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Why do dogs eat their own poop?

Why do some dogs eat feces?

Eating feces is one of the most disgusting habits of dogs, the intake or act of eating feces, is common in dogs.

What can you do to get your dog to stop eating feces?

The reasons why some dogs eat feces are not fully understood, but there are several theories. Dogs may eat feces out of instinct, hunger, stress, or illness.

sick dog


instinctively lick their puppies and may swallow their feces. This normal maternal behavior helps keep puppies and their environment clean.

Many puppies begin to eat droppings at an early age. Some puppies will stop this normal behavior, while others will continue to do so into adulthood.

Eating the feces of other creatures is also considered a natural behavior. If you have a cat, you may have noticed that your dog can’t get away from the litter box. Most dogs love the smell of cat feces. This may be due to their high-protein diet.

Hunger and obsession with food

A hungry or severely malnourished dog can eat almost anything.

Some dogs are hungry even when they are well fed (this can be a sign of illness or just the dog’s personality).

Many dogs are completely obsessed with food and eat anything that tastes good.

Unfortunately, it seems that many dogs like feces (especially those of cats). There is a theory that dogs eat feces when they lack something in their diet.

Most veterinarians claim that this is not really the cause of the eating disorder.

Anxiety, fear, stress

Dogs that are scared or very stressed may eat feces.


In some cases, this can be a kind of self-mutilation mechanism, however, if a dog has been punished for improper disposal or other fece-related behavior, it may associate punishment with the presence of feces. By eating the excrement, the “tests” are eliminated to avoid punishment.


Certain diseases and ailments can cause a dog to eat feces. Symptoms of some diseases include an increased appetite or ingestion of inadequate food.

Diseases that change the consistency or smell of feces can cause the dog to eat its own feces.

It is known that some dogs with brain diseases, such as dementia, start eating their own feces, this may be due to confusion or disorientation caused by the disease.

What are the dangers of a dog eating feces?

For the dog, eating its own feces does not pose a significant risk, however, the bacteria and parasites present in these excretions can be transmitted to people and other animals through contact with the dog’s muzzle or saliva.

If you can’t prevent your dog from ingesting feces, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly if you come into contact with your dog’s muzzle or saliva.

perro mordiendo mano

If your dog ingests the feces of another animal (especially another dog or cat), he runs the risk of ingesting eggs from intestinal parasites and potentially harmful bacteria, which can easily make him sick.

Dogs that are known to eat the feces of other animals should be frequently tested by a veterinarian.

What can I do to prevent my dog from eating feces?

Once you know that the cause of stool intake is not a health issue, the next step is to address the behavior, eating stool can be difficult to reverse.

First of all, make sure there is no animal droppings in the yard or nearby.

Collect the dog’s feces as soon as possible after defecating.

If your dog tends to eat feces while defecating or immediately after doing so, be careful.

When your dog defecates, keep him on a leash and if his attention is on the stool, immediately turn his attention to you (try teaching him the command to “look”). Give him a treat as a reward for paying attention to you, and then immediately pick up the stool and throw it away.

Another way to prevent coprophagia is to add something to your dog’s diet that makes droppings less tasty.

There are tablets that are given to dogs, so that when eating their feces it produces burning and does not see them “so appetizing”, although some dogs do not tolerate acidity and it does not serve them.

remedio contra la coprofagia

Ask your veterinarian for the safest and most effective products to prevent your dog from eating poop, if it is a permanent problem.

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Juanjo Blanco
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