they need from your home, they’ll look to other sources. This can be a problem when dogs start eating their own stool, so it’s important to feed them a balanced diet with appropriate amounts of protein and other nutrients.

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


Info Box

Your vet will need to take a blood sample for diagnosis of digestive enzyme deficiency (called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency). – (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 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 commercially processed diet instead of a whole food diet has been shown to have a negative effect 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 about why do 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.

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.