Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

dog ate poop

While it is not uncommon for dogs to eat poop, it is definitely a gross thing to witness. 

There are numerous explanations for this not-so-delightful behavior that all dog owners should be aware of. There could be some underlying condition that is causing your dog to do this.

Is it Normal for Dogs to Eat Poop?

Many dogs eat feces, so it is not inherently abnormal behavior for them. In fact, there are a number of other animals that do this as well. This is especially common among puppies, though adult dogs are known to do it as well.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

There are lots of reasons that a dog might eat poop. Some of these explanations indicate a problem that needs to be dealt with immediately.

1. Anxiety

Dogs that have problems with anxiety due to mistreatment sometimes eat poop. This is fairly common with shelter dogs that have a rough background. If a dog is dealt with aggressively by their owner when housetraining them,  they might start doing this.

2. They are Looking for Attention

Sometimes dogs do things they know you don’t want them to as a way of getting your attention. It is important that you take this seriously because it could mean that you need to spend more time with your pet. Be honest with yourself and consider whether or not you could be making more of an effort to give your dog the affection it deserves.

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3. You Have an Older Dog in the House

If you have an older dog in the house, it is possible that your dog is eating their poop because of its own natural instincts. This is especially common with dogs that are sick. Your healthy dog could be eating the sick one’s feces because it is trying to protect it.

dog smelling shit e1582688897617

4. They Mistake the Poop for Actual Food

There’s always a chance that your dog is eating poop because it is mistaking it for proper food. This can happen when a dog’s food bowl is put out near where they defecate. If this is the case, it is important that you move their bowl away from a good distance. Keep in mind that this association is probably already ingrained in your dog, so it might be difficult to break.

5. Scent Confusion

Dogs sometimes eat poop because they smell traces of their own food in it. They might also be reacting to the scent of their mother’s breath, which can smell similar.

6. History of Isolation

Studies have revealed that dogs kept in isolation are more likely to eat poop. This is often the case with people who keep their dog confined to a certain area of the house where people are not typically found.

There is also a theory that dogs start eating poop due to being kept in a crate for long stretches of time. This is just one of the many reasons to not do this with your pet.

Tips to Get Your Dog to Stop Eating Poop

If you want to put an end to your dog’s poop eating once and for all, there are numerous tips that you’ll want to keep in mind. While this behavior is not necessarily harmful to your dog’s health, it can be pretty disgusting to say the least.

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1. Put Your Dog on a Vitamin Supplement

A vitamin supplement can help with keeping your dog healthy, and possibly getting them to stop eating feces. It is possible that your dog started doing this because they aren’t getting enough of certain vitamins in their diet. A vitamin B supplement, in particular, could be helpful in this situation.

2. Other Supplements

There are other types of supplements that you’ll want to look into when it comes to stopping your dog’s gross snacking habit. There are enzyme supplements that could help with this. Papain is an important enzyme for dogs, and a deficiency can cause all sorts of issues.

dog is playing with toilet paper

3. Spray Products

You can buy certain spray products that are formulated to keep dogs away from whatever you apply them to. While some of these sprays work better than others, it is something to at least consider. You’ll want to do some research so you can find the absolute best option on the market. 

4. Pick up the Poop

One of the simplest but most effective ways to get your dog to stop eating poop is by keeping it out of the yard. While this isn’t the most pleasant chore ever, it is something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Leaving poop in your yard is just asking for trouble. It’s also a great idea to compost the poo.

5. Training

It may be possible to train your dog to not eat poop anymore. If your dog has been doing this for a long time, this might be a fruitless endeavor. You also need to consider that some dogs are easier to train than others.

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If you are really determined to get your dog to stop eating poop, you might want to enlist the help of a professional trainer. There is a good chance that they will be able to get results with your pet, even if it takes a while.


  • You’ll want to keep in mind that it is perfectly normal for dogs to eat poop, but it’s not necessarily an acceptable behavior.
  • There is a chance that your dog eats poop because it was mistreated while being housetrained by previous owners.
  • This could be your dog’s way of trying to get your attention because you don’t spend enough time with it each day.
  • Studies have shown that dogs are more likely to eat poop if they have spent a lot of time isolated from humans and other animals.
  • If your dog is eating the feces of a sick or older dog in the house, it could be due to their natural canine instincts to protect a member of their own pack.
  • Your dog may have a nutritional deficiency, so it is important that you give them the best quality food to eat on a daily basis.
  • A vitamin or enzymatic supplement could put a swift stop to this behavior.
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