Dog training tip: What to do if your dog is eating poop

I’ve recently had a couple of my clients with this problem.  So I did some digging.  I was shocked by the answer.  This is a serious problem.  The condition is known as coprophagia.  The good news is you can fix it with a little dog training and a few small changes to their environment.  I wont mention the brands of dog food that were being used to be fair.  Some dogs work better with certain brands than others.  However I do discourage my clients from using certain poor quality brands.


What is Coprophagia?

  • Coprophagia is a condition that compels dogs to consume feces.
  • Why does the dog engage in this habit? A dog may ingest fecal matter for various reasons:
  • He may be hungry and has no access to real food.
  • You may be feeding a food lacking in sufficient nutrients and/or not appropriate for your particular dog.  When a dog is fed low-quality and/or inappropriate dog food, he feels compelled to eat more of it in an attempt to satisfy his body’s craving for nutrients. As a result, the dog is ingesting excess food, and a large proportion of the food goes through his digestive system undigested. The resulting stools smell and look fairly close to the food that the dog previously consumed, so the dog tries to consume the ‘food’ again. This is not just a vulgar habit; it is a cry for health. The dog needs a better diet that will enable him to absorb the nutrients his body needs.
  • When dogs consume feces from other animals, they may be seeking minerals lacking in their regular dog food.



* Change the dog’s diet. Buy or prepare only nutritious, quality food that is formulated for the dog’s age, breed and any medical issues.  Two brands that I highly recommend are Blue Buffalo and Nutro Ultra Holistic. They can be found at your local Petsmart.  I’ve had good luck with those brands.  Their first ingredient are always a lean meat.  To me; it’s the perfect mix of premium proteins, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils to help your dog be at his best.  By the way your dogs poops will be amazing.

* For the dog who may be hungry, try feeding him a little more, and make sure you feed a quality, nutritious food that is appropriate for the age and type of canine.

* Take the dog to your veterinarian for an examination for underlying medical and health problems, parasites and other problems that may be compelling him to eat feces.

* Clean up after your pet, right after he goes – before he has a chance to eat his poop. Stopping access is one key to stopping this habit.

* Walk the dog on leash so that you are in a better position to tell the dog ‘leave it’ and to physically keep the dog from trying to sniff and eat stools. Always praise your dog for listening. You can also reinforce the verbal praise with tidbits carried in a pouch.

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About Melissa Fisher

Owner of Pet Sitter Patrol.


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