The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Does Your Dog Eat Poop?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Does Your Dog Eat Poop?


Yes, it’s disgusting. Yes, it’s potentially unhealthy. And, yes, it’s fairly common in the animal world.

Only one of my dogs did this, and at the most inappropriate time...when we were eating or had company!

My little Sugar, who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in 2008, would eat her poop.

One day I noticed Sugar eating her poop. My first reaction was to run over and make her stop.

The next time that I noticed it was when my husband let them in, and she came running pass me with it hanging out of her mouth.

Finally, I found some in her bed and decided that she need to go to the vet.

Their visit to the vet was in a couple of days, so I waited and asked him when I got there.

He told me, that a dog will eat their own poop for a number of reasons:

  • They think it smells and tastes good. Dogs are notoriously poor arbiters of taste.
  • They are hungry.
  • They may be missing key nutrients in their diet or suffer malabsorption.
  • They like to keep their territory or bedding clean.
  • They have fun playing with it. This is especially true for dogs that are mouthy.
  • They are bored.
  • They know that removing the evidence means no punishment for inappropriate elimination.
  • They know that fewer predators will give him grief if there is no physical evidence of his having been around.

In Sugar's case, she was lacking nutrients. She was put on medication and finally stopped.

There may be other reasons for routine coprophagy, as the condition is known. It can be hard to figure out why a dog chooses to eat poop, but if the problem persists, ask your veterinarian about a remedy for this habit. What veterinarians do know is that it is normal behavior for a wide variety of species, even if humans are revolted by the very idea.

The American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says, The act of dogs consuming their own or other animals’ feces is known as coprophagia . Although it’s not known exactly why it occurs, coprophagia is a normal behavior in many species, including dogs. Ingesting one’s own or other dogs’ feces is particularly prevalent in puppies.


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