Skip to main content

Why Dogs Eat Poop and How to Deal With This Gross Behavior

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Dr. Rachel Barrack, Veterinarian, Animal Acupuncture

Why is my dog eating poop?

Why is my dog eating poop?

My Dog Ate Poop, Now What?

There are many types of poop eaters. Some dogs only eat their own poop, other dogs love eating cat poop, and some special connoisseurs only enjoy grass-flavored poop, especially from horses and goats. Bird droppings are also a delicacy that is in frequent demand by very many dogs.

If your dog is eating poop, you are definitely not alone.

It is actually a very common thing among dogs. Dogs are not humans, and they think and learn differently than we do. What smells and tastes good to them can be very different from what smells and tastes good to us.

There is one circumstance when it's considered quite normal for a dog to eat feces. Mother dogs may deliberately ingest their puppies' feces to hide their scent while the babies are still vulnerable and hidden away in the den or nest. However, for reasons of cleanliness and health (intestinal parasites), it is generally a good idea to stop your dog from eating poop.

Why does my dog eat poop, and how can I stop them?

Why does my dog eat poop, and how can I stop them?

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

"There are many reasons why a dog may eat their own feces (coprophagia) or the feces of another animal," says Dr. Jacob Vencil, a veterinarian in St. Augustine, Florida. "The most common would be behavioral. Meaning, as strange as this may sound, the dog simply enjoys eating feces. Think of it like a person eating a booger."

Common Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop

  • The most common reason for dogs to eat other animals' poop is that they simply enjoy the taste.
  • Nutritional imbalance, specifically digestive enzyme deficiency, can lead dogs to eat feces.
  • Dogs under stress may eat poop to relieve anxiety.
  • Understimulated or underexercised dogs may eat feces out of boredom.
  • A dog may simply be curious about the taste.
  • Dogs may eat their own poop in order to please their owner, effectively cleaning up after themselves.

Is My Dog Eating Poop Because He's Enzyme Deficient?

Stool-eating can occur because the dog is lacking certain digestive enzymes or nutrients. When this occurs, the dog will eat his own poop to conserve those much-needed elements. Studies have shown that insufficient vitamin B1 can cause poop eating.

Dogs on dry food diets will often develop coprophagia as a way to make up for a chronic enzyme deficiency. Commercial dog food is higher in carbohydrates and lower in meat-based proteins and fats than their ancestral canine diet.

Is My Dog Under Stress?

Dogs will sometimes eat their own poop to relieve stress. This usually only occurs when the dog is extremely anxious.

This has happened to my Shiba Inu twice, both times at the vet when he was getting his shots. Shiba Sephy is extremely sensitive to handling and to pain, so vet visits are always a high-stress affair.

Different dogs will have different anxieties, fears, and stress triggers that may result in stool eating. For example, dogs with extreme separation anxiety may poop and then eat their own poop when left alone.

Is My Dog Eating Poop Just Because He's Bored?

If dogs are left alone all day, with very little human contact and very little to do, their only choice for self-entertainment may be to play with and eat their own poop. Imagine if we were cooped up in the house all day with nothing to do, we would go a little bit crazy as well. Think cabin fever and The Shining.

Is My Dog Just Curious About the Taste?

Puppies or young dogs may eat poop out of curiosity. Everything is new to a puppy, so he may want to explore and manipulate all that he sees with his mouth, including animal droppings. It is best to train a puppy not to engage in stool eating as early as possible so that it does not become a habit when he grows up.

Some Dogs Eat Poop to Please Their Owner

Harsh potty training techniques may cause some dogs or puppies to eat their own poop in an effort to appease us or to avoid painful punishment.

Remember the antiquated trick of rubbing a dog's nose in their feces when they poop in the wrong place? This can send mixed messages to a dog about getting feces on their mouth.

Some dogs may also see us cleaning up their poop in the house (den) and try to mimic that behavior. This is why many trainers suggest that we do not clean up potty mistakes in front of our dogs.

Consistent feeding times will regulate your dog's digestive system and make it easier to supervise their pooping behavior.

Consistent feeding times will regulate your dog's digestive system and make it easier to supervise their pooping behavior.

How Can I Get My Dog to Stop Eating Poop?

Here are some common techniques to stop our dog from eating poop:

  1. Feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet. This will keep a dog's digestive system healthy and provide him with all the nutrients that his body needs. An easy way to provide our dog with a balanced diet is through high-quality kibble. Make sure the kibble has good protein sources that are from meat, rather than from grains, which are more difficult for our dogs to digest. Stay away from kibble that contains gluten (e.g., wheat gluten). Compared to meat protein, gluten is less nutritionally complete and may contain contaminants.
  2. Keep a consistent feeding schedule and supervise their poop time. A consistent eating schedule will also keep a dog's stool regular. This makes it easier to supervise and prevent our dog from eating his own poop. Scheduled feedings will also help to prevent overeating and obesity issues down the road.
  3. Exercise your dog and keep him busy. Play fun games with your dog, walk him regularly, and do frequent obedience training sessions. A well-exercised dog is better-behaved at home and less likely to eat poop out of boredom.
  4. Keep the environment clean. If there is no free poop lying about then our dog cannot engage in opportunistic stool eating.
  5. Reduce stress. Try to reduce our own stress and keep our dog relaxed. When we are calm, our dog will have an easier time staying calm as well. This results in a better quality of life for everyone and will stop stool eating behavior that results from stress.
  6. Teach your dog the "Leave it" command. "Leave it!" helps us communicate to our dog what is acceptable to eat and what is not. Poop is unacceptable to eat, as are some common houseplants such as oleander, and some common people food, such as onions and chocolates, which are poisonous to our dogs.
  7. Make the poop taste bad. One of the most common ways to stop stool eating is to make the poop taste bad to our dogs. Adding meat tenderizer to dog food is one way to do this. Canned pumpkin, spinach, and pineapple juice may work as well. However, this only works when we have full control of the environment. In addition, it only targets the symptoms of poop eating rather than addressing the issue at its source. (Note: Consult the vet first before adding any of these to your dog's food. Adding too much may be bad for a dog and cause digestive issues. A dog may also be allergic to some of these ingredients.)
Sometimes dogs eat feces as a way of relieving stress.

