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Why Does My Dog Eat Dog Poop?

Does your dog eat his own poop? Frustrating, isn’t it? If you’re wondering “Why does my dog eat poop?” you’re not alone!  Many people ask this same question.

Dogs eat their own poop for a variety of reasons.  However, sometimes there’s simply no other reason other than your dog does it because he wants to!  Keep reading to learn why your dog might be eating his own poop.

  • Modeled Behavior. A puppy may learn this behavior from his mom while still under her care.  Before a dog is weaned and eating whole foods, a dog may see his momma eating puppy poop. She does this to keep the area clean for her puppies.
  • Digestion issues. Puppies or dogs that eat a low-quality diet may eat their own poop.  A nutrient-rich diet will usually discourage this behavior because the ingredients are digestible.  A diet low in nutrients doesn’t digest as easily, so it comes out essentially the way the dog took it in.  If the quality of food is not the issue, it could mean that your dog has a digestion issue and should be seen by his veterinarian for a check-up.
  • Parasites. Parasites can steal needed nutrients from your dog’s body.  This results in a hungry puppy looking to supplement the lost nutrients.  Keeping your puppy or grown dog on parasite prevention can prevent poop eating and other more serious ramifications from occurring.
  • Hunger. A hungry dog will eat whatever he can to fill the gaping hole of hunger.  In addition to feeding your dog a nutrient-rich diet, you should also feed him according to his breed, weight, and stage in life.  A puppy needs to eat three times a day, but a grown dog will usually need to eat two meals per day.
  • Boredom. Many problem behaviors we see in dogs are caused by boredom, so is poop eating.  Puppies and grown dogs may eat or play with their poop to keep them entertained.  If you have ruled out all the other options, think about how long your dog is home alone, how much exercise he receives each day and how much one-on-one interaction you are having with him.
  • Disease. Sometimes dogs may eat their poop due to serious health issues.  If your dog is presenting symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss along with eating his poop, he should be taken to his vet for an immediate medical examination as some underlying issue could be at play.

If your dog is eating his own poop, try to determine the reason behind it.  Usually, through a process of elimination, no pun intended, you can figure out what the root cause of the behavior is.  Try to maintain positive reinforcement, always.  As frustrating as it is to see your dog eat his own poop, try to control his environment, so he does not do so.  Keep him on a leash, clean up the area he goes to the potty in and keeps him out of areas where he may be exposed to another dog’s poop.  Also, as mentioned above eliminate opportunities for bored behaviors of all kinds.  Exercise and play with your dog so that when he’s alone, he’ll sleep.  Most dogs will not engage in eating their own poop forever, be patient and vigilant. Does your dog eat his own poop?  What have you done about it?

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