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Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

dog eating poop

If I had to name the one thing that is responsible for most cases of coprophagia (poop eating), I would have to say it’s diet. Most of the time, it’s really that simple. Put a dog on a biologically appropriate diet, and presto, the coprophagia goes away!

Do dogs eat poop for other reasons? Yes. In some cases dogs develop poop eating habits that have to be broken through training, or sometimes they have malabsorption conditions that contribute, but I would say that 80% of the time you’re going to solve the problem with diet.

What kind of diet? I’m glad you asked! A biologically appropriate one.

I found a video of Dr Karen Becker (who I greatly admire) and she has done an excellent job of explaining the food options that are closest to a dog’s ancestral diet. For those of you that don’t have time to watch, I will recap below.

Raw Food is Best for Poop Eating Dogs

Raw food diets are the quickest path to stopping a poop eating habit. Dogs are carnivores and are built to eat meat. Raw meat as a matter of fact. Before dogs were domesticated, they never ate anything cooked, and carbohydrates were a small part of their diet. Raw food diets really are the most biologically appropriate for dogs, and probably the best cure for coprophagia available.

You have a couple of options when you’re going raw: you can buy frozen raw food or make your own. Please check out my post on raw dog food. There is quite a bit of misinformation out there on raw foods, and it’s a terrible shame because a raw food diet is just about the best thing you can do for your dog’s health.

Canned or Dehydrated Dog Foods

If you can’t or won’t go raw, then canned food is the next best thing for helping your dog kick a coprophagia habit. Of course, not just any canned food, but one that is extremely high quality (i.e. meat that is fit for human consumption) and has meat as it’s primary ingredient.

High quality dehydrated foods are also ok, as long as they’re meat based. If you haven’t used them, you simply add moisture to reconstitute them at feeding time. If you’re looking for information on which brands seem to work the best for poop eating dogs, please see my posts on recommended canned food brands and dehydrated food brands. Of course, premium foods are pricey, so you may also want to review the cheapest places to buy premium dog food online.

Coprophagia & Dry Dog Foods

Use them if you must, but know this: the low moisture content in dry foods puts a great deal of stress on your dog’s digestive system. Furthermore, most dry foods are much higher in carbohydrates than is biologically appropriate. And, many of these foods contain ingredients (corn, wheat/gluten, soy, dairy) that many dogs have hidden allergies to. Please read my post on dry dog foods and which ones work best for dogs with coprophagia.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Susan November 5, 2017, 9:42 am

    We have a 1 – year old rescue terrier mix we adopted 2- months ago and can’t seem to shake him of eating his poop. When we adopted him he was only 4.5 lbs. He is strong now and very active now, approximately 8 lbs. The shelter had to have all his fur shaved because he was so badly matted. He constantly wants to chew things. Even though we exercise him throughout the day and he has plenty of chew toys he wants to chew clothes and shoes! Any suggestions?

  • Jill L March 26, 2017, 1:38 pm

    My dog is about 7 years old. He’s been on a commercial raw diet (Carnivora) for 3 years and has recently started eating his poop. Is there a usual deficiency that causes this?
    In the meantime, I will try the pineapple as noted above. I hope he will eat it…

  • Julie January 24, 2017, 2:48 pm

    To stop dogs eating poo the answer is to feed them a bit of pineapple chunk with there food it makes dog poo taste horriblecso there you have it

  • Brittany May 9, 2016, 9:48 pm

    My dog has been eating poop since he was a puppy. I have also been feeding him a raw food diet with some boosts since then but he still does. I’ve been thinking he picked this up from the other dog we used to live with. What is your take on this?

  • Jay Thomas April 21, 2016, 11:37 pm

    I Thank you very much for your very useful guide. We were at a loss as to why our dog was eating her own poop and we were at the point of considering rehoming her when I found this diet on the web and gave it one last try. We are absolutely delighted with the results. Our little Ellie has not had a poopsicle in months. This has changed our lives. We still make sure the yard is clean but if we miss one, we do not worry about it too much. Thank you very much for all your help.

  • Sam February 12, 2016, 1:15 pm

    I am 1 year pup she likes eat her poop and also she does tell me when she needs to go out, I really need some help with this plz

  • Mickey December 10, 2015, 3:55 pm

    Looking forward to reading your Guide

  • TONY December 5, 2015, 6:46 am

    thank you

  • pinky November 29, 2015, 12:36 am

    My pet Alex is 5 months Labrador puppy he eats poop only when we leave him alone at home and he also enjoys cowdung when he is out on walk I feed him curd rice buttermilk raw veggies bajra roti wheat roti and pedigree veg please help me how to stop him eating his poop and also cowdung

  • Isabella November 2, 2015, 3:48 am

    Thank you for your great tips!

  • Linda Robertson October 27, 2015, 10:57 am

    My daughters puppy eats poop what do you suggest to stop this?

  • valentina burdier October 5, 2015, 5:47 am

    HI, i have a one year old Maltese. She is eating poop. I changed her food to Addiction Dehydrated food for dogs (outback kangaroo feast). Please let me know if this is a good choice for my doggie.

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