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8 Helpful Tips For How To Stop Dog From Eating Poop

8 Helpful Tips For How To Stop Dog From Eating Poop

Our furry pets are wonderful and loyal friends whose love delights us again and again. But, we have to be honest and admit that our dogs often show behaviors that not only are not so delightful, but also shock us a little.

For example, many dogs will often drink water from the toilet bowl, lick their bottoms, or eat their own or other dogs’ feces. Seeing a dog licking poop can be quite disturbing for owners. However, this behavior is actually not so unusual, and it even has a scientific namecoprophagy or coprophagia.

So, before you worry and start thinking of medical reasons for your dog to behave like this, it is important that you know that other dogs do this too.

There are always reasons why a dog would eat feces, and we will analyze them in more detail in this text. Also, we will list useful tips on how to stop dog from eating poop. Nothing is impossible, you just need to be patient and persistent!

How To Stop Dog From Eating Poop?

man picking up dog poop

If your dog seems to like eating feces, this is not good news, but, luckily, there are ways to stop your dog from doing this.

The basic thing is to keep the dog’s environment clean – so, in the same way you clean all parts of your home, you should also clean your dog’s beddings, water and food bowls, toys, and all the places your dog spends time in.

During the walk you should always clean up after your dog has defecated. Also, dog training and socialization from a young age will significantly reduce the dog’s urge to eat poop.

But, together with knowing how to stop a dog from stool eating, all dog owners should also know the main causes of this behavior in their dogs.

When you know the cause of a certain behavior, you will be more successful in figuring out the solution for an unwanted behavior.

Why Is My Dog Obsessed With Eating Poop?

owner picking up dog poop

A dog eating poop can seriously freak you out, as this act is completely unhygienic and most owners will probably think of the various viruses and diseases that can be transmitted when a dog eats feces.

That’s why it’s important that you understand all the common causes of this behavioral issue in dogs.

Dogs can eat their own feces, the feces of other dogs, or the feces of other animals – if you live in a multi-dog household, or in a multi-pet household, there is a high possibility that your dog will eat cat poop.

Let’s see what are the possible reasons why your dog would become a poop eater.

Attention-seeking

Why dogs eat poop? They might just want to get you to look at them.

Some dogs will eat poop just to show you it lacks your attention. So, dog poop eating might be just a dog’s way for attention seeking.

If this is the case, you are likely to easily solve the problem; try to spend some more time with your pet, take it out for a walk and play with it the same moment you come home.

Dogs are social animals and there is nothing they like more than spending time with their human family members.

However, some dogs will want to be the center of your entire world, and, even if you give it enough attention, the dog will still eat poop or show other unwanted behavior because it wants to be your only object of attention.

Maybe your pooch got too spoiled and it is the right moment to consider consulting a professional dog behaviorist to solve this behavioral issue in your dog.

Isolation

dog Eating Poop

Dogs sometimes want to be alone, but, in most cases, they will want to be with their family and to join all their activities. If a dog spends most of its time alone in a basement or in some other part of the house where it is isolated from the rest of the family, it will feel sad and alone.

Isolation might cause a dog to show some destructive behavior, like stool eating. Dogs should not spend too much time alone – this is not good for their health.

All people who plan to become dog owners should know that having a pet is a serious commitment, and that they will be responsible for their dog’s well-being, socialization, and training.

Anxiety

Why does my dog eat poop? It might be anxious.

Many triggers can cause anxiety in dogs, and anxious dogs might become stool eaters. Dogs can become anxious due to some change in their environment, pain, loud noises, strange people, etc.

Our furry friends are sensitive creatures, and we should detect the source of their anxiety, and try to find the best way for them to stop bad feelings.

Inappropriate Association With Dog Food

woman picking up dog poop

If the place where you usually feed your dog is near the place where the dog defecates, it is possible that this will confuse him.

Thus, the dog can establish a connection between the smell of food and the smell of feces, and it will be difficult for him to distinguish these two smells.

For this reason, the dog can start sniffing and ultimately – eating feces.

Nutritional Deficiency

Unfortunately, a dog that eats feces could indicate that the food you feed your pet does not have enough nutrients, or does not suit it completely. So, your dog might actually be hungry.

It is also possible that the food that the dog is currently eating is not appropriate for its breed, age, or its daily activities. If this is the case, your dog might try to steal food from your table, or from your other pets.

If your dog remains hungry even after several meals a day, he will want to eat as much food as possible.

This food may pass through his system undigested, so the dog’s feces will smell similar to the food the dog eats, and he will instinctively want to eat it again.

So, this can be understood as a lack of healthy and nutritious ingredients in the dog’s diet.

Pica

dog sniffing poop

Pica is a condition in which dogs consume non-food items such as metal, garbage, plastic, feces, or anything else that is not food. Coprophagia is the most common form of pica, and pica is not only unhygienic, but can also be quite dangerous for a dog’s health.

Some of the causes of pica in dogs are stress, frustration, lack of socialization, and lack of mental stimulation.

The most common symptoms of pizza in dogs are diarrhea, drooling, belching, bad breath, coughing, sneezing, and pain in the abdomen.

Mother Dogs Eat Their Puppies’ Feces

If a female dog has puppies, it is possible to see her eating her puppies’ poop. This is a dog’s natural instinct and it is not so rare to see a mother dog do this. But, what are the reasons behind this behavior?

Female dogs probably want to keep their living area clean – if not they, who else would do it, since their puppies are so small and helpless. Also, some people believe that dogs do this to protect their puppies from predators, since dog poop can attract predators.

