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As gross as stool eating is to humans, it’s actually a common habit of many dogs. Poop-eating, also called coprophagia in dogs, is not exactly a hobby that you would consider ideal for your furry family member. Poop eating is a behavior that alerts us pet parents that something is wrong with our dog. Except in rare cases, adult dogs do not generally eat poop for behavioral reasons.

Mother dogs may do it to clean up. After having a litter, mothers will often eat the poop of their puppies to keep the den clean. This is normal behavior, and not every mother stops when her puppies are weaned.

Greedy eaters are more likely to eat poop. Dogs who are food driven and steal food are more likely to have this behavior. Dogs evolved by scavenging, so it may be an instinct to make sure they get enough to eat

Poop eating may be something as simple as boredom … or it may be related to a health issue like diabetes.

If your dog is eating poop from other animals—say another dog, household cat, or a rabbit or other herbivore—chances are your pup is not getting the nutrients his body needs from the food he’s eating. They are looking for the undigested food and those vital nutrients from another’s stool.

Reasons why your dog eat poop

it’s very common for dogs to investigate and play with strong smelling objects in their environment and feces, both theirs and others, fits the bill. This behavior should be curbed as soon as possible and the opportunity to engage in it should be reduced. It’s especially important to be vigilant in cleaning up after all your pets.

Here are other reasons that may cause your dog to eat poop.

  1. Anxiety

Possible sources of anxiety that can cause coprophagia include:

  • General anxiety
  • Worrying about being confined
  • You being away from them (separation anxiety
  • Lack of enrichment activities when confined

2. Underfeeding

3. Attention seeking

4. Instinct; Mother dogs instinctively lick their pups clean, which includes ingesting the puppies’ feces.

5. Stress and Fear

6. Diseases and illness

  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Diabetes
  • steroids
  • Parasites

Tips to Train Your Dog to Stop Eating Poop

First, you should check that there are no underlying medical problems causing the behavior. If your veterinarian tells you it’s a behavioral issue, there are some ways you can train your dog to stop eating poop

Limit access to poop.

Dogs that want to eat poop prefer fresh feces, so pick up waste immediately from your yard. If you have cats, this also means cleaning out the litter box right after your cat goes and making sure to take put the waste somewhere your dog can’t access.

Add Supplements When Needed

For a trace mineral deficiency, you can add some kelp. And for a hydrochloric acid deficiency, try some apple cider vinegar (1 tsp per 25 pounds in food), which may help mimic the missing acid and help the body compensate for the deficiency,

Utilize Dog Training Tools

Using a head collar may be helpful to guide your dog’s head away from the fresh poop. Turn them away and then pick up the stool immediately.

Some people have tried placing basket muzzles on their dogs to deter them, but some very determined dogs may simply learn to smush the muzzle on top of the poop to eat it.

Make the Poop Less Appealing

If your dog is eating their own poop because it tastes good to them and they’ve developed the habit, you can also try using dog chews that are made to discourage this behavior.

These chews can be given in conjunction with your efforts to keep your dog away from their poop by distracting them with toys or using training tools.

Stay positive in training.

Work with positive reinforcement and treats to teach commands like “leave it.” It can take time to break a bad habit, so be patient.

Add water to your dog’s food

Water is a significant part of the digestive process, and helps to break down food so the body can absorb nutrients. Drinking water after eating is like chasing the eight ball — it just doesn’t have the same benefit.


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