Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 12.10.2020

If you’re tuning in for today’s article, chances are you know the feeling of having your pup lick your face…...only to watch them eat poop on your daily walk through the neighborhood 5 minutes later. Ha ha ha. Not the most lickable moment now, huh? You always make sure your puppers is fed and happy, so why the heck do they eat poop?!

Why Do Canines Eat Poop?

Although it sounds gross and very unpleasant, some dogs eat poop and we’re here to talk about it. Dogs may eat feces for more than one reason. While it is possible that your dog is eating poop because they’re bored, they could also be eating poop due to something underlying, that could be much more severe. 



What is Coprophagia?

Coprophagia or coprophagy is the medical term for the act of dogs eating feces. No matter if you use the medical terms or basic terms, isn’t not the most pleasant. 

Why Dogs Eat Feces: 6 Physical Reasons

There are numerous possibilities for why your doggo may be eating their poop. Medical issues are infamous for turning into other issues, so it’s important that paw parents don’t just write off their pup eating poop as “no big deal” - this can be extremely far from the truth. 

1. Underfed

Paw parents should make sure that they’re feeding their pooch enough food at meal times. If you’re uncertain if your dog is getting enough food to eat, be sure to ask your local veterinarian. A hungry doggo will eventually look for food, even if that food is their own poop. 

2. Parasites

You four-legged friend may be eating their feces due to parasites. Intestinal parasites absorb the nutrients your dog needs, thus, creating a nutritional deficiency for your puppers. Aka, they’re hungry!

3. Enzyme Deficient

When wild animals hunt their prey, they eat the entire animal they catch, including guts and all. Well, dogs need the digestive enzymes found in the stomach too, to properly and efficiently absorb the nutrients that their food has to offer. 

Most dogs are fed a highly processed diet that does not have enough necessary enzymes present for proper absorption. Thus, dogs will essentially poop out the nutrients that should have been fully digested in the first place. If your pup has an enzyme deficiency, they will seek out their fresh poop because it is full of nutrients that their furry body needs. 



4. Diseases Leading to an Increased Appetite

Diseases, such as diabetes and thyroid conditions, may cause your four-legged furry friend to have a massive increase in appetite, leading them to even eating their poop. In addition, steroids may cause your dog to be much much hungrier than usual, leading them to eating stool.

5. Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

Say that 5 times fast! EPI is a condition where a canine’s body severely lacks digestive enzymes in the pancreas. These digestive enzymes are crucial for a dog’s overall health. Without these said enzymes, a dog can lose a substantial amount of weight and may start to eat stool, as their body craves and needs the nutrients. 

6. Additional Deficiencies

Poor digestion stemming from a hydrochloric acid deficiency may lead to a dog desperate for nutrients. 



Why Dogs Eat Feces: 8 Behavioral Reasons

If everything is great health-wise, your pup may be eating their own stool for a behavioral reason. Fortunately enough, most stool eating is due to behavioral problems that can be resolved fairly quickly and easily. 

1. Bored

Unfortunately, dogs aren’t grossed out by the smell of poop. If your dog is left home alone for hours and hours, it’s totally possible that they will entertain themselves with a mess they’ve made. 

2. Needing Attention

Dogs crave their owner’s love, affection, and attention, all the time. If they don’t feel like they’re getting enough attention as they’d ideally like, you may find that they’ll act out in unconventional ways, including eating their own number 2’s.

3. Stressed Out

Experts have suggested that if your dog is stressed, they may eat their own poop as a stress reliever For instance, if they’re trapped in confined spaces or are in a crate all day, he/she may be stressed out from this. 



4. Tidiness

One of the main reasons that dogs eat their poop is when a female dog is cleaning up after her puppies in efforts to keep the surrounding area clean. While mom doggos clean up after their puppies to ensure their cleanliness, they may also desire for things to be “tidy”, so they eat their poop. 

5. They’re a Puppy

Puppies are super curious little cuties! It’s pretty common for your new pup to sample their own poop, out of curiosity of course. Luckily, most puppers don’t continue this behavior as they get older. But, it is important that paw parents recognize the poop-eating act and ensure that it doesn’t turn into a habit. 

6. Avoiding Punishment

Most dogs know that they shouldn’t poop in the house. If they do? They know that a punishment is deemed fair. Experts believe that some dogs may eat their feces to hide the evidence in order to avoid the punishment from their paw parent. 

7. Copying Other Dogs Behavior

Coprophagia in dogs may happen if your dog sees another dog eat their own poop. Kinda like a “monkey see, monkey do” thing.This may, more or less, mean that the older dog of the house has a liking for poop. If one pup eating poop isn’t gross enough, you definitely don’t want two pups doing it. 



8. Puppy Mills

Studies have suggested that dogs may develop behavioral issues, such as eating feces, from their living environment they were raised in. For instance, dogs that may spent time not knowing when their next meal will come, such as a dog in puppy shelters or mills, may eat their feces out of fear or not getting fed in the future. 


Why Does My Dog Eat Other Dog’s Poop?

Sadly, your pup eating their poop isn’t the only thing you may need to worry about here. Dogs are scavengers by nature, some dogs are just well-known for eating all kinds of poop - other dogs’ poops, their poop, cats’ poops, etc. You get the poop picture. Paw parents should be on the lookout for this kind of behavior from their dog. Don’t brush it off, pick it up! 

How Do I Stop Fido From Eating Feces?

There are ways to avoid your pup from eating stool, including theirs and others. 

Physical and mental stimulation is great! Dogs don’t do well with being bored all the time. Paw parents should make sure they are spending an adequate amount of time with their puppers, engaging in fun activities. Trust us when we say it will pay off for both of you!

Keep things clean! Always pick up your dog’s poop…..after they poop. By removing the potential urge to eat the feces, your dog won’t “monkey do”. If you have a cat in the house, make sure that their litter box is routinely cleaned, avoid that temptation doggo!



Whenever and whatever is possible, we highly recommend a raw food diet, specific to your dog. Raw food has digestive enzymes that your pup needs (and will love)! Ensuring that your puppers gets all the nutrients they may need will help prevent them from searching for the essential nutrients elsewhere (aka poop). 

As we previously mentioned above, if you are unsure of whether or not your dog is eating enough, talk with your vet. If you doggo is hungrier than normal, they will eat any chance they can, even if it’s poop. 

Keep an eye out for parasites in your dog’s poop too. Some parasites and eggs aren’t necessarily super apparent, but other parasites can be recognized quickly in your dog’s poop. A parasite infection will need vet attention right away. This is not something you want to just scoop under the rug. 

Why Dogs Eat Poop: Final Thoughts

We understand that realizing your four-legged, furry pal is eating their poop isn’t something to brag about. Especially thinking about all the face licks you receive on the daily. 

However, when all is said and done, poop eaters should not be ignored. If your dog is eating their own stool or another animals stool, you, as a paw parent, need to get to the bottom of the issue. Most of the time, luckily, dogs eating poop is out of pure boredom, in which, you have total control over as a paw parent.



Dog food has changed significantly over the last ten years, but this doesn’t mean that dog’s digestive systems have changed drastically too. Conscious diet adjustments and changes can make a huge difference in your pupper’s life. Not to mention, maybe a diet change will help fido feel more full and less hungry for poops. 

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