How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Feces

Does your dog have the disgusting habit of eating his own stool? Here’s why he does it and how you can put a stop to it.

Have you witnessed your dog eating his own stool? If so, you probably found this practice to be offensive and disgusting. Surprisingly, this practice is actually quite common among dogs. It’s so common that the practice of a dog eating his own stool or the feces of other dogs is officially known as coprophagia.

Why do dogs eat feces? No one knows for sure, but it may be related to his wolf ancestry. A wolf in the wild would want to take every measure to preserve nutrients and vitamins in the event he doesn’t encounter a meal for a while. Thus, your dog may be attempting to make use of every possible source of nutrition available to him, even his own feces. Other causes of coprophagia include nutritional deficiencies and digestive problems. For this reason, you should have your dog assessed by a veterinarian who can rule out intestinal problems and recommend a balanced diet for your dog.

Once medical reasons are ruled out as a cause for your dog’s tendency to eat stool, you’ll probably want to break him of the habit for social reasons. Here are some tips on how to rid your dog of the habit of eating his stool:

  1. Keep Your Dog’s Living Area Free of Feces

    If you quickly remove your dog’s feces from the back yard, you remove any temptation your dog might have for eating his own stool. Make it a daily habit to clean the yard each day to rid the area of any feces.

  2. Consider Adding a Safe Deterrent to Your Dog’s Food

    One way to reduce stool eating behavior by your dog is to add a small amount of MSG (monosodium glutamate) to his food. This will give your dog’s feces an unpleasant taste which will reduce stool eating behavior. By doing this repetitively, your dog will learn to associate his stool with a bad taste.

  3. Make His Feces Unappealing

    Another way to eliminate your dog’s stool eating behavior is to add a few drops of Tabasco sauce to his feces. A few encounters with the heat from the hot sauce should be enough to break your dog of this habit.

  4. Keep Your Dog Occupied

    Sometimes dogs eat stool out of boredom. Make sure your dog has adequate stimulation each day. A brisk morning walk will help him to expel some of his energy and prevent aimless wandering through the yard in search of stimulation. It also may help to provide your dog with a variety of safe toys such as nylon bones or other chew toy to occupy his time.

  5. Vary Your Dog’s Diet

    Since a dog can sometimes eat stool due to a nutritional deficiency, reassess your dog’s diet and make sure he’s getting adequate nutrition and enough variety. Also, make sure he’s getting a sufficient caloric intake each day.

Is it dangerous for your dog to eat his own stool? Unlike humans, dogs have a very powerful digestive system and usually don’t experience any ill effects from this habit. It’s more of a problem for humans who find the habit socially unacceptable than it is for dogs. If your dog has shown a stool eating tendency, give these tips a try and see if you can break the annoying feces eating habit.

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User Comments
  1. Manda Spring

    On October 17, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    I enjoy reading your articles.. thanks for sharing about animals.

  2. Mark Magsanay

    On April 10, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    So, is MSG safe for dogs?

  3. joe

    On May 2, 2008 at 9:32 am

    I want to know how to find a dog with a strong digestive system, my dog eats his own feces and then has explosive diarea and wretched poop vomit all night… I wish it was only a socially acceptable problem for me…

  4. Robert Eskanazy

    On June 4, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Thank You for a very good insight into this feces eating problem. I was concerned about my 4 month old Pom and will definatley try some of the tip to stop this gross habit.

  5. mary

    On June 27, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    yea joe, i have the same problem with mine! yes it is gross watching the dog eat it but then he vomits his own poop in the house. you can’t even yell at the dog for you. just fustrating!

  6. Desiree

    On July 5, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    the article states that dogs eat their own poo if the feel they’re not getting enough nutrients. Is it possible the dog feels like it has some sort of parasite? Haven’t noticed anything strange on the potty pads. Is it ok to give them baby food as a supplement?

  7. Sparkle

    On July 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    My maltese is 9 months old and has been eating his poop since we got him at 2 months. He also now eats his brothers “as he is pooping”. It is soooo gross, we have tried pineapple and Forbid neither worked. The thing is he knows he is not supposed to eat it, because if I’m in the bathroom when he poops he just walks away from it. So does that mean it’s “psychological”?????

    Well I guess I should be glad he’s not like “Joe’s” dog with “explosive diarrea and poop vomit”!

  8. Yuriko

    On February 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    My dog, Charlotte – a mini pin, always eats her own poop.. Now, she’s taught our newer dog, Shaun Hill – a Papillon, to do it as well. It’s weird. They only go after her own poop.. not his.

    He’s even gone as far as trying to get it as it comes out of her butt… BAD habit!

    I think I’ll try the tobasco sauce thing. I’ve tried pineapple, it didn’t work. The only thing that does is that cleaning up right after. This will not give them a chance to get at it. It’s hard during the week when we’re at work, though, and they stay at home. They’re still young and don’t know better.

  9. Yuck

    On July 13, 2009 at 10:59 am

    My dog did that as well. Mix pumpkin pie filling in with your dog’s food. When they digest it, the stomach acids give it such a bad flavor, your dog will not eat it.

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