Coprophagia (Poop Eating)

Does your dog have the disgusting habit of eating either their own or another dogs feces? This issue is surprisingly common in dogs and can be very tough to overcome. Many people will give you well intentioned advice that is VERY unlikely to show any results. The first thing that I ask a client who is encountering this issue is what do they feed the dog. If the diet isn’t balanced or is of extremely low quality there is a chance that the dog is gorging on feces in order to get minerals or nutrients that he needs. In my experience this is rarely the cause but should at least be examined as a possibility. When poor diet has been ruled out, many people will suggest adding things to either the food or poop in order to discourage the habit. These “fixes” can range from putting pumpkin and meat tenderizer in their food to pouring hot sauce on the poop in the yard. I have seen some situations where these additives have worked, but it is very rare.

If you have examined your dogs diet and tried the various additives to stop the habit and haven’t seen results it is time to face the truth. The vast majority of household dogs with this issue do it because of anxiety.  It is extremely rare for us to see a dog that eats poop that is calm and relaxed.  Invariably, dogs with coprophagia are excitable and anxious.   This means that fixing your dogs habit will require more than simply stopping him from eating the poop.  Fixing this issue takes a lot of work and isn’t very fun but will make all those licks that your dog gives you much more pleasant.

1. Give your dog more exercise and stimulation as part of a focused training program.
2. Pick up the yard frequently
3. Leave the dog on either a leash or long rope in the yard at all times
4. Know where the poop is in the yard so that when the dog tries to eat it you can quickly correct with the leash as you tell him “NO”
5. Remember step 3! If the leash is not on, the dog will eat more poop and further the habit.

I believe in never giving people false hope that something will be easy when that isn’t the case. This issue has no quick fix but can be eliminated with consistency and patience on your part.

Matt Covey
Suburban K9
Elgin, Il