If you notice your dog eating poop, don’t despair. There are a number of natural solutions to get this under control.
In this article you’ll learn how to stop your dog from eating poop with home remedies. We’ll also discuss the most common reasons for this problem and whether eating poop can be harmful to dogs.
- Why do dogs eat poop?
- Problem #1 – Nutrient deficiency
- Problem #2 – Dog likes the taste of poop
- Problem #3 – The instinct to keep the purity
- Problem #4 – The dog is afraid of punishment
- Problem #5 – The dog is stressed or bored
Why do dogs eat poop?
Of course, it would be wonderful to know what our dogs think when they eat poop. But this is unrealistic. However, experts know several causes that can trigger coprophagy in dogs (coprophagy is the act of eating poop).
Carefully read the following possible behavioral causes and their solutions to find out which one is most likely to apply to your dog. Most dogs’ behavior can be changed, but you may need to experiment with different solutions before you find what is most effective for your dog’s specific needs.
The following table briefly describes the most common causes of coprophagia in dogs and their solutions. Then read the detailed recommendations below.
Problem #1 – Nutrient deficiency
When the dog doesn’t have enough nutrients, he fills this deficiency in different ways. For example, he may start eating plants, waste from the garbage or his own feces.
But why does the dog that gets enough food lack important nutrients? There can be two reasons for this:
- Intestinal parasites. The presence of parasites is a common medical reason for malnutrition, which can cause your dog to be hungrier than usual. Your dog may even be willing to eat different foods that he normally wouldn’t eat.
- Bad food. Poor quality dog food can cause nutrient deficiencies. Cheaper food usually contains fillers such as corn, rice bran, soybeans, corn hulls or modified corn starch. While these ingredients can help your pet feel well-fed, they offer the least nutritional value.
Take your pet to the veterinarian for a checkup. The vet can check for internal parasites that could be depriving your pet of nutrients. He’ll also perform blood tests to see if there is a mineral or vitamin deficiency.
A health check of your dog must always be the first step if your pet is exhibiting unusual behavior.
Giving your dog high-quality dog food with real meat as the main ingredient, or more importantly, organic dog food, will ensure that his nutritional needs are fully met. As the body reabsorbs its vital nutrients, your dog will stop eating poop.
Supplementing the daily diet with a multivitamin can also help stop coprophagia. Look for vitamins that contain probiotics and provide beneficial digestive enzymes. The role of enzymes is critical to digestion.
If you’re looking for good dog food, I recommend checking out Chippin. It’s made from natural products and the recipes are developed under the guidance of veterinarians. Check out their menu.
Here are a few easy ways for dog owners to increase the number of enzymes in your dog’s stomach:
- pure honey (1 teaspoon daily);
- fresh green tripe, freeze-dried treats or dehydrated chew sticks;
- bromelain and papain preparations;
- chewable probiotics.
This allows the dog’s stomach to absorb more nutrients and stop eating feces.
Problem #2 – Dog likes the taste of poop
For some people, the idea of this is incomprehensible, but some dogs eat poop because it seems delicious to them. Why is this so? No one has an answer to that question. However, it’s believed that dogs can smell the undigested nutrients in the feces of other dogs, cats and other animals.
What to do in this case?
There are two different ways to make the smell unattractive. The first one is only suitable for dogs that ingest their feces. The second option is ideal for everyone. You can try both methods to choose a suitable one.
Method #1 to prevent the dog from eating poop
Some products affect the taste of dog poop, making it inedible. These include foods such as:
- canned pumpkin;
- raw zucchini.
Try adding 1-2 tablespoons to your dog’s food bowl and then change the amount depending on the results.
There are also products like Stop Coprophagia and chewable tablets that make dog feces taste unpleasant.
The other option is to add “spices” to your pet’s snack. For example, you can add hot sauce, cayenne pepper, lemon juice or vinegar and then watch your dog do his business. He’ll probably soon realize that poop isn’t as tasty as it has been in the past.
📌 I recommend you read how to teach your puppy the "no" command. You can use the "no" command to stop your dog from doing something unwanted.
Problem #3 – The instinct to keep the purity
In nature, dogs keep their “home” clean. This is a common instinct that all animal species have.
It may be unusual for your pet to dump his feces wherever he sees his personal space. Some dogs are OK with this, but some pets are driven by their nature to try to “clean up” the only way they can.
What to do in this case?
The best thing to do is to immediately vacuum up and dispose of your dog’s feces. Use a pet poop scoop or pet poop bags to avoid contact with it. Keep the area clean for this, and the poop eating will be a thing of the past.
Also read my post on how to keep your dog out of the litter box.
Problem #4 – The dog is afraid of punishment
If a dog has ever been punished for pooping in the wrong place, it can cause behavioral changes. Your dog may think he has done something wrong and will try to hide the evidence in the only way available, by eating feces.
Ways to solve the behavior problems
It’s important to handle these situations with positive reinforcement rather than discipline. This will help prevent your dog from becoming anxious about his defecation habits.
Keep some of his favorite treats in your possession. Then, every time he finishes in the right spot and walks away without eating anything, you can give him a treat or two and praise him. Repeat this process until it associates going to the bathroom in the right spot with a positive experience.
If your dog doesn't know the 'leave it' command, now is the time to introduce it. You can teach your dog not to eat the poop and stay away.
Problem #5 – The dog is stressed or bored
Your dog might become a poop eater because he thinks there’s nothing left to do. But as unbelievable as it may sound to us, boredom is the main cause of coprophagia in some dogs.
The dog may be stressed by dramatic changes in his daily life, such as moving to a new place or losing a family member. Just like people, each dog can handle stress differently. Some can become depressed, other dogs develop aggression or destructive behavior, and still others will eat anything, including feces.
A dog that isn't constantly stimulated mentally and physically will often find methods to expend energy and entertain itself.
How can you help the dog?
Giving your dog extra exercise on a regular basis and constantly stimulating his brain can alleviate stress and boredom. A tired and happy dog is less likely to engage in disgusting behaviors, such as eating poop.
There are many ways to exercise and train your pet’s brain. So find a way to add some much needed stimulation to your dog’s daily routine. Instead of the same old routine, take a walk around the neighborhood, go to a different part of town and explore the “unknown” area. The different sights and smells in a different environment can be a fantastic way to exercise your dog’s mind.
What should I do if my puppy eats feces?
Eating feces is common among puppies that are just one year old, because they’re naturally interested in all things around them, including poop.
But this phase is usually temporary and your puppy will get used to it on its own over time.
Is eating poop harmful to dogs?
The situation is different if he eats the poop of other animals. Then your dog could get infected with parasites and/or infectious diseases. There is also the risk that he’ll eat leftover medication that another animal may have ingested.
Do I have to punish a dog for eating feces?
Punishment can cause anxiety and upset your dog. Disciplining a dog for eating poop or other problems doesn’t solve them, but usually makes them more difficult.
If you reward your dog with treats after pooping and he’s satisfied, he’ll not want to return to his bad habit.
If you want to solve the problem of poop eating, you should try the listed methods:
- go to your veterinarian to identify any health problems;
- remove the dog feces as soon as possible;
- intensify physical and mental exercise;
- do everything to make the poop smell as bad as possible.
And you should not punish a dog for such behavior. For more information, visit the AKC website.
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