Ask Seth: Dogs Eating Feces

How you stop puppies eating their poop? Paul Kinder Jr.


            This is a common question and the dogs eating feces is called coprophagia, which is common for puppies up to 1.5 years old, but can occur at any age in dogs.  This should be taken seriously since internal parasites are easily transferred through coprophagia.  They can be medically or behaviorally based and commonly behavioral adjustments are used to correct the problem.  Listed are a few of the causes of coprophagia:

  1. Anxiety/boredom or simply it tastes good to them (gross I know)
  2. Could be a sign of vitamin or mineral deficiency
  3. If a puppy is scolded for pooping in the house, they may eat it to hide the evidence.  Also, they may do this to clean up their living area.
  4. You may not be feeding the dog often enough (becomes very hungry).
  5. You may be over feeding the dog, resulting on improper digestion of the food so it still smells like dinner when it comes out. 

Ways to stop coprophagia:

  1. Feed well balanced meals.  Possibly split it up into 2 feedings rather than once daily.
  2. Keep the dogs area clean of feces.  Provide plenty of chew toys to keep them busy.
  3. Stimulate your dog with appropriate exercise both mentally and physically.
  4. Teach your dog “LEAVE IT”.  This command is extremely effective and corrects the issue as it happens.  Rewards the animal when they leave the poop alone.
  5. There are medications on the market that work well on stopping the behavior by making the feces tastes nasty.  They are called “Forbid” and “Deter”. 

If these corrections still do not work, contact your veterinarian.  This may be a vitamin or mineral deficiency that your vet can determine a treatment plan.

Do you have any experience with coprophagia? What did you do to stop it? Tell us in the comments!

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1 Response

  1. Sammy says:

    I have a small dog (shih-tzu/yorkie mix) and from the day I got her she had this habit. She is 4 years old and will still eat her poop when I am not home. She is trained to go inside & outside. When I am home she will bark and let me know she pooped on her wee wee pad. I have tried all the products on the market and they do not work. I am currently trying a natural approach – with her evening feeding I'm adding 1/4 cup of shredded zucchini and a 1 tsp of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar by Bragg. My dog is on an excellent diet. It only happens when I'm not at home and not all the time. I hope this remedy works – I will report back in a few weeks and let you know.

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