Sometimes dogs eat feces as a way of relieving stress.

What Is Coprophagia?

Coprophagia is the term for when an animal eats their own feces. Some dogs eat their own poop for purely behavioral reasons (they're curious or want attention), but there can also be medical explanations for this behavior.

One possibility is that the dog is not fully absorbing the nutrients in its food. Perhaps they have parasites, or their food is hard for them to digest. These possible issues can be tested for by a veterinarian.

What Is Pica?

Pica is a medical term for when an animal eats non-food items, like dirt, rocks, paper, cloth, and mulch. In most cases, it is a compulsive behavior problem.

Depending on what your dog is eating, pica can have serious health consequences. Take your dog to the vet if you see them eating inedible objects. Most likely, this behavior won't go away on its own, and there may be an underlying medical issue, though it's unlikely that poor diet is the problem.

"If your pet is fed a high-quality, well-balanced diet, pica as a result of nutritional deficiency is very rare," says Dr. Vencil.

Can My Dog Get Sick From Eating Bird Droppings?

Yes, there is a fungal infection that dogs get from eating contaminated soil or bird droppings. Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus. The fungus then enters the dog's intestinal tract and an infection develops from there.

The most common symptoms are weight loss, lack of appetite, and diarrhea.

If your dog eats poop their breath will smell terrible!

If your dog eats poop their breath will smell terrible!

How to Clean Your Dog's Mouth After They Eat Poop

If your dog sneaks a little cat or bird poop snack while out on a walk, you'll be able to smell it on their breath.

  1. Find a toothpaste designed for pets. They're flavored like poultry and are safe to use. Never use human toothpaste or baking soda.
  2. Use a pet toothbrush with soft bristles or a child's toothbrush. Moisten it and apply toothpaste.
  3. Let your dog have a dab of the toothpaste first so they can get used to the taste.
  4. Left your dog's lip to expose their teeth and gums.
  5. Brush in gentle motions to clean the teeth and gums. Clean the outside tooth surfaces. Most dogs won't let you brush the inside surfaces.
  6. Reward your dog with play and pets to thank them for their patience and create positive reinforcement!
Try to reduce your own stress and keep your dog relaxed.

Try to reduce your own stress and keep your dog relaxed.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Dora on June 20, 2020:

You're wasting your time waiting for an answer here on 'Pet Helpful'. If you look back the last problem that was answered was 8 years ago. I posted my problem about my poop eating dog 2 years ago, still waiting for advice.

Amanda tate on June 12, 2020:

My 4-5 month old puppy(husky) will sit there and eat my kittens poop and then my 7 month old puppy(husky) will sit there and eat my bird food with bird droppings and he is on a regular food diet and they're on a schedule they play a lot so I don't see why they keep eating this stuff and it's nasty the only thing I'm going to do is get some pet toothpaste and I will start cleaning his mouth and they eat non-food things cardboard or plastic, shoes, magnets anything to get their hands on I don't know how to stop it .


June Cooke on May 28, 2019:

My 14 week pup tries to eat slugs in the garden. Most of the time I am quick to get it off him but he occasionally eats one. He is up to date with his worm and flea treatment should I be worried

Jolena Mills on March 09, 2019:

I need help i have 2 mwle 9 week old puppies and they eat each others poop is this normal???

Noemi on January 08, 2019:

I need help i have 2 Shi Zu and the youngest is now 7 months eat his poop but i bought something in Amazon called Coprophagia and he stop for a little bit Now he takes the poop from the Pad and take it all over my house also the other day he literally poop on my couch and started to roll the poop with his noise around!!! What can I do ??? PLEASE help me with any suggestion ???

Ruby hibbs on November 21, 2018:

My dog will pick in the trash looking for dirty diapers. She will eat my great grandsons poopy diapers. She will not do it when im home but she will do it when shes alone .How do i stop her ? And she howls now when she is left alone how do i stop her

Kathy on October 12, 2018:

Hi our dog has started licking bird poo off our garden rocks, just wondering how we can stop this and can he get sick from it . As he is a very healthy 4 yr old . Cheers kathy

Hilma on June 16, 2018:

My dog is eating his poop when he poops in the house or his cage. This has only started since his dog buddy died. What can I do? He will eat it then throw it up sometimes. He is getting old and not in the best of health anymore. But it is wearing on us.

Dora on April 06, 2018:

Our 3 year old Lab eats poop, any poop will do; dog, cat, horse, goose, duck, bird. As she's getting older she's getting worse, it's more of an obsession now! She's good as gold when she's indoors or on the lead but the minute she's let loose, in the woods for example, she DOES NOT LISTEN! She could spend a whole day in the woods searching for and eating poop. She's not in the least concerned that I've walked on and I'm out of sight, her only concern is poop! I've tried all the 'leave it' stuff and given her a treat but that only works when she's on the lead and I can drag her off the poop and give her the treat. When she's off the lead she doesn't give a toss about any treats, she prefers poop. I've tried an electric collar, which seemed a bit cruel, but that didn't help either, the poop eating was worth the slight shock she received. Mostly it does no harm and she had her regular worm treatment but there's times when I've tried to ignore her and let her get on with it and she come back home and thrown her guts up, several times! What can I do?

