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Why Your Dog Eats Feces and What You Can Do To Stop It Now

By Dr. Andrew Jones

Dogs unfortunately commonly eat their own feces, or another dog’s poop; it’s a very disturbing and frustrating behavioral problem for pet owners. The veterinary term for this is called coprophagia, and you may find some comfort in knowing that this is quite normal. This article will give you an understanding as to why dogs eat feces, along with what you can do at home to stop it.

Feces eating (coprophagia) is common in other animals such as rabbits, rodents, pigs, horses and even primates. This behavior is considered to be a problem in dogs, especially as our dogs now are so close with us, licking our faces. Puppies regularly eat poop. They like to chew and eat anything. The problem is if this becomes an established habit. In some dogs this is secondary to a nutritional deficiency.

Some dogs will benefit from a diet change. I suggest first trying a quality premium food. If your pet is already eating one, then switch to one of the natural diets such as Innova or California Natural. You can also utilize some of the sample At Home dog diets, or try feeding some Raw Food. It is believed that a diet rich in fat, protein, and fiber and low in carbohydrates may reduce the tendency.

Altering the flavor can help. Your dog will stop eating feces if it tastes bad (although you would think that it already tastes bad). Stool in the back yard or in your cat’s litter box can be spiced with Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper.

There are a few things that you can add to your dogs food to alter the taste of their feces. Meat tenderizers can be added to your dog’s food; this will help with digestion and make his stool taste horrible. The dose is 1/4 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight. Another option is to purchase a product from your local veterinarian called For-Bid. It gives waste a taste that your pet will hate.

Many dog owner have found that by supplement the diet, the coprophagia then stops. Add a vitamin and mineral supplement to your pet’s diet, as some dogs eat stool who are nutrient deficient. There are a number of types; a popular one is my supplement, Dr Jones Ultimate Canine Health Formula.

Lastly one study showed that using a citronella spray collar effectively worked for dogs that persisted in eating dog feces. A citronella spray collar reduced the frequency of coprophagia in dogs and that this effect persists after treatment has ceased. This requires you as the pet owner to be watching, and involved, triggering the spray in response to feces eating.

If you have a dog or cat that eats their own feces, then you should be looking at some of my advised at home remedies to finally stopping this very undesirable behavior. Start with changing your dog’s food to one which is higher in fat, protein, and fiber and low in carbohydrates. Consider supplementing with a complete, quality dog supplement, such as Ultimate Canine Health Formula. Then look at adding something to make the feces more adverse tasting, or a citronella spray collar to alter this unwanted behavior.

Heal Your Pet At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew Jones, DVM

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Topics: Dog Care, Dog Health, Pet Care, Pet health | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Why Your Dog Eats Feces and What You Can Do To Stop It Now”

  1. Avatar Dian e Says:
    November 9th, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Thanks for another great article.
    My dog did eat her poop,and loved cat poop when she could find it. I tried changing her food and other things, nothing stopped her.
    I now give her a homeopathic remedy and that works for her.

  2. Avatar Annette Says:
    November 9th, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Don’t hurt the cat because the dog has a nasty habit. Putting hot seasoning IN the litter box will end up on kitty’s pads and he’ll have to lick them off thus getting very sick. This could hurt all his membrane linings throughout his digestive system, not to mention give him HUGE aversian to his litter box…and then you will REALLY have a problem.
    In the foolishness of my youth (early 20s) I had a cat who used to always chew on the end of my wooden rocking chair. (A cherishished gift from a loved one). I rubbed some tabasco sauce or hot oil into the wood. The poor cat threw up for 3 days. THankfully he recovered, but how PAINFUL that must have been. In all honesty, I thought he would “sniff it” and avoid it, or take one taste and run, but he gnawed for a little while before even noticing. Now I cherish those little teeth marks in the chair…part of it’s history.
    In any event, cats move things about in the litter
    EVERY time they use it and you do not want to harm your cat or make them leary of their litter box.

  3. Avatar Dagmar Says:
    November 9th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I had a few clients in the past with dogs that had exactly that problem. A special combo of the Australian Bush Flower Essences mixed into their drinking water solved the whole issue. The beauty of the Australian Bush Flower Essences is that they do not have any negative side effects.

  4. Avatar mimi Says:
    November 9th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I have tried everything else on your list with my 7 yo female(a puppymill bitch for 3 yrs)except the citronella collar. Since the collar responds to barking, how does that help?

  5. Avatar dexter Says:
    November 9th, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I do not believe that dogs consuming their own or another dogs feces is normal at all (the exception may be that of a puppy. It’s abnormal in the wild for this to occur. Consuming herbivorous feces may be seen on occasion for a few reasons, but our dogs consuming their owns species feces and especially their own, in my experience is a deficiency. Using additives to deter the habit may stop the behavior but do nothing for the underlying bodily need. The use of homeopathy to balance the body and flower remedies as mentioned above, are two great options to consider, along with a quality unprocessed diet. Just my two cents worth.

  6. Avatar Gale Says:
    November 10th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    If you only have one dog, adding a bit of pineapple makes the food going in taste good, but tastes horrible coming out.

    Doesn’t work with multiple dogs… but picking it up regularly helps

  7. Avatar Barbara Schwemler Says:
    November 11th, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Where does one get these Australian Bush Flower essences? And how much goes in the water?

  8. Avatar CARMEN Says:
    February 15th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    hello, we have a 3 year old blue eyed husky and 5 cats.she is jealous of the cats if one gets on our lap.when she gets a chance she will jump off the couch and chase the cat.how can we stop her of this habit.we tell her she is bad and make he rlay down, but she is back at it in 5 min.she hasnt hurt any yet but makes them meow loudley if she gets one. thank you for some advice carm

  9. Avatar Dale Says:
    September 26th, 2013 at 9:11 am

    my dogs eat cat poop so we put the box up so they can not reach it. Then some of my dogs eat dog poop. I have tried pineapple and pumpkin as it is not nice to have a dog cuddled up to your neck and burps up poopy smells. I know the culprits and so far not great results from the treatments I have tried. I will try some of the other suggestions and see what happens. Thanks for the advise 😀

  10. Avatar Mary Says:
    January 13th, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Also adding pumpkin to their food will also discourage this. Pumpkin makes the poop taste awful but is great for the digestion track.


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM