How to Stop Dog From Eating Poop or All About Coprophagia

How to Stop Dog From Eating Poop or All About Coprophagia

Let’s face it: nobody wants to see - or even think of - their dog eating its own droppings. This is known as coprophagia. However, a dog eating poop is a fairly common phenomenon, whether your dog is eating its own, another dog's, or another animal’s. 

As a matter of fact, nearly one in every five dogs experiences it at least once in a lifetime. But this doesn’t mean that it should be tolerated. Knowing how to stop your dog from eating poop will help you avoid contagious diseases that can harm both your dog and yourself. 

That being said, it’s nothing you can’t solve. And to help you out, this article explains the many reasons why Fido might be eating poop and offers a number of simple solutions you can try to prevent the habit. 

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

The matter of how to stop your dog from eating poop begs the question: “Why do dogs eat poop?” Unlike humans, dogs are not really disgusted by their feces. Keep in mind that dogs used to be scavengers, and have always been used to eating whatever was available to them to survive. And so, what might seem so gross to you is actually engraved in your dog’s DNA. 

That is not to say that the behavior is all-natural. If you look up “Why is my dog eating poop,” you’ll find that there are at least a dozen behavioral and physiological reasons. It’s up to you to stop coprophagia the minute you notice it because your puppy simply doesn’t know any better. 

Potential Reasons for Coprophagia in Dogs

Dietary Deficiencies

To understand how to stop your dog from eating poop, the first thing you should look into is your furry friend’s diet. Deficiencies in certain vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes may lead your dog to look for them elsewhere. A vitamin B deficiency, in particular, can lead to coprophagia. Dogs that are fed homemade food are more prone to these types of deficiencies than dogs that eat store-bought food. This is because the latter covers most, if not all, of a canine’s nutritional needs.  

Underlying Medical Issues

Whether your dog is eating its own poop or another’s, the reason can also be an underlying medical issue. Conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), Cushing’s Disease, and internal parasites lead to malabsorption, making Fido feel excessive hunger. All these symptoms force a dog to eat what it can find - and that would be poop.


Dogs are curious creatures. Much like human babies, puppies like to explore everything new and they mainly rely on their senses of smell and taste. Whether it’s a sock they’ve never seen before or poop, they’re going to try and taste it. This habit is not limited to puppies though, even as adults, dogs will be interested in anything that might smell good, even if that thing is literal dung. Surprising as it might be, a lot of the time, coprophagia in dogs is simply due to curiosity and nothing more.  

Stress or Anxiety

Whether it’s the bad conditions of some animal shelters or the fear of being separated from someone or someplace they love, dogs tend to stress and become anxious. Believe it or not, attachment issues are real among dogs of all ages, and the fear of not seeing their loved ones can lead them into doing things they won’t naturally do. One such reaction would be eating poop. This is usually a temporary phase, and you can stop your dog from eating poop just by being around more often and showing some love.  

Fear of Punishment

When you’re potty training your puppy, be careful how you deal with them. Yelling at them for accidentally pooping where they shouldn’t doesn’t really teach them where not to poop. Instead, it forces them to find ways to hide the mistake. In most cases, and out of fear, most dogs would hide the evidence by simply eating it. The next time you scold your puppy for pooping in the wrong spot, remember that your little furry friend will grow a fear of punishment, and eventually choose to eat its poop. 


If you’re still trying to figure out how to stop a dog from eating poop, another factor to account for is hunger. As we said previously, dogs that are constantly hungry are more likely to eat their own - or others’ - droppings. Having said that, make sure Fido is getting all the nutrients and calories it needs. Remember, this is one of the most common reasons why dogs choose to eat poop.

Motherly Duties

We’ve all seen the love and care mama dogs show their puppies. One interesting thing mother dogs do for the first few weeks after birth is licking their babies behind to stimulate bowel movement. Once the puppy does its business, the mother dog will often keep licking in order to clean the puppy’s bottom. And in many cases, she will even eat the poop to keep the doggie nest clean. We’re not sure if this is the yuckiest or the sweetest thing ever.

Learning from Mama Dog

Unfortunately, while mama dog is only trying to look after her puppies by helping them poop and trying to keep their bottoms clean, her little furry babies will sometimes pick up the habit. If your dog is eating poop, it may be associating the poop with the smell of its mother’s breath when it was younger. If it was okay for Mom, then it must also be okay for them, right? 

The Yumminess

If you think the idea of your dog eating poop is gross, you will probably not enjoy the fact that your furry friend might actually be liking it. And as much as we’d like to deny this fact, it’s true. But don’t be too judgemental - after all, to each their own. You’ll still want to stop it from doing so, though. 