Baker on December 27, 2017:

Our almost 2 year old Shepherd cleans the butt of his 7 month old brother (also Shepherd from same parents, next litter) after he poops and sometimes as he is pooping. The young one can never get out there without the older one right there with his head literally up his butt ready licking away.

How can we get him to stop?

When we try to sneak one out the door without the other he wines to get out, and checks him right after and then runs to the fresh poo to check it out. Watching him eat soft serve is really nauseous. Is there something we can do?


Terrie Froehlich on February 16, 2017:

My dog had not eaten his poop in many years and that time did not last long, but nowI have to be right out there or he will hurry and get it. It is so disgusting. Our family dynamic has changed because of medical illness in the family. Before this I took her out for a walk a coupletimes a day and she did everything with her, everthing has changed dramatically and I can not fix it. What else can I do. I tell her to leave it and say come get a treat and sometime she will and other times it does not work. Please help me. Thank you.

Dee on December 18, 2016:

It sounds like when dogs eat poop they get enzymes and nutrients they are craving. I would venture to say that it has more nutritional value than drinking soda.

Abhishek on December 18, 2016:

Hi, my st bernard pup eats her poop when she is alone. Whats should i do?

mohit on December 17, 2016:

I have 5 month german shephard puppy regularly he eat her own poop i m worry about these so plese help me

jenny on June 03, 2013:

Hi. I have a 10 year old Labrador that has started to eat dog poo when out on walks, He has never done this before! he is fed the same time every morning and also walked every morning, and he is never on his own as I work from home. Why has he started this??

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on March 07, 2013:

Our pup eats her poop and we're working on the 'leave it' command. Most of the time she gets it, but sometimes she goes for it anyway. Sigh. Nice hub!

Taylor H on August 29, 2012:

Don't feed your dog Garlic Cloves!

shibashake (author) on May 15, 2012:

Hello Marilyn,

Dogs may sometimes eat their own poop when their food is not easily digestible, or when they are lacking certain nutrients. I looked up Bil-Jac and it contains cornmeal as one of its main ingredients, which can be difficult to digest for dogs. Here is an interesting review I found-

Here is a bit more on what I look for when choosing kibble for my dogs-

Here is a bit more on poop deterrents-

Marilyn on May 12, 2012:

I have just noticed in the last couple of days that my new Maltese puppy, Lily, is eating her poop. She is currently on dry Bil-Jac for small breed puppies. Any suggestions for a dry food additive that would possibly deter?

shibashake (author) on April 13, 2012:

Dogs may sometimes do this if there are ingredients that are not easily digestible, so there may still be nutrients in the poop that comes out.

Are there grains, gluten, or fillers in the food?

awsomepainter on April 11, 2012:

I have 3 shitzue's and reciently changed their diet to better food because they r pregnant( food that is for pregnancy). They r eating their poop more, i mean every time, even the male. Is it because they like the food so much, which they have access to all the time, or it needs to be changeged again. I am going to try pumpkin or pineapple, but why all of a sudden all three r doing this

shibashake (author) on March 20, 2012:

Hello Nel,

One of my Sibes is like that. She loves to eat and will keep eating if she can. Whenever she loses her appetite, I know that something is seriously wrong with her.

Given a dog's ancestry, I think some of it may be part of their survival instinct. In the wild, animals usually eat all that they can because tomorrow there may not be any food available.

In terms of poop eating, it can sometimes be because of nutrients, but there are many other reasons. What works best for my dogs is to train them not to eat poop by rewarding them to Leave-It and taking away something valuable (e.g. ending their nice walk) when they try to sneak in a poop treat. :D

shibashake (author) on March 20, 2012:

Hello Belinda,

The things that most help with my dogs are-

1. Cleaning up the environment.

2. Close supervision when there is poop eating possibility.

3. Training them not to eat poop with the Leave-It command, and using strong motivators.

Both my Sibes used to like eating outside poop - mostly cat and deer. They also really liked their walk. So I trained them to Leave-It. If they try to sneak in some poop eating, then I march them home and end the walk right away. In this way, they learn that-

Eating poop = don't get to enjoy nice outside walk.

That was a strong enough motivator to get them to stop eating the stuff.

belinda on March 19, 2012:

Hi, just went outside and saw the puppy eating her poop, I have noticed overtime that she sniffs it a lot but never seen her eat it, she is 10mths old shiatsu x toy poodle, her name is Lexi. I don't know whether she has done this before - she'll not be licking my face again - lol :)

She does eat human food, not too much, a bit of boiled or pan fried chicken at night, ever 2nd or 3rd night, bit of toast and egg for breaky (that's from me), eats apple, carrot and a few other raw veges, shared by my daughter. We feed her dry and puppy canned food.

Any suggestions?

Nel on March 19, 2012:

P.s. She has eaten a variety of top quality kibble her whole life (Innova, Wellness,Natures Variety, and now a human grade brand called Life's Abundance).Every now and then, she gets wet food added for more variety, and even has had Missing Link added and doggietrace minerals, too, in attempts to stop the poop eating. The bad taste additives, specifically made for that problem didn't work for her. Just made her vomit a watery substance. All I can do is quickly clean up poop. She's fifteen years old, and no apparent medical problems, ever.She has always been this way. I got her at the normal age of 8 weeks old,but did notice she had the roundest belly among her siblings. I bought her with another doxie pup from a different litter at same house. Not stressed, not fighting for her food. Just strange... Thats why im wondering if its an issue of failing to have an inability to feel full...

Nel on March 19, 2012:

I have a doxie that has NEVER gotten to feel full after eating. She gulps her food, not chewing, even large dog kibble, and she has never left one spec of food when fed. I used to joke that if left her unattended with a 25 lb. bag of kibble, I bet she wouldn't stop, just keep eating, throw it up, probably, and keep eating, more, until she exploded. Anyway, I only fed her rationed food to keep her from gorging herself. She very quickly became fat, when I fed her just a teeny bit more.I feed her with a bowl that is designed to slow her eating. So, as you can imagine, this dog has been and is a ravenous poop eater. Sorry if this is too disgusting, but I caught her one time, as she was defecating, actually turn around during her business and eat it before it hit the ground! I think something is wrong with her system where she is unable to feel full. Is this Possible?

Melanie on March 19, 2012:

Our Boxer would eat his own poop..I talked with the vet and she stated put Lawery's seasoning salt on their food...I did it about 2 days...he never did it said it taste good going down but smelled terrible coming out..she must have been telling the truth never had no more problem...

shibashake (author) on February 29, 2012:

Hello Salomi,

I have noticed that my dogs like being most with the people that they have the strongest bond with, i.e. the people who feed them, exercise them, train them, and help them fulfill their needs and goals.

If we build a strong bond with our dog, he will want to stay most with us.

salomi on February 28, 2012:

my puppy's mother is my neighbour's dog will i have a problem in future? as in wll the puppy go back to its mother later?

shibashake (author) on February 23, 2012:

Big hugs to you too.

What is your dog's name? He sounds like a pretty amazing and lucky guy.

nancy on February 23, 2012:

Thanks. I do think this is an age and shame thing. I love him so I will keep cleaning up after him.

shibashake (author) on February 22, 2012:

Add - Many dog diapers only deal with urine, so make sure to check that they support both dog poop and pee.

shibashake (author) on February 22, 2012:

Hello Nancy,

Likely, he just has no control over it. Dog diapers are a possibility, but I would consult with a vet first. There could be other better solutions, depending on the source of the issue.

This thread may also be useful-

Big hugs to your old guy.

nancy on February 21, 2012:

My dog is 18 years old. He recently started going to the bathroom in the house. He started eating his own poop and now he licks up his pre. Up until recently he was totally housebroken. Even when I walk him he'll go in the house a little later. He's so old -hard of hearing and blind - I feel guilty if I yell at him to stop. I am afraid to walk in my house barefoot. Any suggestions? Oh, I did get 2 kittens 7 months ago but they leave him alone. Help

shibashake (author) on February 19, 2012:

Hello Baron de Otero,

Very nice to meet you!

Many dogs find bird poop and cat poop to be irresistible. Some things that helped with my furry friends -

1. Leave-It command.

2. Some people use a citronella collar to discourage poop eating. However, that is an aversive smell stimulus, and may carry with it some of the risks of aversive techniques.

Baron de Otero on February 17, 2012:

My name is Baron. I am an 8 year old Dalmation male who was fixed by my mistress. I now live on a lake that has many geese and ducks who come upon my grass.... they go poop poop all over the place. I like to roll in it and eat it. My mistress gets stressed when I roll in the goose poop and gobble it up. I also like to eat kitty-kat poop. My mistress also does not approve of this. Please help me to stop craving goose poop to eat .... I eat Science Diet food and am almost over weight so I am not craving food or trying to supplement a diet deficiency. Will eating this great goose poop cause me any health probems? My mistress is getting very frustrated with me. Help me to dislike goose and kitty kat poop.

Elray on February 11, 2012:

Thnks for the info.

I recently bought this medicine and put it in Ally's food bowl for her to eat along with her dinner/lunch. She hasn't eaten her own poop since.

shibashake (author) on February 09, 2012:

From observing my breeder, it seems that once her puppies got older, she only let the mother dog in to interact with puppies at certain fixed times.

She made sure to clean things up before letting mom in, and she supervised their time together so that she can prevent stool eating.

A fixed puppy eating schedule and on-leash potty supervision can also help.

ann on February 08, 2012:

my puppy is 17 weeks old and her mother is still eating her poop. vet said it would stop when she stopped feeding her. it didn't. since then i have had her spade and she is still doing it. i need help

shibashake (author) on January 30, 2012:

Hello Lisa,

Stress can also cause a dog to suddenly eat poop. Like your Doberman, my Shiba Inu disdains dog poop. However, when he was under extreme stress at the vet office, he ate his own poop. Some dogs also eat poop due to separation anxiety and other anxiety issues.

When under stress, eating poop is sometimes used by dogs as a displacement behavior.

Has anything changed in your schedule or daily routine? Has anything changed in the interaction between the dogs? Do any of the other dogs eat poop?

Is your Doberman girl eating and drinking regularly? How is her energy level? What is the quality of her stool?

Lisa on January 29, 2012:

Are there any medical conditions other than diet? I have a 6 year old Doberman who would rather die then get near poop. Now all of a sudden she is eating it. I have 5 dogs so I can't be sure if its her own or someone elses. Its very very out of character for her and I'm starting to worry.

shibashake (author) on January 28, 2012:

Hello Lisa,

Does the cat poop in a litter box? It is probably easiest to move the litter box to some place that the puppy can't get to.

As for the dog poop, what helped with my dogs was to keep everyone on a very fixed eating schedule. This ensures that their poop schedule will also be regular. Initially, I had puppy on lead when we first go out to the backyard. Then, I only let her off when everyone has done their business and I have cleaned everything up.

Teaching puppy the Leave-It command can also help.

