Why Do Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It

The fact that dogs eat poop is a very common phenomenon, which is also known as coprophagia. Whether this behavior is completely normal or a sign of illness it’s a matter of dispute.

Nature shows that wolves and even wild dogs sometimes gnaw at tree bark or eat unusual herbs that they would otherwise avoid. Your own excrement or that of other animals is also sometimes eaten.

Scientifically, the so-called “self-medication” of animals is being examined more and more closely. However, it is doubtful whether every man eating poop should necessarily be viewed as “self-medication”.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

There are now various assumptions as to why a dog exhibits this behavior, including:

  • An imbalance in the dog’s intestinal flora
  • Attractants or flavorings in the legacies of other animals
  • Nutritional deficiencies that the dog is trying to make up for
  • Diseases of the digestive system such as the pancreas
  • A parasite infestation
  • Behaviors: attention, bad habit, or lack of education
  • If the dog eats poop, there can be problems in the intestines

A very common reason for eating poop is a disturbed intestinal flora of the dog. A large number of good bacteria live in the healthy intestine, which can tolerate the few bad ones, i.e. disease-causing bacteria, and keep them in check.

There are many reasons that can unfortunately shift this balance in favor of the bad intestinal bacteria. Whether through administration of an antibiotic, incorrect feeding, or stress, the intestinal flora can quickly become unbalanced.

Once this cycle is set in motion, a vicious circle can arise – with subsequent skin eczema, allergies, and intestinal disorders as a result.

Dogs seem to sense early on that “something is no longer fitting” in their intestines and try to repopulate their own intestinal flora with good bacteria through the good intestinal bacteria that may be present in the poops of other conspecifics.

What Are the Risks of Dogs Eating Poop?

Regardless of the reason your dog eats poop, you should prevent him from doing so and generally make sure that he doesn’t just eat what he finds outside.

Unfortunately, it happens far too often in these situations that dogs ingest foreign objects or come into contact with poisonous substances. While eating poop can have advantages, the possible disadvantages are always greater.

Since most dogs are still fed daily food that is made with synthetic additives, preservatives, etc., it’s important to not let your dog eat other animals’ poops if you want to avoid them coming into contact with these additives.

  • Not to be underestimated is the risk of infection with worms, giardia, or other parasites and here it is not even necessary for the dog to eat the poop – contact via the nose or mouth while sniffing is enough to become infected.
  • Another, unfortunately often completely underestimated, the danger arises from possible drug residues that could be contained in the poops of other animals. Regardless of what medication it is, your own dog should not come into contact with it until it has been prescribed by its vet.
  • In addition to medication, this also includes other prescription drugs, such as wormer cures. These are dosed according to bodyweight. So a large dog gets more of it than a small one. Now if a small dog approaches the legacy of a larger one, it can be dangerous. 
  • You should note, horses are also dewormed and, due to their body weight, are given a significantly higher dose than dogs. So eating horse manure can be very dangerous for dogs.

How Can I Stop My Dog from Eating Poop?

In order to better narrow down the reasons for eating poop, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What food does your dog get?
  • Can there be a shortage?
  • Is it a behavioral problem, such as an old habit or mimicking other dogs that eat poop?
  • What poop is the dog interested in?
  • How long / often does this problem occur?

Was the dog able to build up a good intestinal flora through high-quality, species-appropriate food as a puppy?

Have there been antibiotics or wormer cures in the past that could have affected the intestinal flora?

Healthy Dog Food and Natural Supplement

If there is a lack of nutrients, it is of course difficult to find out what the dog is really lacking without a detailed blood test, but that does not mean that as a dog owner there is nothing you can do.

By feeding a rich, natural food supplement, you can optimize the entire supply of the animal. If there is no improvement, a blood test can help to get to the bottom of the problem.

You can get Canis Extra Aktiv is a feed supplement with minerals, vitamins, and trace elements and can prevent nutritional deficiencies.

With its unique composition, Canis Extra Mineralmoor can stimulate the metabolism, contribute to an upswing in the intestinal flora and thus promote overall feed conversion.

The variety of nutrients can get the mineral balance going, which can have a positive effect on the diet-related poop eating of the dogs and contribute to making this behavior superfluous.

However, if a deficiency is ruled out, you have to look further and clarify when the last deworming took place, whether the dog suffers more often from diarrhea, receives medication or the intestinal flora is damaged.

Behavior and Positive Reinforcement

As already described, “eating poops” is also an attentional behavior in some dogs. Especially with dogs that are not aware of their social position in the family, or with those who are often alone.

They notice that by eating their droppings in the presence of the owner, they can quickly arouse their displeasure and thus get their attention.

Weaning a dog off coprophagia can be difficult. Fair but consistent upbringing is very important. Here we have put together a few valuable tips that can help in daily practice to wean the dog off the behavioral problem.

If the dog stays on the leash, the owner can control its walking radius and the dog cannot disappear into the bushes or into the field, where the owner can no longer act.

If the owner catches the dog eating poop right away, he should make a surprising noise or a short sound to distract the dog’s attention from the poop and push it away from it or lead it quickly past it on a short leash.

Individual training with an experienced dog trainer can improve the basic communication situation between dog and owner.