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Why Is My Dog Eating Poop?

A person is picking up a dog's feces.

Fido was doing their business in the backyard yesterday when, much to my disdain, Fido started eating their poop. After witnessing such a heinous act, the questions started flowing. Why is Fido doing this? What does eating poop mean? How can it be stopped?

The frantic search for answers began, and we are here to share our findings.

Reasons For Eating Poop

Coprophagia is the scientific name for this disgusting habit of our beloved dogs. Some dogs view poop as a delicacy (that will be a hard pass from us). We know it’s a common practice among dogs, but if they could stop, we’d appreciate it. Maybe we’ll let them lick our faces more if they stop.

The American Kennel Club states that eating poop can be behavioral or physiological. If Fido is eating their poop, we can ascertain a few things before allowing ourselves to full-on panic. 

  • How often has Fido been eating their poop?
  • What is Fido’s diet?
  • Are other dogs that Fido is in contact with eating their poop?
  • Has Fido been more anxious lately?

After gathering some preliminary poop eating data, one can dive deeper into why their poor Fido is eating their poop. 

Causes of Eating Poop

Although poop eating is in a dog’s DNA, it isn’t the most attractive quality in a dog. Some studies hypothesize that poop eating was to protect pack members in their den from parasites in feces. In modern adult dogs, poop eating may be caused by physiological or behavioral reasons.

Physiological Causes:

  • Parasites
  • Nutrient deficient diets
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Medication or drugs
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s
  • Thyroid disease

To rule out any of the listed causes, contacting Fido’s vet is the best starting place.

Behavioral causes:

Other causes that tend to be more behavioral are things like:

  • Being kept in isolation or restrictive areas for extended periods
  • Anxiety
  • Feeding near their bathroom
  • Living with a sick or elderly dog

The act of eating other dogs’ poop could also stem from instinctual habits within their DNA (protecting their pack from harmful parasites). Whether the reason(s) for Fido eating their poop is physiological or behavioral, there are some things dog owners can do to prevent poop eating by Fido.

Stop the Poop Eating

We all want to stop this repulsive habit of our dogs. Fido’s vet may prescribe any of these to assist with physiological causes of poop eating:

To assist in stopping poop eating due to behavioral reasons, a dog owner can:

  • Keep Fido’s area clean and tidy
  • Supervise bathroom habits on daily walks
  • Training (“leave it” and “come” commands)
  • Picking up feces daily

Let Us Help

We raise the woof with our poop clean-up services. Give us a call at (847) 212-5616 with any questions about our poop clean-up or other services. We are also available through email at or fill out our contact form.

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