How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop: A Coprophagia How-To

How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop
How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop

If you’ve ever seen your dog eating poop, you may be wondering why they do it and how you can stop them. Canine coprophagia, or the consumption of feces, is a common behavior in dogs. While it may be gross to us, there are actually a number of reasons why dogs eat poop. In this blog post, we’ll explore the main causes of canine coprophagia and steps you can take to try to prevent your dog from eating poop.

The Main Causes of Canine Coprophagia

Many experts believe that coprophagia is a normal, instinctive behavior in canines that dates back to their wild ancestors. The theory is that dogs ate the feces of their prey as a way to consume all of the nutrients they could from their meal. This behavior may also be more common in certain breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers and Terriers, who were bred for hunting or scavenging.

Anxiety or Stress

Coprophagia can also be a coping mechanism for dogs who are experiencing anxiety or stress. Some dogs may eat their own feces as a way to self-soothe, while others may eat the feces of other animals as a way to relieve stress or boredom. This behavior is often seen in dogs who are confined to small spaces, such as kennels or yards, with little stimulation.

Lack of Nutrition

Another possible cause of coprophagia is malnutrition. Dogs may eat feces in an attempt to meet their nutritional needs if they are not getting enough nutrients from their regular diet. This is most often seen in puppies who are still growing and need extra calories, but it can also happen in adult dogs who are not being properly fed.

Steps to Take to Try to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop

There are a few things you can do diet-wise to help prevent your dog from eating poop. The first is to make sure they’re getting enough fiber. A high-fiber diet will help make your dog’s stools more firm, making them less appealing to eat. You can increase the fiber in their diet by adding pumpkin puree or psyllium husk powder to their food.

Another thing you can do is feed your dog smaller meals more often throughout the day instead of one large meal. This will help keep their blood sugar levels stable and may make them less likely to eat poop out of hunger.

And finally, make sure your dog is getting enough protein in their diet. A lack of protein can lead to nutrient deficiencies which may be a trigger for coprophagia. Feeding your dog a high-quality protein source like chicken, turkey, fish, or eggs can help alleviate this issue.

Increase Their Exercise

Exercise is important for all dogs, but it can be especially helpful if your dog is eating poop due to boredom or anxiety. A tired dog is much less likely to want to eat poop than one with lots of energy that isn’t being properly expended.

You don’t have to go overboard with the exercise – a daily walk or play session should be sufficient. But if you notice that your dog tends to eat poop when they haven’t had enough exercise that day, then increasing their activity level may help solve the problem.

Try a behavior modification technique

If your dog is eating poop due to anxiety or stress, then working on some behavior modification techniques may be helpful in preventing the behavior. One option is desensitization training, which involves slowly exposing your dog to the thing they’re afraid of (in this case, feces) in a controlled setting until they no longer react fearfully to it. This process takes time and patience but can be very effective in reducing stress and anxiety levels in dogs with those issues.

Another option is counterconditioning, which is a technique that involves changing your dog’s emotional response to the thing they’re afraid of. For example, if your dog is afraid of loud noises, you would pair the noise with something positive like treats or praise so that your dog starts to associate the noise with something good instead of something scary. This can also be done with feces – if your dog associates eating poop with getting a tasty treat, they’ll be less likely to do it.

These are just two examples of behavior modification techniques that can be used to help prevent coprophagia in dogs. There are many others out there, so talk to your veterinarian or a professional animal behaviorist to find one that may work for your dog.

How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop on Walks

To prevent your dog from eating poop on walks, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on them, especially in areas where they might encounter feces.

Training commands like “leave it” can be very effective when your dog shows interest in unwanted items. Consistent training, along with positive reinforcement when they obey commands, helps in discouraging this behavior.

Additionally, ensuring your dog is engaged and not bored during walks by using toys or treats can redirect their attention away from feces.

Does Pineapple Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop on Walks

The idea behind using pineapple as a deterrent for dogs eating poop is based on the belief that it creates an unpleasant taste in the feces, discouraging the dog from eating it.

However, effectiveness can vary from dog to dog, and it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet. There’s also a need to address underlying causes, such as nutritional deficiencies or behavioral issues, to effectively stop the habit.

When to Seek Help from a Vet or Animal Behaviorist

If your dog seems to be experiencing stress or anxiety related to their coprophagia, it may be time to seek help from a professional. This is especially true if the behavior is impacting their quality of life or preventing them from enjoying other activities. Your vet can rule out any medical causes and may recommend medication or other treatments to help ease your dog’s distress.

If the behavior is causing you distress

It’s important to remember that you are not alone in this struggle. Many pet parents have dealt with coprophagia and there is plenty of support available. However, if the behavior is affecting your relationship with your dog or causing you undue stress, it may be time to seek help from a professional animal behaviorist. They can provide guidance and support as you work on changing your dog’s behavior.

If you’ve tried everything and nothing is working to stop your dog from eating poop

If you’ve tried all of the recommended prevention techniques and your dog still continues to eat poop, it’s time to seek professional help. A vet or animal behaviorist can help you identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to the problem and create a customized plan to address those issues. They can also provide support and guidance as you work on changing your dog’s behavior.


If your dog is eating poop, there are a few possible reasons why and a few things you can do to try to stop the behavior. If the behavior is causing distress for either you or your dog, it’s best to seek help from a professional. With some patience and effort, you can help your dog break this unpleasant habit and retrieve health.

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