Another possibility is to use smell aversion, such as a citronella collar. I generally prefer to try the other techniques first before using anything aversive.

lisa on January 28, 2012:

I have a 8 month old st. Bernard puppy that eats my other dogs and cats poop. I have tried the medicine and pineapple without any luck. He only gets nutritious foods so I'm not sure what to do. He's not bored,I think he just will eat anything. This is so gross. Any suggestions? He's faster than me to get to the poop. He watches the other dogs and runs to get a mouth full as soon as he can. He loves it fresh.

shibashake (author) on January 24, 2012:

Hello Michelle,

It could be a dietary thing. Here is more on what to look for in kibble-

On-leash supervision can also be helpful.

shibashake (author) on January 24, 2012:

Dear Elray,

I apologize for not responding. When you posted your comment, I was having issues with HubPages with regard to comments on this hub. By the time it was resolved, some time had passed, and I did not think you would be back to check on replies.

Congratulations on your Sibe puppy. Both my Sibes did not eat their own poop, but they liked poop from other animals.

What I did was first teach them the Leave-It command.

Then, when we are out in areas where they may eat poop, I make sure they are on-leash. In this way, if they ignore the leave-it command, I can stop them with the leash. Then, I end the walk so that they learn that if they try to eat poop, the nice walk ends.

If they eat poop in the backyard, then a time-out is a possibility.

Michelle Miller on January 23, 2012:

Hello I have a Maltese and she eats her poo and she is eating Ims dog food and I dont know what to do to stop her from eating her poo thanks for healping

shibashake (author) on January 20, 2012:

Hello Melissa,

"Is there anything I can put in my cat's food (she eats dry only) that will make the her poo unappetizing?"

Cats have different physiology, so it is best to ask a vet.

Another possibility is to use a taste deterrent on the cat poop itself. Here is an article on taste deterrents from the ASPCA-

Note that taste deterrents are added to the poop and *not* to the food.

shibashake (author) on January 20, 2012:

Hello Cindy,

It sounds like it could be a dietary thing. What food are you currently feeding puppy?

Here is a bit more on what to look for in dog kibble-

Melissa on January 18, 2012:

My dog (3 year old Daschund) doesn't eat her poo, she eats the cat's poo. My cat uses a litter box and goes outside. My dog only eats the poo that is outside. I've never caught her in the litter box. Is there anything I can put in my cat's food (she eats dry only) that will make the her poo unappetizing?

Cindy on January 18, 2012:

My Shi-poo is about 5 months old and continuing to sneak and eat her poop. When she is being supervised she leaves it. It is when we are not looking she hurries up and goes so she could have a warm snack! We tried the meat tenderizer as advised from the vet but still hasn't worked. PLEASE HELP!!!

Elray on January 04, 2012:

I have a 3 month old Siberian Husky and she recently started to eat her own poop. She is well fed everyday and when I tell her not to eat her own poop, she keeps doing it anyway. So everyday I clean up her poop as quickly as I can because she'll always eat it. She's taken on long walks everyday to, how can I stop her behaviour?

shibashake (author) on December 28, 2011:

Hello Rachel,

What has worked best with my dogs is to teach them the Leave-It command.

Initially, I trained my Shiba on-leash so that I can easily stop him if need be, and so that he doesn't get rewarded with eating the stuff.

Some people train the Leave-It command with an aversive smell stimulus such as a citronella collar. However, my preference is always to use reward training first.

Rachel on December 28, 2011:

Hi, I recently got a 6 month old.long haired dachshund. She eats my mom's cat's poop! I can't put the litterbox up higher because the cat is old and fat. I don't want the cat getting hurt trying to jump up somewhere to go to the bathroo. What should I do instead?

hormaba on December 21, 2011:

i recently adopted a 5 month longhaired dachshund. He went through alot of stress since he traveled from Oklahoma to Dallas to Miami, where he got sick and then traveled when well (on the plane with me) to Dominican Republic. This was a month ago, and Kocco is now 6 months, he eats he's poop and my other daschshund poop. He has also lost his house training. I tried the POTTY MOUTH pills you put in the food, and it didn't work; I tried the pineapple, and he would eat the food and not the fruit.... I am getting a little frustrated with the peeing all over and the pooping eating has been the icing on the cake. HELP!!!!!!!

susan on December 16, 2011:

@ryan. i have an almost two year old corgi who also eats poop in the dog park. she also knows she isn't supposed to. her behavior is obvious to other owner in the park who know us. i, too, am trying to decide about a shock collar (i would use vibration only)...i have purchased one, but it seems rather violent - even on just vibration so i haven't used it...yet.

but, i am totally at a loss as to what else to do. other dog owners (whom she knows) also try to help me correct her behavior. she even chooses to eat poop in the middle of a great chase or wrestling match. i'm afraid that she thinks eating poop her her job...

what i really find most disheartening is the fact that other owners don't clean up after their dogs - many intentionally (i've had people say, "i'll get it next time). at one point i would do a sweep of the park as soon as i got there, some days picking up 10# of poop or more!

anyway, i'm sorry i don't have an answer, just thought i'd let you know you're not alone.

shibashake (author) on December 08, 2011:

Hmmm, it is possible that he is eating it because of stress (separation anxiety) or boredom.

Here are some ways to deal with separation anxiety-

ines on December 07, 2011:

my dog eats poop but i'm afraid something will happen to him he started to do that after we took him to the doctors to get a shot he only 4 months and since that he started to eat it i suppose it because he home alone all day until 3 but what should i do ?

shibashake (author) on December 07, 2011:

Hello Lorie,

Yeah it sounds like it could be a nutritional thing. Does she still try to eat poop when she is on the bland boiled chicken diet?

shibashake (author) on December 07, 2011:

Thanks for sharing your Shiba's story with us Scott. Glad to hear that things are improving.

