Stop Dog From Eating Poop

Does your dog embarrass you by eating their own, other dogs or cats poop? Imagine, you are talking to an acquaintance in a park, someone you would like to become your friend, you are happily talking  to your new found friend and then your dog does the unspeakable. Not only does he squat and “do his business”  in front of you and your new friend but then sniffs it and begins to eat it. Unless you have been there, it’s hard to imagine the feeling – or maybe you can. There are reasons for this behavior and ways to stop your dog from eating poop!

Believe it or not this is quite a common problem that many dog owners face. This article was prompted by a question from Debbie on my article about Dog Separation Anxiety. The term used for dogs eating theirs or others poop is Coprophagia.

Today we explore the following topics;

  1. Introduction.
  2. Reasons and Causes.

Then we have a look at ways to stop your dog from eating their own or other animal poop with the following;

  1. Adding to the diet.
  2. Health and maintenance of the diet.
  3. Clean living environment.
  4. Dog Training devices.
  5. General dog training.


There are a few different theories why dogs eat their own poop however the reasons can be broken into to two categories.

  1. Behavioral Problem.
  2. Medical Problem.

If your dog has been sick and started eating their poop since then a visit to your favorite veterinarian is a must. There may be an underlying medical problem left from the illness that is causing your dog to behave in this way. Your veterinarian will be familiar with the medical reasons for this behavior and will be able to offer treatment or advice as well as give you dog a thorough health check up.

Ensure that if your dog has just started this behavior to keep their vaccinations up to date. Many diseases and parasites are spread through excrement and your dog could be exposed to serious illnesses.

dog eating on grass

Reasons and Causes Why Dogs Eat Poop.

Here are the main reasons why dogs behave in this way:-

  1. Some dogs find the taste appealing. (ewww)
  2. High fat – low fibre diet. Dog diets high in fat and low fibre are digested too quickly and the dog might try to digest it again to gain the necessary nutrients they need for health.
  3. A symptom of Dog Separation Anxiety or boredom.
  4. Some puppies experience vitamin or mineral deficiencies and eating their poop restores the delicate balance in their intestinal system.
  5. Bitches of young pups will clean the pups as needed to keep the area clean and puppies may copy this behavior.
  6. Puppies may “hide the evidence” by eating it if they have been punished for leaving little surprises around the home. Puppies don’t understand what they are being punished for and will think that they are being punished for actually pooping rather than going in the wrong place.
  7. Maybe your dog is trying to clean their living area – either inside or in the yard. If you suspect that this is the reason then you need to clean the area daily.
  8. Copying other dogs behavior.
  9. Over feeding -if your dog is getting too much to eat it is likely that he/she won’t be able to digest the food properly and the partially digested food is eaten again.
  10. Under feeding. Some dog owners only feed their dogs once a day leaving the dog hungry and they will go into scavenger mode and eat anything around. It is best to feed your dog twice a day.
  11. Medications or antibiotics. Some dogs develop poop eating behavior when they are being treated for other aliments.
  12. Some dogs may eat the feces of a companion dog who is sick. This type of behavior is an effort protect the companion dog from predators.
  13. Change in diet. Radically changing a dogs normal diet can cause dog coprophagia. This is most common when the diet is higher in fat. (see point 2)

How to stop your dog from eating poop.

Some suggestions to help stop dog from eating poop are as follows:-

Adding to the diet.

Add a little pineapple, spinach or pumpkin to your dogs meals. Apparently when these foods are digested they smell and taste terrible to dogs. There are also specific additives that are designed to make the poop smell bad so your dog is not tempted to eat it. These products are available through your local veterinarian.

Health Maintenance and Diet.

Ensure your dog is wormed regularly and gets regular check ups from the vet.  A healthy dog with a nutritious diet high in fiber will be less likely to engage in behaviors like eating poop.

Clean Living Environment.

Keeping your dog’s living area clean will reduce their need to clean it up themselves. Daily removal of any poop in the house, their room and the yard will make a big difference.

Dog Training Devices.

Negative reinforcement by the use of a choker collar can be helpful if other methods fail. In worst case scenario you could use a well fitting muzzle and only remove it for meal times, however this is an extreme measure and may not curb the behavior but only disable your dog from doing it. On the other hand, this could be a practical solution in the short term so you can take your dog out in public with  out fear of them eating theirs or another dogs poop.

