Dogs are not known for their impeccable palates, that’s for sure. Why they enjoy raiding the garbage, munching on mulch, or lapping up toilet water is beyond us here at The Whole Pet Vet Hospital & Wellness Center.

Of all the yucky doggy delicacies out there, one is more disgusting than the rest. Why dogs eat poop may be a bit of a mystery, but we have some insight that may help you be a bit more understanding.

The Mystery of Why Dogs Eat Poop

Poop eating, more properly known as coprophagia, is a common canine indiscretion. Be it bunny droppings in the backyard, the cat’s litter box, or their own waste, this behavior is concerning to most pet owners. 

Coprophagia can put your pet at risk for intestinal parasites and is likely not helpful for doggy breath in general. If it is dramatic enough, poop eating behavior potentially can also cause nutritional deficiencies. 

Why dogs eat poop can be complicated. Common reasons for ongoing stool scarfing can include:

  • Nutritional or calorie deficiencies in the normal diet
  • A poorly digestible diet
  • Intestinal parasites resulting in nutrient malabsorption
  • Enzyme deficiency
  • Systemic disease or medication administration resulting in increased appetite

Beyond this, some poop eating is purely behavioral. A dog’s pack instincts often tell her to tidy up after packmates and pups. Dogs lacking environmental stimulation may also turn to poop as a toy. Some dogs even learn the behavior from others, so be sure that you choose your pup’s playmates wisely. 

What to Do With a Poop Eater

If you have caught your dog eating poop, there’s no need to panic. Other than a good tooth brushing, there isn’t much that you need to do. Routine intestinal parasite screening and parasite prevention should be part of your pooch’s regular wellness routine

If your pup is a perpetual poop eater, however, we should talk. Please make an appointment so that we can be sure that there are no underlying health issues. Once we have ruled out medical causes of coprophagia, we can try:

  • Altering the taste of your pet’s stool with a diet change or supplements.
  • Training your pet to wear a basket muzzle safely while outdoors.
  • Changing your poop pick up strategies.
  • Teaching your pooch to “leave it” on command.
  • Enriching your pet’s environment.

Understanding why dogs eat poop may be a little more complicated than one would think, but when we work together as a team we can often help curb the craving. Our staff is good at many things, and you can count solving poop eating problems among them.