Lorie on December 06, 2011:

MI just took away a piece of poop from my 6 year old Siberian Husky, and she went right over and got another one. It was from our newest adoptee, a 2 yr. old female.

Kaylee (the 6 yr. old), has an extremely delicate system and has been on ID kibble for a year or so. We tried to put her on a grain free diet (Evo) with the other two, (Dakota age 8, and Tesla the 2 yr. old), and her system went berserk. She threw up and had diarrhea, even after the 10 days of introducing it into her ID food. We took her to the vet and they prescribed Metronidazole and a stool sample check, which was clear of parasites. She is now on boiled chicken and white rice, with a little bit of ID kibble mixed in, twice daily. Her stools have firmed up a little, not completely, but better than before. She seems starved all the time and I'm wondering if she smells the food in the other dog's stool.

My other two huskies (ages 8 and 2) are doing well on the Evo grain free kibble. None of the dogs has ever been interested in poop before, and this was the first time I'd ever seen one of them eat it.

Scott on December 06, 2011:

I also have a Shiba, and she has been a poo eater since we got her. I have a feeling it may be behaviour she learnt from her mother in the kennel but I have no doubt she thinks it is a very tasty treat indeed. She is a great dog, but there is nothing worse that her breath after she has had a little snack :( We have started to feed her chopped pineapple with her meal, which I don't think she likes very much, but I have to say i think it is working in general. I have just caught her in the act now, which is why I am again searching these type of pages, but I will persist with the pineapple because it has certainly curbed the problem.

Camryn on December 03, 2011:

We have tried everything we have tried making the poop taste bad, trying to keep the back yard clean, we feed her twice a day very healthy food, and we exercise her a lot, but she still does it and it's GROSS

KC on December 01, 2011:

KC is a 1 year old akita chow mix and she constantly eats the poop of my 7 year old rottwieler I have tried almost everything to get her to stop. I wish I could get her to stop. What would be the reason in this case?

shibashake (author) on November 30, 2011:

I briefly considered using shock collars but decided against it for these reasons-

Ryan on November 30, 2011:

My dog loves to eat poop at the dog park and he knows he's not supposed to eat them but he's mischievous. When he's on leash, he doesn't eat the poop. If he tries to, I use the leave-it command successfully. I am seriously considering getting a remote shock collar just for dog parks. I don't know what else to do...

shibashake (author) on November 21, 2011:

Hello Carlos,

Unfortunately, I do not speak Spanish.

I have an account on Facebook, but I don't visit Facebook very often. Mostly, I just drop by to look at dog pictures that my friends have shared.

shibashake (author) on November 20, 2011:

Sorry to hear that your dog was stolen Carlos. That is an awful thing to have happened, and I hope they catch the thief soon.

carlos on November 20, 2011:

my dog is not lost it is stoden

Carlos on November 19, 2011:

Name of dog bolillo but i do not know How old is he

cmahoney on November 19, 2011:

I have a 4 1/2 year old lab. He started eating (and rolling in) poop at the dog park about a year ago. He does not eat his own. Beyond the disgusting behavior he then comes home and throws up or has diarrhea all over the carpet. He gets a lot of exercise, has a balanced diet and eats prior to going to the park. He does not eat his own. He totally ignores the "leave it" command. I am at my wits end...

shibashake (author) on November 19, 2011:

Hello Carlos,

I am sorry you lost your puppy. What is his name? How old is he? Is he micro-chipped?

Hopefully, one of your neighbors will see him and bring him home.

shibashake (author) on November 15, 2011:

Hello Patti,

When my dogs attempt to eat poop during walks, I usually use the Leave-It command. If they ignore the command and continue to try to eat the poop, then I quickly end the walk and march them home.

This teaches them that eat poop = end of fun walk, while Leave-It = gets rewarded with attention and high priority treats.

patti on November 12, 2011:

My dog recently started eating cat poop and also some others animals poop like deers racoon etc any idea how to stop him he is one year old bearded collie mix, and very sweet. HELP!!!!

shibashake (author) on November 11, 2011:

"He prefers to stay underneath my bed"

Hmmm, could he be eating poop out of stress or separation anxiety?

If so, then helping him cope with stress when he is away from you could lessen the behavior.

It sounds like he is very used to doing it, so breaking the habit may take a fair amount of effort and supervision.

I would be most concerned that this constant regurgitation may impact his health. Perhaps have a chat with the vet and see what they say.

Also consider taking him to see a professional trainer who can perhaps identify whether the poop eating behavior is a result of stress or something else.

shibashake (author) on November 11, 2011:

Hello Becky,

"He is very submissive and easy to train"

That is great!

What has helped me with my own dogs is to teach them the Leave-It command.

When they "Leave-It" and don't eat poop they get rewarded really well with very good treats and play, but when they do eat the stuff, there is an undesirable consequence. Usually, I end the fun walk or they lose their backyard privileges.

It this way, they learn that they get more good stuff if they leave poop alone.

shibashake (author) on November 11, 2011:

"Is he trying to be neat and help me clean up?"

It is difficult to say for sure, but it could be a dietary thing. Do you feed each dog different food? It could be that there is something in the other food that he really wants.

Several things that may help-

1. Call the dog to us.

2. If the dog does not have good recall, then we can put him on a long line so that we have quick control.

3. Use sound aversion to distract/startle him so that we can get there and prevent him from eating the stuff.

We want to reward the dog if he comes to us and/or moves away from the poop. If he keeps trying to get at the poop even after we have told him not to, then there should be a consequence, e.g. losing his backyard privileges for a time.