Female dogs usually stop showing this behavior when they are puppies are about 3 weeks old. If the poop eating continues, then there is something else going on with your dog.

Health Problems

Unfortunately, stool eating might in some dogs indicate a certain medical problem. This might be intestinal parasites, Cushing’s disease, thyroid disease, or diabetes.

All dog owners certainly hope that a health problem like one of these is not the reason why their dogs won’t stop eating poop. But, if you notice some additional symptoms in your pooch, you must contact a veterinarian immediately.

How Do I Keep My Dog From Eating Their Own Poop?

owner picking up dog poop from grass

Let’s see what you can do to make your dog stop eating poop. This is not only a bad habit, but also might have an impact on the dog’s health.

So, the best way is to prevent this behavior from the moment you notice it the first time. Still, some dogs will develop this habit and their owners might have a hard time trying to get rid of this kind of behavior.

1. Change The Dog’s Diet

If your dog eats poop because it lacks nutrients in its current diet, the best solution will be to change the dog’s food. You should consult your veterinarian about this, in order to choose the best food that will suit the age, breed, and activity of your pet.

Sometimes just giving your hungry dog more food won’t be enough – you may need to completely replace the previously used food and buy new, high-quality dog food.

2. Enzyme Supplementation

Eating poop could be a sign that your dog is deficient in digestive enzymes. If this is the case, it will be necessary to give the dog a digestive enzyme supplement, which you will need to consult with the veterinarian.

Such supplements will help the dog’s digestive system to break down food, and the dog will receive more nutrients. This will significantly reduce the dog’s need to look for minerals and vitamins it lacks in other places, and especially to stop looking for them in animal poop!

3. Dog Training

owner training their dog at park

Dog training is essential for the entire upbringing and ownership of a dog; when we train a puppy from an early age, there is a greater chance that it will grow into an obedient and well-behaved dog.

This also applies to teaching the dog basic commands. If during your walk you notice that the dog sniffs the excrement and intends to eat it, immediately shout: No, leave it!

Here it is also good to use the method of positive reinforcement, so after the dog has obeyed you, reward him with his favorite treat. It is also useful to immediately redirect the dog’s attention to some activity.

4. Clean The Dog’s Environment

The cleanliness of the dog’s living space is one of the basic prerequisites in order to prevent, and – if it occurs – to stop the dog’s bad habit of eating feces.

So, as soon as the dog defecates, the owner should immediately remove its droppings. In this way, it is impossible for the dog to even get the idea of eating poop, and thus the development of this bad habit is also impossible.

If you also have a cat in the house, make sure to regularly clean its litter box. The dog will still be able to come into contact with poop, for example, during a walk, but you will always be with him, and you will be able to warn him about this unwanted behavior.

5. Regular Potty Breaks

From the first moment you welcome a new puppy into your home, you should start with the establishing of a puppy schedule. This means your puppy should have an eating routine, sleeping routine, exercise routine, and potty routine.

As we mentioned earlier in the text, some dogs confuse the smell of the poop with the smell of their food, since they usually eat their meals in the same place they defecate.

This is why it is vital for a dog to have several potty breaks daily – outside the home and the place they eat their meals.

After you take your dog out for a potty break a couple of days in a row, the dog will learn to separate the time and place for meals from the time and place for potty breaks.

6. Make Sure Your Dog Is Not Bored

puppy playing with toy

A dog might eat its poop to show the owner that it is bored and wants its attention. If this is the case, you need to check whether your dog receives enough physical and mental stimulation.

A dog’s need for activity will depend on the dog’s breed and age – so, with some dogs, it will not only be enough to walk it once in a while. Some dogs need an hour or even two of physical exercise per day.

Besides physical exercise, dogs also need mental stimulation. You probably need to be away from home at least a couple of hours every day, so you can try using some tips to keep your pooch entertained while you are at work.

A bored dog might become frustrated and sad, and might show destructive behavior – like digging, destroying furniture, or – eating feces. This is why you should not let your dog get bored.

7. Food Additions To Change The Poop Taste

Some people believe that adding a certain ingredient, like pineapple or meat tenderizer, to the dog’s diet will make the dog’s poop taste different, and will eventually make the dog stop eating their poop.

This might be successful, but we want to warn all dog owners not to decide on their own what they will add to their dog’s diet for this purpose.

You should first check with the veterinarian what ingredient will be safe for your pet, and, of course, you should check whether your dog has any food allergies. You want for this bad habit to go away, but you don’t want to additionally harm your furry friend!

8. See A Vet

We all hope that feces eating will not be related to some medical problem in our dogs. Still, in some cases it will be, so you should consult a veterinarian on this matter.

If you are sure this is not a behavioral problem, and your dog is not stressed, hungry, or just bored, then you should definitely check everything in order with your dog’s health with the veterinarian.

Don’t worry in advance, since many diseases in dogs can be controlled when they are detected on time.

Final Words

dog looking at camera

Having a dog is super fun until you realize dogs do not exactly always behave the way we want them to. Some of their behaviors are weird and we cannot understand them, and some of them even make us fear for our dogs’ health.

A dog eating feces is one of those situations when you are unsure what to do. First of all, you need to determine the exact cause of this behavior in your dog.

The cause might be behavioral or medical, and you must monitor your dog’s behavior to realize what makes him eat feces.

We want to emphasize that dog owners should not punish their pets for this behavior, but should rather consult a veterinarian or a dog behaviorist if they are unable to solve the problem on their own.

Hopefully, you have found your perfect solution on how to stop dog from eating poop after you have read this article. We wish you the best luck in solving this nasty habit, and to enjoy many wonderful future moments with your furry friend!

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