General Dog Training.

By leaning good dog training methods and techniques for effective command training you can train your dog to respond to commands like “leave it” or “no” or “off”. Using positive reinforcement and praising your dog for good behavior can work well also.

Most dogs grow out of wanting to eat poop by the time they hit twelve months old, however this is usually to long  to wait for most dog owners to wait.

Don’t forget to visit our FREE Gift page to get access to the Dog Anxiety Checklist as a thank you for visiting our site.

Thanks for visiting our site and for reading about this difficult and embarrassing topic to Stop Dog From Eating Poop.

Get your 5 FREE Dog Training Videos


  1. Hi there,

    I was very impressed by your article about how to stop dog eating poop. We have a golden retriever named Sally and we live on a dairy farm in Victoia, Australia. Our dog eats the poop of new born calves and I am disgusted by it. I now know from your article that this type of thing is not uncommon which makes me feel a little better.
    My questions are why does she do this and is there anything we can do to stop this?
    Please help me.

    • Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for your questions. Golden retrievers are a lovely family dog. The good news is I have heard of this before and I actually had a dog that did the exact same thing when we were visiting a dairy farm, so I know exactly what you are talking about.

      The bad news is there is not much you can do about it. New born calves have a rumen (which is complex four chambered stomach, but you probably already know all about that). The calf rumen only partly digests the calf’s main diet – milk – which they get directly from their mother or surrogate sources.

      The new born calf poop looks and smells similar to strong cheese and has a color similar to mustard sauce. This substance is extremely appealing to most dogs. I have even seen a farmer’s dog licking the butts of calves in an attempt to make them “go” again.

      The only thing you can do is to keep your dog away from new born calves or train your dog to respond to your commands to stay away from it. Good news is that there are only new born calves on a farm a few months of the year.

      If you are looking for some help with dog training and want to get your dog to respond better to your commands don’t forget to sign up for our obligation free 6 Day Dog Training Course.

      Good luck with this – I hope this situation improves for you.

  2. Thanks for this article “Stop Dog From Eating Poop”.

    You have answered my questions and I really appreciate you going to this much effort for me.
    I have signed up for the 6 day dog training and have already recieved day 1. There is lots of interesting information in the first day and I’m looking forward to getting the next installment.

    It is Christmas in a couple of days, will my course be suspended for a few days or will it keep coming every day. The reason why I ask is that we will be busy over Christmas and I might not get to reading it.

    Thanks again for going to so much trouble for me.

    • Thanks for your reply Debbie.

      Glad I answered your questions. When you first asked the question about your dog eating poop I did a little research and found that this is a topic that many people are looking for information on. So I decided to write about it to help you primarily but also to assist others.

      I’m glad that you signed up for the FREE Gift of the 6 day dog training course and happy that you have found it interesting so far. There is lots of great dog training information coming to you in the next 5 emails.

      As for Christmas, don’t worry, the emails will keep coming each day and you can read them when you get time after Christmas.

      There are some special offers and discounted prices for the “Secrets of Dog Training Program” that are only for those who sign up for the 6 day dog training course and they are time sensitive, however if you choose to take advantage of those offers they will be available to you for about a week after recieving the last of the 6 day training course emails – so there is plenty of time.

  3. Great advice here on stopping dogs from eating poo. I think it’s a fascinating subject, mainly because we find it disgusting but dogs seem to love it.

    Have shared on twitter!

  4. Casey Jones says:

    Great article. I’ve done some research on the subject and your article does a great job covering this particularly (to humans) gross subject.

    It is definitely important to try to figure out why your dog is eating poop, as parasites/medical and nutritional issues really need to be addressed.

    • The Puppy Persuader says:

      Thanks for your comment Casey,
      It can be a real problem, especially the potential health risks associated with this habit. I’m glad you got some good information out of the article.

  5. Very thorough article, thanks. I was looking for some help with this dirty issue/habit, my sisters dog has been doing this.

    Nice blog by the way, I’ll be sure to subscribe and stop back.

    • The Puppy Persuader says:

      Thanks Sean,
      I have generally found it is usually something missing in the diet, in most cases, not enough fiber. Anyway have a talk to your sister and try the suggestions, hopefully the problem will end soon. : – )