Another reason why your dog is eating its own poop is boredom. In this case, you’ll want to try not giving your furry friend enough time to get bored. A lot of the time, dogs start exploring dung as a delicacy just for the fun and excitement of it. After all, dogs are curious. And as we mentioned earlier, they like the smell of poop. So, when they are bored, what’s to stop them?  


Like boredom, isolation might cause a dog to try a bite or two of its poop. Dogs left alone for long periods - especially in small and confined spaces - are more likely to munch on poop than dogs in bigger spaces and surrounded by people. With not much else to do, eating their droppings may sound like the most viable option to them. 

Asking for Your Attention

Remember the first time you found your dog eating its poop and you spent so much time trying to teach it right from wrong? Well, so does your dog. To your four-legged friend, eating poop is a surefire way to get your undivided attention. How exciting is that? Not only will you spend time lecturing it, but you’ll probably even chase it to try and clean its mouth. It sounds like a playdate and your dog will not miss the opportunity. 

How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop 

Consulting the Vet

To figure out how to stop your dog from eating, the first thing you want to do is to talk to the vet. Once you’ve ruled out health concerns, you can look for other causes for coprophagia in dogs. A vet will likely ask for further testing and may recommend certain nutritional and general changes if no health concerns pop up. 

Adding Supplements to the Food

Keep in mind that nutritional deficiency is another reason why your dog is eating poop. To make sure that your dog is getting all that it needs for its appropriate age, you need to put it on a balanced diet that includes all the necessary proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. 

Now, you might be wondering what to put in dog food to stop it from eating poop. You’ll want to go for pineapples, pumpkins, and spinach since they change the taste of food after digestion, making the poop less appealing. When it comes to pineapples though, keep them to a minimum as they contain a lot of sugar.

Feeding Your Dog Smaller Meals Throughout the Day

Instead of giving Fido two or three big meals, try going for five smaller meals. By doing this, Fido won’t get super hungry before the next meal and end up looking for snacks. Because, as you know, feces is a snack according to your canine companion.

Training Your Pup Against Scavenging

Are you wondering “How can I get my dog to stop eating poop” and can’t seem to find the answer? Consider looking into training them against scavenging. Dogs are scavengers by nature, and to stop this innate behavior, you have to train them. A great way to do this is by giving them treats every time they leave poop alone. 

This calls for a lot of attentiveness on your side, because the poop will be devoured faster than lightning sometimes. If all else fails, you can always go for muzzles with a front guard to stop Fido from even getting poop near its mouth. This can also help if you’re looking into how to stop your dog from eating other dog’s poop on walks. 

Spending A Lot of Time With Your Dog

A not-so-easy answer to “How to get dogs to stop eating poop” is simply spending more time with them. We know this is easier said than done, considering many of us run busy lives, but this is one of the most effective ways to stop coprophagia in dogs. For example, you can work from home if you have the chance. You can also leave them at a family member’s house (make sure your dog loves that family member). 

Exhausting Your Dog to Avoid Boredom 

Another trick to stop dogs from eating poop includes exhausting them both mentally and physically. Exercise and mental enrichment keep Fido from getting bored, and as we mentioned, boredom is one of the main reasons why dogs end up eating feces. Besides physical activity, toys that they can lick, chew, and sniff are a great way to get their minds away from poop.

Scooping and Bagging Up the Poop Immediately

Perhaps one of the quickest ways to stop a dog from eating poop is to immediately bag up the droppings. Having a poop bag or a poop scooper on you during walks or at hand when at home, you’ll be able to get rid of the feces before the unspeakable happens. That being said, consider investing in poop scoopers and bags to make your life easier.

Our Favorite and Highly Recommended Pooper Scoopers

The best way to stop a dog from eating its own poop is to simply remove the poop on the spot. That is where poop scoopers come in handy. PooPail’s regular size, tall size, and tall with wheels scoopers provide a quick and easy cleanup as soon as the poop drops, without needing to use tissues and run the risk of contamination. 

PooPail has a large storage capacity of four gallons, so you can save countless trips to the trash can. It also comes with liner bags that are plant-based, biodegradable, and compostable, The scooper’s ergonomic design allows it to open and close easily. Plus, it’s waterproof. 

With Poopail’s well-designed scoopers, you won’t have to wonder about how to stop your dog from eating poop anymore. Just remember to be faster than your canine friend in picking up the waste. 

To Wrap Up

All in all, coprophagia in dogs is a nasty and unpleasant behavior that can lead to many health problems for your dog and yourself. Despite being unpleasant to us, eating poop is somehow natural to our furry friends, so stopping them from acting against their nature needs a lot of care and training. The best you can do as a dog parent is to notice the problem, consult with a veterinarian, and know how to stop your dog from eating poop. Yes - it may take time and patience, but the result is a healthy dog that doesn’t smell like poop every time it opens its mouth.

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