Why do Dogs eat Poo?

At least one in four dogs have been seen to eat poo at some point in their lives. About one third of these dogs will do it frequently. So, while not every dog exhibits this behaviour, it is far from unusual.

The technical term for the consumption of poo is ‘coprophagia’. Some pets will eat their own poo, while others eat the poo of other animals.

Why does my dog eat poo?

  • A normal part of life. In nature, the mother dog will eat her puppies’ poo for the first few weeks of life. Many pups will then copy this behaviour.
  • Keeping clean. Some dogs dislike being near poo so will eat it if they are confined with it, for example, in a crate or small yard.
  • An under-stimulated dog may look for distraction from any source. If they have nothing else to do, even something as repulsive as poo eating may be something they try out. Over time, this can become habit.
  • If a dog is fearful that they will get into trouble, they will quickly eat up any poo that they pass. This is often linked to the use of harsh training methods during house training, if the dog was punished for passing poo inside.
  • A side effect of medication. Some medicines (such as steroids) can make a dog ravenous, meaning even an unappealing pile of poo suddenly becomes tempting.

What about health disorders?

If your pooch is chowing down on stool, you may worry they have a medical issue. There are certain diseases that can be linked with coprophagia, so it is sensible to have a chat with your vet if concerned. We would consider:

  • Malnutrition caused by improper diet or a malabsorption disorder (such as IBD)
  • Internal parasites
  • Diabetes or Cushing’s Disease; two disorders which cause a huge surge in appetite.



Enjoy this blog? Let's stay connected ;)