Eating Poop (Coprophagy)

Dogs often find cat, horse, and rabbit feces enjoyable to eat and this is a normal behavior, although we find it discussing. These examples are much easier to manage by simply removing the cat's litter pan from reach, and distracting or verbally correcting the dog when they look as though they are about to eat the feces they find.  

It is a normal behavior for a female dog to keep the whelping area clean by consuming the dropping of her pups the first few weeks of their life.

Dogs that consume feces are subject to ingesting parasites that can be contained in the feces they find. For this reason alone, it is a good idea to prevent this behavior.

A common question by dog owners is why their dog is eating its own feces or those of other dogs.

There are several possible reasons that a dog might engage in this behavior.

  • Raised in confinement

  • Attention seeking behavior - they get attention, in much the same way as when they grab one of your shoes and run

  • Boredom

  • Confined with little human interaction

  • Dietary imbalance

  • It tastes good

It is most often thought of as an attention seeking behavior, or out of boredom due to a lack of stimulation in the dog's environment.

What to do

As a last resort the feces can be laced with cayenne pepper sauce to make eating feces unattractive. But this requires someone to be present to lace any fresh feces, so it is best to determine why your dog is eating and eliminate the need for them to do so. Whenever possible cleanup right after your dogs eliminate.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?  By dr. Karen becker

The paradox of canine conspecific coprophagy