Raquel on November 11, 2011:

My dog has been eating his own feces since I got him about 5yrs ago. However, he'd only do it while in my mother's backyard (he'd eat the feces of her 2 dogs). But now, he's eating the feces in his kennel while I'm not home. Honestly, if he just ate his own feces, it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

But, he eats the feces and then, inevitably, throws it back up. And when it comes back out a second time, it is NOT the same. It's a complete mess and gets everywhere. He prefers to stay underneath my bed, so of course the majority of his episodes happen there. It soaks into the carpet and the stain is impossible to get out. What else should I be doing? I can't be at home with him all the time. I work and even come home on lunch break to take him out to go to the bathroom.

Becky on November 10, 2011:

I am so very frustrated with our male 4 month old Boston Terrier puppy. He eats his and his sisters poop. He gets plenty of attention as I am at home with him all day. He is on a regular feeding schedule of about 2/3 cup of kibble at 8am and 5pm. He gets plenty of treats and even a little bit of people food. He is always excited about food. He is very submissive and easy to train, but ever since he came home with us at 7weeks, he has had this issue. It's usually inside the house and not piles in the yard-unless it's the neighbor's dog piles which every now and then he runs over and grabs a snack. I'm at the end of my rope. This is the most disgusting thing to witness and clean up after.

ihavewebfeet on November 10, 2011:

My dog has no interest in his poop, but is bound and determined to get to our other dog's poop ass soon as it leaves her. We have a fenced in area, and I pick up all poop as soon as it happens (and when I can get to hers before he does).

They are on a fixed eating schedule (no free-feeding). He has allergies we are trying to deal with, so he is not on a regular poop cycle, so we can't predict when he is going to do it. She is older and is also not poop-predictable.

Is he trying to be neat and help me clean up?

shibashake (author) on October 23, 2011:

Hello Jodi,

"I think he does it to hide that he did it or because he doesn't want to lay in it."

Yeah I think you are right. Probably more because he doesn't want to lay in it.

I would consider using potty pads, especially during bad weather. The cold and rain may cause joint discomfort, which may be why he does not want to go out.

One thing that may help is to try training him to go on potty pads when you are around to supervise. Then if he tries to eat the poop on the pads, we can non-mark (No or Ack-ack), and get him to do something else. I would reward well when he decides not to eat the stuff, and moves away from the poop.

Hopefully this will also help him stay on schedule even during bad weather.

Let us know how it goes. Big hugs to your Doxie.

Jodi on October 21, 2011:

My Doxie had IVDD surgery last October. During his recovery he had little control his happened when it happened and sometimes when he was alone in his crate. I started to find evidence that he was eating it from little stains on is blankets. Now a year later he still seems to not have 'full' control and we go through spans of time that he isn't going on his schedule and thus doing it when I'm not home or during the night. He doesn't always eat it. Or maybe he only eats some of it because I do sometimes find it in his crate or his bed. Like I said he is on a schedule but sometimes he gets off schedule (he doesn't like the if it is raining he won't go then this sets off a chain of days where he is off schedule.) Any suggestions. He eats a good food a mix of Wellness Core and Lotus chicken. I think he does it to hide that he did it or because he doesn't want to lay in it. any advice. I like the idea of not allowing him to see me cleaning it. The tough part it catching him before he eats it because more often than not I'm not home.

shibashake (author) on October 19, 2011:

That is a very good question.

For my dogs it worked well but timing is very important. I only 'correct' them when I *catch them in the act* of poop eating. Then I non-mark (No or Ack-ack) and march them home briskly and immediately. That way, the consequence is right after the act.

I only had to do this twice with Sibe puppy Lara and now she is good about not eating the stuff during walks.

It is very much like potty training, 'corrections' only work if we are there while the dog is performing the behavior.

ValP on October 19, 2011:


'3. Letting them know that eating poop is an undesirable behavior by taking away one of their privileges, e.g. they may lose walk or backyard privileges temporarily.'

Would a dog know that this 'privilege' removal was as a result of what it had done?

shibashake (author) on October 16, 2011:

"My doxie/poddle mix only eats our cat's poop. What can I do to stop that?"

There are several possibilities -

1. Put the litter box some place that the dog can't get to.

2. Train the dog not to go near the litter box. When the dog goes near the litter box, non-mark him (No or Ack-ack) and give him something else to do. If he keeps going back, put him in a short timeout.

3. Some people use a citronella collar for training. I.e. every time the dog tries to eat pop, non-mark him and spray.

shibashake (author) on October 15, 2011:

"We have a 13 year old Dal that has started cleaning up his own poop."

Hmmm, did he just start this? Was he previously house-trained? If so, did anything change in his environment or in his schedule? Were there any food changes?

If there were no changes, and he just started pooping in the house, I would consider giving the vet a call just to see if it could be something physical.

Evelyn on October 15, 2011:

My doxie/poddle mix only eats our cat's poop. What can I do to stop that?

hobbes812 on October 14, 2011:


We have a 13 year old Dal that has started cleaning up his own poop. He'll poop on his bed and then eat it as trying to hide the evidence. We've had trouble with him not wanting to go outside, I'm trying to re-train him but until this time how do I get him to stop. Tonight I was outside with him for about 30 minutes and left him out there for another 30. He was in the house for about 20 and you could smell it coming from the other room. When I walked back into the room, the poop was gone but the mark was still there. I'm about to pull my hair out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


shibashake (author) on October 14, 2011:

Hello Nisha,

In terms of the dog's health, eating poop from other dogs or animals that have worms or parasites may cause a dog to get sick. However, I think that eating his own poop should not cause any serious issues. It may cause some digestive unhappiness or diarrhea. I would consult with your vet to be sure.

With my dogs, I don't really like them eating poop and then coming in the house and licking my hands or the furniture.

