why do dogs eat poop

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

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Eating poop is an awkward but common behavior many dogs have.

Why do dogs eat poop? Dogs eating poop, scientifically known as canine conspecific coprophagy, is a habit. Coprophagy is more common than we pet parents would like, but usually, is not a sign of concern.

A little more about coprophagy

First of all, let’s start by bringing peace to every concerned pet parent out there: your dog is not the only dog eating poop. In fact, coprophagy is a habit approximately one out of six dogs have so don’t feel embarrassed or worried, it is pretty common.

Usually, female dogs are more likely to experience coprophagy than male dogs.

Picky eaters: Last but not least, almost all poop eaters choose fresh over an old stool.

Why do dogs eat poop?

Reasons behind poop eating are not scientifically proven, but there are several theories that state that it is usually a behavioral problem and that rarely, it can be related to underlying health issues. The main causes behind poop eating can be:

  • Anxiety: As weird as it sounds, poop eating can sometimes act like a stress and anxiety reliever for dogs. In those cases, if your dog suffers from anxiety and you don’t know how to help him, we strongly recommend you to try our Hemp Calming Treats, which can make a significant difference in your dog’s behavior.

  • Attention-seeking: When dogs are bored, they tend to look for their owners’ attention. If your pup notices that by eating poop he/she gets your full attention, they will probably do it more than once in order to cause a reaction.

  • Fun: Some dogs may eat their own stool as a way to investigate the world they live in. Dogs’ sense of smell is strong, and so is the smell of poop! Dogs and particularly puppies may want to try it out to see what is it about. So, why do dogs eat poop? Out of fun!

  • Diabetes, hypothyroidism, or Cushing’s disease: These kinds of diseases can cause difficulty absorbing nutrients, and as a result, an increased appetite. Dogs undergoing these diseases are often so hungry they might even look for nutrients in their own stool.

  • Internal parasites: Worms (tapeworms, roundworms, and whipworms, to name a few) are super common among dogs. These parasites basically feed off your dog’s nutrients causing a sudden weight loss and hence, a sudden lack of nutrients, which can result in coprophagy.

  • Nutritional deficiencies: If you were wondering why do dogs eat poop, this might be the reason. Our dog’s health requirements are as wide as ours’, hence, they can experience nutritional gaps in their diets. Our pups, who are beyond smart, know that the stool contains bacteria, so they eat it to get the vitamins they lack. This behavior is particularly related to vitamin B deficiency, so it is mandatory to make sure all their nutritional needs are covered. Mokai’s Multifunctional Dog Chews contain all the minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids that dogs need to carry a healthy life.


Besides, female dogs usually eat their puppies’ poop after giving birth to them, in order to keep the area clean.

How to stop dogs from eating poop

why do dogs eat poop

Even though eating their own poop is not a dangerous behavior, eating other dogs’ poop is highly discouraged since it can cause health problems, like gastrointestinal issues, parasites, or bacteria coming from other dogs’ stools. Besides, coprophagy can not only cause bad breath in dogs but also oral infections, which is why it’s so important to provide good oral care, by using dental wipes and other dental products.

While there is no certain and accurate way to prevent your dog from eating poop, some things that you can do are:

  • Clean the area and maintain it poop-free, making sure you keep poop out of your dog’s reach.
  • Supervise your dog closely on walks to make sure he is not picking up anything from the street.
  • Try training him with straight commands like ‘leave it’ or ‘stop’ to eliminate this not-so-pleasant behavior.

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