Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Ah yes, as distasteful as the headline reads, this is something that you probably want to know about. Just for getting past the headline, you can be thought of as someone who is stoic in nature, or you are a dog owner and the shame and indignity of dealing with poop is something that just doesn’t get to you.

Whatever the case may be, you have come across this behavior, either with your own pups, or have observed someone close to you having to deal with this issue with their own pup. Yes, eating poop is something that immediately makes you want to churn out anything that’s in your stomach, but your dog treats it as something, er, normal.

If you have spent time on a farm, you probably know that rabbits get important nutrients from gorging on their own poop. While a good number of animals do engage in this behavior, it is not particularly necessary for your dogs to do this.

The reasons as to why your dog can decide to eat its own poop are two-fold;

Behavioral Reasons.

The first, and most obvious reasons your dog may be feasting on waste is just as a result of behaviors stemming either from instinct, or whatever is going on around them.


If you have a dog that has recently brought forth a litter of puppies, this is something that you would definitely observe with them. As the puppies are not able to leave the “den”, they will relieve themselves right on site.

To keep things clean, the mother will eat up the waste, just as a way of keeping the den clean. This is a learned behavior from the days when dogs were wild animals. The scent of poop would draw in other predators, who would then proceed to eat the puppies. So just to keep the predators away, cleanliness has to be observed.


This seemingly complex word is just meant to stand in for the fact that puppies are absolutely playful and explorative. As they are growing, they will want to learn more about their surroundings. And who best to learn more from than their mother?

So as the mother is cleaning up their waste to keep the den clean, the puppies will also mimic this behavior and gorge on their own waste. The mother will also continue doing this until the time when the puppies are able to eat more solid food, and can leave to go defecate elsewhere.

The puppies will continue with this behavior if they are not discouraged from doing so. To stop your puppies from doing this, you could clean up their den from time to time, to prevent the mother from showing them this behavior.

If you are thinking of getting a dog from a breeder, then take your time to observe the dog for this behavior. Not all breeders maintain high standards. A good indicator of a puppy meal is where the puppies have developed this habit strongly.

The poor environments that puppies in mills have been born into lead to stress, which will further develop into this poor behavior. The puppies will also do this due to poor nutrition.

Scavenger’s Instinct.

Well, that lovely wet thing at the front of their snout is capable of getting a wide variety of smells and letting their brains discover new things. While the smell of poop can be absolutely repulsive to us humans, they are a magical wonder to dogs.

Therefore, when a dog gets within range of one, they will naturally get curious as to the smell, and the taste. They then will end up eating the poop.


Leaving your dog home alone is not necessarily the best thing to do. This is why it is recommended that a lot of toys be incorporated into their lives, to not only do away with boredom, but also to stimulate their minds.

When leaving the dog home alone, they may develop issues with boredom and separation anxiety. As a result, they may end up chewing up your couch, tissue paper, hiding the remote or anything they fancy, or even just dig holes in your yard.

But that’s not the only thing they will do. They will also end up gorging on their own poop, just to entertain themselves. This is also true of having a stressed dog.


As much as they are good pets, your dogs also greatly require you to pay attention to them. To a dog, it doesn’t matter what kind of attention they get, whether good or bad. As long as they got you to pay attention to them, then they will take it.

And this can lead to them forming all sorts of poor behaviors. Eating poop will definitely be a part of that.

Also, is you decide to punish your dog for defecating all over the place, they might also decide to eat up their poop. This is to prevent instances of you punishing them.

Medical Reasons.

It’s not uncommon to have pet owners who don’t pay particular attention to the quality of food that they give to their dogs, and whether they are nutritional enough. Your dog will try to make up for any nutritional differences by eating anything they find edible, including poop.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

This is a condition that afflicts many young puppies. What happens is even if your puppy is consuming food, their pancreases are not able to create digestive enzymes. As a result, many nutrients that are crucial for the life, sustenance and growth of your dog end up passing through its system.

Your dog will resort to eating stool to try and recoup some of the nutrients that they weren’t able to get. This condition is usually followed with weight loss and even frequent diarrhea.

Intestinal Parasites.

This is something that all to common with dogs. It is also why you will need to deworm them regularly. The parasites will be fighting with your dog to get the nutrition that’s coming its way. When your dog isn’t able to get enough for itself, it will turn to eating stool to try and get some for itself.

Increased appetite.

It doesn’t take much to have your dog eating. A simple whiff of whatever you are holding, and they are already hungry. However, there are some conditions that can cause the appetite of your dog to increase beyond normal levels. If your dog is on steroidal medication, or is facing issues such as diabetes or thyroid problems, they appetite definitely will increase.