BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop: Causes And Prevention Methods

Dog eating poop
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Dogs are one of the most curious and anxious pets to have around. In their growing phase, you might encounter crazy and wild acts of your little puppy that can stun you as well as aggravate your temper. One of the many common habits of a dog involves being hungry all the while, apart from sniffing everything and anything. In this route, the dog encounters many trash as well as faeces and he can end up eating both.

In order to teach your dog about the health and hygiene of the food he consumes, you must first understand the various things that you should provide your dog during his hunger pangs and teething phase. Part of this generates from the base understanding of why do dogs eat poop, as it is not a unique event observed in the dogs down your private alley!

Forbidden eating poop

The primary reason for your dog to eat its own faeces is dependent on his deficiency in nutrients. Many minerals and nutrients like Iron and others can trigger a state of starvation that everything trash or faeces, can stimulate appetite.

One must understand that dogs are dependent on you and cannot suddenly become cognitive when you subject them to a select surrounding without interaction or warmth. One must have a strong emotional bond with one’s dog to understand and render a helping hand whenever the dog is confused or sick in order to break the habit of your dog eating poop.

Why does my dog suddenly start eating poop?

Your dog can go past the sniffing around and end up eating his own or other poops around, unknowingly. Technically, this is rooted around the understanding of the medical disorder Coprophagia, which translates to eating faeces. Pigs, rabbits, hamsters are widely known to consume their own faeces. In certain animals like pandas and elephants, a newborn is underdeveloped and needs the nutrients from the mother’s faeces to grow and gain health.  Even in advanced and closer animals to humans, Chimps and Gorillas also eat their faeces.

Dog eating his own poop

Although, nutritional deficiencies is not the lone reason for your dog to eat its faeces, there are widely popularised hypothesis of neutralising gut bacteria as well as random curiosity of sniffing. Some dogs also are incapable of holding their bowels for long and due to their mannerisms and general discipline, they might try to clean up the crate, off the poop, through consuming it.

A small quantity of consumption of the poop is not that bad, but if your dog picks on this habit, things can get highly dangerous, apart from disgusting.  One can train and teach the dog to have a safe and hygienic distance to all the faeces that he sees and senses in order to break the habit of your dog eating poop.

Additionally, history states that dogs have been, known for their scavenger skills for being domesticated by humans and excreta was a common consumed food among dogs. The instinctual habit of eating poop from the litter can is another evident behaviour among the pups as well.  In addition, in the character of dogs, submissive and little dogs try to clean up actively the poop and pee, in comparison with stronger dogs.

Another important thing is that dogs always learn things from your way of appreciating, acknowledging or correcting. If you try to be harsh at your teaching techniques there is a good chance that you will never find your dog leaving the clues around but be religious to the habit of committing the mistake. However enthusiastic your pup is about eating the faeces, he will soon discover how awful it is as it is just a phase.

Dog ate his poop

One must take care to actively remove waste and have a hygienic environment around the growing dog.  Some veterinarians also advise that some pups eat stool to heal and cure certain gastro-intestinal disorders.  Eating faeces in dogs is also an act of recycling his nutrients and waste.  Eating faeces can also start because of loneliness and imaginary connection with the stool through playing and such.

How to stop your dog from eating poop

To start with, you must find, communicate and establish an obedience or sort of emotional bond with your dog. This can be, achieved through commands, gestures, tones and actions of creating a language to communicate with your dog.  When the matter is not improving, one must immediately seek active medical attention to heal and resolve the internal deficits in the dog.

Dog poop

After determining the cause of your dog-eating poop, you must proceed to ways of curbing this unhygienic habit of your dog.

A very effective step-by-step guide on how to teach your dog not to eat poop is through following steps as stated below:

  1. Commanding your dog not to eat poop:
    The first part of establishing an effective communication with your dog is through teaching him obedience training. Through obedience training one teaches the commands of ‘stay’, ‘heel’, ‘stand’, ‘sit’, ‘quiet’ and ‘go’. These commands are usually, taught alongside specific tones and gestures so that your dog begins to recognise your actions alongside language. When your dog starts to sniff around the poop, make sure you ‘yelp’ or ‘scold’ in a high tone, repeatedly so that your dog understands that poop is not a food item.
    Try not to scare your dog or scold through harsh punishments, but concern and care in order to break the habit of your dog eating poop.
  2. Keeping poop out of your dog’s reach:
    Another effective thing to do is, keep the poop out of your dog’s reach. If the above method of commanding your dog to leave the poop alone does not work, then you must try actively to keep trash and excreta out of your dog’s reach. Keep the toilet locked and take your dog out on a leash while you are taking him for a walk. This also involves keeping your dog’s feeding habits healthy and fresh as well. An effective way to teach your dog to discard poop en route to his routine walking is through keeping all poops unknown to your dog.
  3. Providing a balanced and healthy diet to your dog:
    Apart from all rules and guideline of following hygiene and health, one must assure that the feed and nutrients in it is in apt amounts for your dog. Provision of a healthy diet is easy for a dog, as there are many varieties of food available today in the market. Although, a nutritious diet involves giving your dog fresh, healthy and hygienic food free of any contaminants or adulterants.
    Mostly it is the adulterants in processed foods, which makes a chaotic temper in your dog regarding his appetite and taste preferences.  A healthy diet is inevitable for a healthy dog. Proper nourishment health wise provides a fundamental stability in the emotional well-being of your dog as well.
  4. Wash and clean your dog right after he eliminates:
    Breaking the innate habit of eating faeces is a difficult one to reach success fast, but you can effectively train your dog to understand why poop is bad for him or her. Firstly, teach that pooping is an activity that requires thorough cleansing and washing afterward.
    In addition, when you teach potty manners to your dog, pooping place and time begins to set aside certain comprehension of the importance of potty, to the dog. Your dog might end up making sense to your dog linking pooping to the chaos of the outside world just because you have taught him to poop or pee outside. Similarly, an important aspect of potty manners is to wash and clean your dog every time he eliminates. This instils a habit in your dog that he starts to pick up habitually to clean or seek water to clean each time after potty.
    He might even end up searching out for water or cleaning his bottom himself, each time after potty. All of this relies on your range of communication and emotional bonding with your dog!
  5. Traditional ways:
    There are many traditional ways to instigate your dog to refuse poop in terms of food. Traditionally, dogs have been, known and realized as wild scavengers. Hence, the transformation of domesticating dogs have evolved from giving them full freedom to hunt on their own, to providing food indoors without any hunting time on their own!  Traditionally, man has found ways to teach his pet dog to deny faeces from consumption through obedience training and practical means.
    Usually, people pour the sourest concoction or distasteful liquids on top of the poop that the dog tries to sniff or eat. When the result turns out to be the same for your dog, he ends up understanding that eating poop makes him nauseated or bad in the mouth, which makes him break the same habit. You must make sure that your dog does not take in to the habit of liking the sour concoction you choose to pour over the poop.
    Traditionally, man has found many ways of pouring hot Chilli sauce, Chilly Puree and other hot items over the poop so that the dog refuses the poop on his own. Make sure you know that the flavor you add on the poop is, disliked by your dog in order to break the habit of your dog eating poop!
  6. Modern ways:
    Apart from the traditional tactics, there are many modern ways to bring about this problem in the safest of harbors! Some modern foods and ointments or concoctions are modern at their safety, health and hygiene aspects of your dog. You can simply provide certain foods that will make your dog repel faeces almost instantly. Some ways are:

