How to Get a Dog to Stop Eating Poop – Why They Do It and How to Stop It

how to get a dog to stop eating poopWhy Do Dogs Eat Poop?

The correct term for a dog eating poop is coprophagia.  Sounds more scientific, yes, but less disgusting? No!  Regardless, this is actually a natural behavior for some animal species.

People have a hard time understanding why dogs eat poop, whether it’s their own, or poop from other dogs, cats, or rabbits.  This habit is usually most prevalent in puppies, and certain breeds are prone to it as well.  But from a person’s point of view, it’s disgusting!

There are many theories floating around about why dogs eat poop.  The simplest theory is that the dog is just hungry. Make sure you dog isn’t underweight and that he’s getting enough food.  Another theory is that they have a vitamin deficiency and the dog is trying to compensate by eating poop.  Or perhaps it’s a dog who is suffering from malnutrition, starvation, or a parasite infestation.  These are possibilities, but in reality, these causes are rare.

Puppies sometimes eat their poop during house training because some (forgive me, but STUPID) pet owner thinks they should rub the puppy’s nose in it when he makes a mess.  This not only encourages the dog to eat poop, but can also make the puppy decide he better eat it (get rid of it) before the owner sees it.  Also, food is not always completely digested by puppies so they can actually see nutritional value in their poop. (Have you ever given your dog corn then have it show up in the poop in the back yard?  Lovely…)

How to Get a Dog to Stop Eating Poop

The first and most important thing to do when facing this problem is to make sure your dog is kept in good health.  Otherwise, he could develop illnesses that can result in his eating poop.  In addition to that, here are several more tips to help you stop your dog from eating poop.

Have your veterinarian check your dog for parasites.  Your dog may lack essential bacteria in his digestive system.  And parasites are dangerous – they can compromise your dog’s immune system and put him at risk for serious illnesses.

Give your dog a daily multi-vitamin.   This will help ensure that your dog isn’t suffering from a vitamin deficiency causing him to eat poop. You can purchase in inexpensive, chewable multi-vitamin for your dog here.  On a similar topic, I had a mini dachshund years ago who began eating rocks from the driveway.  The vet suggested she had a vitamin deficiency and suggested a daily multivitamin.  It worked…she stopped eating rocks.

Keep your home and yard clean.  Keep the dog’s bedding washed on a regular basis, along with his water and food dishes. I cannot express enough how important it is for you to keep your home and yard clean.  Once your dog is housebroken, the chances of him eating poop inside the house are slim.  However, he’s likely to start making messes in the house again if he smells old pee or poop odors in the house.  You can use an inexpensive product called Nature’s Miracle to get rid of old urine and feces odors.  You can purchase it here.

Distract your dog when he tries to eat poop.  When your dog is done pooping, lead or call him away from the area immediately (or if you see him approaching another animal’s poop).  As soon as he leaves the area, give him praise.

Clean up the poop!  Purchase a pooper-scooper and keep it handy so you can clean up the poop after you’ve called the dog away from the area.  Make a point of walking around the yard daily to clean up any poop.  You can purchase one here for less than $12.

Clean their teeth!  If you’re dog has been eating poop then his breath is probably beyond disgusting, and his teeth are filthy.  Here’s an article from PetMd on The Best Way To Clean a Dog’s Teeth.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Poop

The consistent cleanliness, training and maintenance described above should prevent and stop your dog from eating poop. Please comment below and let me know how you make out!

Need More Help?

If you’ve tried all these tips and still need help, I can suggest two dog training websites that can provide more information.  One is TrainPetDog.com.  You’ll see an ad for their free mini training course below.  The second is TheOnlineDogTrainer.  They are a far more advanced dog training website.

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5 thoughts on “How to Get a Dog to Stop Eating Poop – Why They Do It and How to Stop It”

  1. Hi Debra, who would’ve thought a term for dog eating poop, and it sounds just as disgusting. LOL I think we all (dog owners) have had a pet or two that has eaten poop, (especially cat poop) at one time or another.
    It does become a problem when they consistently do it, and you’re right about stupid people rubbing their dog’s nose in it, that just does more harm than good.
    I found the video very informative, I think everyone that has had this problem should take a moment to watch it.
    We have a cat that has decided to pee on the carpet rather than the litter box or outside, so I’m going to get the Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer, it sounds pretty good.
    Sure am glad I came upon this article, thanks
    Kim

      1. Thank you Debra, those two post were very helpful, I think our cat is peeing due to a chemical attraction, if I block the area so she can’t get to it, she will then use the litter box.
        I will try cleaning it and using Nature’s miracle spray, hopefully that will work, I’m not ready to replace the carpet just yet 🙁
        Kim

  2. I almost lol when I first read the title, but this an issue that a lot of pet owners deal with and can be a disgusting nuisance at best, and dangerous for our pets’ health at worst. I think the steps you’ve outlined here are very practical and can be easily implemented. I’m looking forward to great results with my pet!

    1. HAHA! The minute I clicked “Publish” I knew people would laugh when they saw it! Immediately followed by, “Eeeewwwww!” 🙂

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