The things that helped most to stop poop eating with them -

1. Close supervision during the training period.

2. Cleaning up the stuff to reduce temptation.

3. Letting them know that eating poop is an undesirable behavior by taking away one of their privileges, e.g. they may lose walk or backyard privileges temporarily. Some people use a citronella collar.

If they keep getting a negative outcome when they eat poop, they will most likely stop eating the stuff.

Good luck!

Nisha on October 11, 2011:

I got my Dachshund when he was 4 years old from a shelter. It has now been 3 years and he is still eating his own poop when we are gone. He doesn't eat other dogs poop at all, only his own. It started as a every now and then, but now it has turned into an everyday thing. I have tried the pumpkin pulp in hopes of breaking this habit, but nothing seems to work. It is so frustrating! Is it bad for dogs to eat their own poop ALL the time?

Robin on October 11, 2011:

Thanks, I will let you know how it goes.

shibashake (author) on October 10, 2011:

Hello Melody,

In terms of poop eating, I have found that with my own dogs prevention is key. It is best to stop them before they put the stuff in their mouth.

During the puppy and potty training stage, I supervise them very closely. When they need to poop I take them outside on a lead and let them do their business. Then I just bag it up right there.

During walks though, there will always be poop about from other dogs or wild animals. If my dogs eat poop, I non-mark them (No or Ack-Ack) to let them know that this is not a desirable behavior.

Then I give them the "Drop" command (which I have trained them on previously). If they drop the poop, they get a lot of praise and rewards. They also get to continue with their walk.

If they don't, I usually go in their mouth and remove the stuff. Then we go home and they no longer get to roam about.

To dogs, eating poop is not something bad, so we need to teach them that it is not a desirable behavior to us.

shibashake (author) on October 10, 2011:

Hello Marc,

There are a variety of things that *can* make poop taste bad, but it only works on some dogs. Some dogs simply don't mind the taste and keep eating the stuff.

1. Stool eating deterrents. These supplements can be bought and added to the dog's food to deter dogs from eating their own stool.

2. Some people suggest adding pumpkin.

3. Some people suggest adding pineapple.

4. Some people suggest adding meat tenderizer.

** I would definitely consult a vet before adding anything to my dog's diet. Some of these ingredients may cause digestive issues in a dog and result in diarrhea. Also ask the vet how much to add. Too much could be bad for the dog.

With my own dogs, it was safer and more effective to just train them not to eat poop. In this way, it works not just for their own poop, but also for outside poop that we see during walks.

shibashake (author) on October 10, 2011:

Hello Robin,

"does the medicine work on making the poop taste bad ? or does it have nutrients that the dog needs to stop him from craving the poop?"

It depends on what medicine you are using. Some of them try to do both, some just do one or the other.

For a dog with a sensitive stomach I would be most concerned about the supplement causing new allergy issues. It may be best to consult with the vet first before adding anything new to his diet. Stool eating deterrent may only work on some dogs.

With my own dogs, training them not to eat poop worked out best. Once they learned that eating poop means they get their freedoms revoked, they not only stopped eating their own poop but also the cat and wild animal poop that we sometimes see during walks.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

Melody on October 09, 2011:

My Papillon will poop on a puppy pad and carry it into the dining room. Any suggestions?

Marc on October 08, 2011:

My dog is 3 yes old , he is a collie cross jack russel and he has a very good diet and is well socialized every day every time I turn around he has a turd in his mouth how do u make a turd taste bad to a dog ?????

Robin on October 07, 2011:

I meant he could be eating the other dogs poop, and does the medicine work on making the poop taste bad ? or does it have nutrients that the dog needs to stop him from craving the poop? Thanks for responding

Robin on October 07, 2011:

Sorry, I meant to say he could be eating the other dogs food.

I do feed them seperatly, he is on a LID, so I prob. do have to treat them all with an anti poop eating supplant, what do you think? Thanks so much..

shibashake (author) on October 03, 2011:

"I'm wondering if his allergies could be getting worse because he may be eating the other dogs food as well"

That could be one of the reasons. My puppy was also having allergy issues so I fed her separately on a bland diet and then removed all food toys and food after each dog is done. I also supervise them during meal-times to make sure there is no food stealing.

"when giving supplements to stop this behavior, should I be giving it to the other " normal " dogs too?"

Does your dog just eat his own poop or does he eat the other dog's poop as well?

Robin on October 02, 2011:

My dog is seven years old and has eaten his poop since he was a puppy, he also has very bad allergies and is on a limited ingredient diet, I have to other dogs that eat a regular diet of good quality food I'm wondering if his allergies could be getting worse because he may be eating the other dogs food as well, when giving supplements to stop this behavior, should I be giving it to the other " normal " dogs too?

shibashake (author) on September 27, 2011:

Hello Lin,

Where does your dog sleep at night? Does she sleep in a crate? or is she free in the house?

Also, as you have observed, correcting a dog after the fact (after she has already eaten poop) does not help because she will not understand what she is being scolded for.

Just like potty training, we want to be there while our dog is doing it, non-mark the behavior (ack-ack), and then stop her from doing it by bringing her away from the poop.

Every time my dog goes near her own poop, I non-mark her (Ack-ack) and bring her away before she can eat it. Sometimes, when I non-mark her, she moves away on her own. If she does this, I make sure to reward her for that really good behavior.

"Not sure why she got so much poo as well, it okay for dogs to poo 3-4 times a day?"

My puppy poops about 3-4 times in a day. My adult dogs poop once or twice. Puppies eat a lot more so they also poop more.

In general, frequency of poop depends on the dog, what we feed her (high fiber diets or indigestible ingredients will generally result in more poop), and how much we feed her.

Is your dog's poop solid and well-formed?