    • Add MSG to your dog’s food
    • Add fruit juices (pineapple or pumpkin) every day.
    • Use, other concoctions safe for dogs to repel the faeces on his own
    • Consider consulting a veterinarian and make sure your dog is experimented apt to be healthy towards the supplements you utilize to break the habit.
  1. Clean your dog’s mouth:
    Every time your dog eliminates, make sure you religiously wash his bottom and cleanse it. After this, follow to cleanse your dog’s mouth as well. This tends to create a fresh sense of smell and taste in your dog’s mouth. Cleaning your dog’s mouth helps him to keep to the freshness and hygiene around his nose, the things he sniff as well as poke in. Cleaning your dog’s mouth must be, conducted also after the feeding time. This tends to keep your dog healthy, hygienic and away from faeces on his own.
  2. Have treats and toys!
    Another tactful way of breaking your dog’s habit of feeding from faeces is to provide him surprising treats and toys, always in the crate. This also tends to instil a sense of associating food with the cleanliness and volume of the crate and its bowl, respectively. Always make sure you have things to keep your dog entertained so that he does not go on checking out trash or other things.
    Additionally, teaching your dog to feed from the bowl in the crate also helps him to understand that food is quintessentially only in the bowl. Extend this to his drinking manners and hygiene as well.
  3. Change his diet:
    Another important reason that a dog goes onto checking out the bird droppings and such around the house and its compound is not just because of his impoverished nutrition, but also the lack of interested in food that he is presently fed. Make sure you have a variety of options for your dog to select in the normal diet with tasty treats of different flavors. Never subject your dog to a recurrent and single diet for a long time. Always have a variety in his diet and taste so that he grows a healthy taste buds and guts in order to break the habit of your dog eating poop.
  4. Reduce stress in your dog:
    One of the most important factors that affect a dog’s appetite and taste preferences significantly is the increase in stress in your dog. If you find your dog playing with the faeces around or eating it when you jump upon him from office, it is time that you understand that your dog is highly stressed. Loneliness and isolation can subject dogs to routine to distasteful habits to get habituated to, to be emotionally well. In order to reduce stress in your dog, spend enough time with him as well as communicate and play with him enough.
  5. Do not leave your dog alone:
    Continuing the previous point, take care that you have healthy idea of teaching your dog in spending the time on his own. A healthy idea of leaving your dog alone is to the maximum of 4 hours. Always take care that you have a good routine and healthy practices with your dog, in order to prevent him stressing over his health and emotions. Make sure you always arrange company, food and exercise for your dog under dire needs.
  6. Teach your dog to potty manners:
    All of the obedience training and the good habits arise from the tender age of teaching your dog the potty manners. Potty manners involve being aware of your dog’s diet and energy as well as the record of previous observation of potty and feeding times. This takes into check the comprehension skills of your dog developing highly adaptive and receptive techniques of potty mechanisms.
  7. Exercise with your dog!
    Another important way to break the habit of the curiosity and hyperactivity in your dog is through exercising with him regularly. Take your dog on long walks, new games and longer playtimes. This makes him spend his energy on productive, healthy and intelligent activities to grow him. Exercising should be any a random choice of skill or activity to spend time with your dog when either of you is stressed. Never miss it!
  8. Go to a VET!
    Now, come to think of it, if your dog is not growing up on the healthy learning habits of discarding faeces, it is time that you checked out with a veterinarian about the sense of comprehension and health of your dog. Sometimes, consistent eating of faeces can grow a number of overgrowth of mediums unhealthy for the gut and the innards of your dog. Hence, consult a physician whenever you sense the need of precise help and administration of your dog’s health aspects in order to break the habit of your dog eating poop.

Some basic tips to keep your dog off the habit of pooping:

  1. Keeping the litter box clean
  2. Keeping the bowl full with food and water
  3. Changing the diet every week
  4. Having taste treats
  5. Buying a new toy every two months
  6. Cleaning your dog’s mouth and bottom every time he eliminates or eats
  7. Keeping your dog’s environment clean
  8. Having enough nutrition in your dog’s diet
  9. Keeping your dog exercised, always
  10. Consulting a veterinarian whenever necessary

Apart from all of the above, you need effective communication to aid and relieve your dog off his troubles and problems.

Pickin up dogs poop

Make sure you are always physically present to communicate and respond to your dog’s fears and health aspects in order to break the habit of your dog eating poop. As much as a dog has been man’s best friend, you are your dog’s only best friend. For dog’s, it is pretty much one true love with one master forever, so love and care for your dog such that you know every little giggle and happiness in him!

Good Luck!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Natalie Barton

    I’ve had a rabbit in the past who would eat their poop. It didn’t take too long for our house dog to take up the habit! Boy, was that a horrifying scene, seeing our endeared Socrates (yep, we named him Socrates, courtesy of my sister) eat his own excrement. There may have been screaming and 24/7 (or as close to it as possible) surveillance of the pup until he finally learns NOT to do the thing… This article pretty much led me to relive that phase and the somewhat efficient way of weaning him off the habit.

    • John Walton

      Coprophagia is a habit not limited to dogs, so I would agree with you on what your pet has been doing. The best thing to do is to keep the cage clean, because if there is no poop, then there is nothing to eat other that what should be eaten.

  • Leny Brown

    My sister’s dogs are less than a year older. One is eating his own poop or the other dog’s poop (yikes). She got I think some pills from Petsmart but that didn’t help. My sister feeds them puppy bites Blue Buffalo i think. She really would like it to stop!

    • John Walton

      I would like to know what the dog breed is. Some dog breeds are really into eating poop (like the Shih Tzu for example), and some develop this habit because of various contributing factors.

  • We used to have a little dog that always ate poop. I think it must have been because he was nervous. We were able to cut down the habit, but never fully broke him of it.

    • John Walton

      Coprophagia is common in some dog breeds, but it can also become a habit whenever a dog is agitated, confused, or stressed.

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