Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

There are many reasons why your dog may eat poop. Thankfully, you have options for correcting this behavior.

Jan 20, 2024By Thalia Oosthuizen
why does my dog eat poop

Dogs eating poop is fairly common. Still, many owners want to find the reason behind their pets’ bizarre behavior. Just why do dogs eat their own poop, and what can we do to stop it?

If you’ve ever caught your dog in the act of eating feces, then wonder no more, as we have the answers (and a few simple solutions) for you.

Eating Poop Could Be an Ancestral Behavior

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Believe it or not, your furry best friend has a rich and interesting history when it comes to eating poop. As descendants of wolves, their eating habits may just be a nod to their ancestors’ resourcefulness. Just as a wolf mom would clean up her den and her pups by licking them clean, so do the more “modern” or domesticated dogs of today.

Coprophagia - Normal Behavior or a Warning Sign?

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Coprophagia: the not-so-glamorous term for that unique habit that dogs have for eating their own, or other animals, poop. While bizarre to us humans, this peculiar behavior is by no means rare, and approximately 25% of our beloved furry friends have been known to indulge in the not-so-gourmet cuisine. And while it could be a sign that your dog is lacking something nutrition-wise, there are a few reasons why Rover could be devouring the forbidden snack.

Here are a few other reasons:

Copying Behaviors

Dogs are excellent observers and generally curious by nature and will often copy the behaviors they see in other dogs. If your dog sees another dog doing the not-so-cool act of eating poop, they might just have a big old smell and think, “Hey, if Fluffy is doing it, it must be the thing to do!” Yes, peer pressure even exists in the animal world.

Boredom or Attention Seeking

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Dogs love attention from their human friends, and they will do just about anything to get it - including eating poop! If you catch your dog in the act of eating poop and gasp or shriek, they might just see it as a winning move that has caught your attention. Yes, it might be a bit gross to you, but in the doggy world, any attention is good attention.


Despite what you might think, dogs are surprisingly clean animals, and they, too, believe in keeping their space clean and tidy. If your dog is on a mission to maintain a clean territory, they might eat poop as part of their cleaning routine.

Nutritional Deficits

Yes, your dog might be eating poop to make up for a nutritional deficit. Poop eating is thought to be caused by a hydrochloric acid deficiency, and before you go and blame yourself, remember that there are things you can do to get on top of the problem and come up with a winning solution.

Poo-Nivorous Breeds: What Breeds Eat Poop?

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Certain breeds, like Beagles and terriers, are more famous for this behavior. It could be a funny genetic quirk, or just a shared secret club of poop lovers among these breeds. But, do remember that every dog is unique, and some just have a flair for the dramatic or the downright bizarre behavior that is poop-eating.

But, the truth is that all dogs, whether big or small, have been known to eat their own poop.

Solutions for Coprophagia

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This is the part you have all been waiting for as we share a few simple solutions to helping your pup overcome their poop-eating behavior. From supplements to home remedies, we have it all.


As we have mentioned, dog experts think that a hydrochloric acid deficiency is to blame for poop-eating. A quick trip to the vet for specialty supplements and vitamins could make a world of difference and put a stop to your dog’s behavior. One of the more popular supplements is For-Bid, which can be added to your dog's food and makes their poop taste especially bad.

Home Remedies

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Prefer to try natural remedies before spending loads of money on supplements? That’s okay, too, because we’ve done the research. A quick change in diet, or whipping up some DIY dog dinners, could make the world of difference.

Here are a few of the more popular tried-and-tested remedies:

  1. Zucchini: Increasing your pup’s fiber intake might just change the texture of their poop, making it inedible or difficult to eat.
  2. Apple cider vinegar: Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar per 25 pounds of body weight to your pup’s food. This will increase the hydrochloric acid content, and hopefully stop your dog from eating its poop.
  3. Pineapples: Giving your dog pineapples every so often might just make their poop more acidic and deter your pup from his poop-eating behavior.

Poop eating is not necessarily dangerous, but it could lead to your dog having bad breath or vomiting. If you’re at any time concerned about your dog’s well-being, we advise you to call your local vet.

Mentally Stimulating Your Dog

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And, just in case you thought we forgot about those dogs who eat their own poop out of boredom or for attention-seeking, here are a few remedies for this behavior, too:

  • Provide your dog with distractions in the form of toys and other chewable playthings
  • Taking your dog running to burn off excess energy
  • Show your dog more attention

Dogs are more than just pets. Show your dog some extra love today and help them overcome their poop-eating problem in no time.

Dogs Eating Poop Is No Cause for Alarm

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So, why does your dog eat poop? Whether they’re pretending to be ancient wolves, searching for missing nutrients, or just trying to get your attention in the most bizarre ways, the answer could be as varied as your pup’s personality.

Before you work yourself up into a panic and think that there is something wrong with your beloved pooch, try out the remedies we have provided. If you still find that your pup is indulging in his after-dinner treat, a quick visit to the vet might clear up a few things.

Thalia Oosthuizen
By Thalia Oosthuizen

Thalia has been a freelance writer for over a decade and a dog (and animal) lover for over 30 years. She grew up on a farm where, at one stage, she had 15 dogs. She currently has one dog, Avery - an adorable pavement special with an extra toe on each foot, and two rescue cats - Boris and Mango. In her spare time, Thalia enjoys running, cycling, swimming, and reading