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Why does my dog eat his excrement?

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Posted on November 18 2018

Your dog is eating his excrement. This is called coprophagia. Also known as scatophagia, you have already seen this phenomenon during a walk with your dog or even at home. Why this behavior? How to cure it ? Our explanations and answers.

Dogs are naturally attracted to the excrement of other animals. Beyond the sometimes disgusting aspect of this observation, we must admit that the stool of our animals are a real source of information and even food. Some dogs suddenly become accustomed to consuming their excrement. If this is a behavior that can be considered normal in rare circumstances, most of the time, it hides a real problem.


Understanding the causes of such an attitude makes it possible to fight this evil more effectively. We also reveal several methods to correct the behavior of your coprophagous dog.

The origin of the dog's coprophagia

In rare circumstances, coprophagia is considered normal in dogs. A bitch who has just given birth , licks the anus of her young, to get rid of their droppings and urine, until they become clean. Puppies can also, because they discover the world or to imitate their mother , eat faeces in a punctual way, but it does not last.

But in general, a dog that eats his excrement is an animal that is not well cared for or goes bad . The master should not take this behavior lightly because it is an alarm signal.

  • In less severe cases, the dog eats his droppings to attract the attention of his master and / or because he lives in an environment filled with excrement. An unsuitable food given in incorrect amounts and served at irregular hours can also be the cause. It is therefore up to the master to correct his attitude and to take more care of his animal, by taking care of him more and by ensuring that his place of life and his bed are clean.
  • The dog may also have to eat his excrement because he has defecated in the house and fears the retaliation of his master. But this is an exceptional case. However, care should be taken not to punish him excessively when he forgets himself in the house, in order to avoid generating this kind of behavior later.
  • Coprophagia can hide more serious problems, such as psychological suffering or health concerns . Stress and anxiety can indeed be at the root of this attitude. Diseases such as pancreatitis and enteritis, but also parasite infections and allergies, can generate this type of behavior.
  • The age of the animal is also important: puppies can eat their excrement through experimentation and older dogs act by depression and loss of reference.

Treat the dog's coprophagia

Several solutions exist to help the dog to avoid consuming his excrement:

  • We must first ensure that it evolves in a clean environment , and remove each of its droppings immediately (whether in his own garden or in public places, or in and around his niche).
  • Be sure to give your pet dog food , which also takes into account its size and weight, and serve meals at regular times.
  • If your dog does this to get your attention , just ignore it. If he finds that this strategy does not work, he will stop. But be sure to bring him all the love and care he asks.
  • In extreme cases, putting a muzzle on him can educate him.
  • When the problem is of medical origin, only a drug treatment can be the solution.

What attitude to adopt?

Coprophagia does not cause any health problems in dogs. It is a behavior which remains however abnormal. It is your responsibility to correct the situation.

As such, an appointment with your veterinarian is required. This last will sweep all the pathological causes of order. He will carry out a complete health check and will check that your dog does not suffer from energy deficiency.

Base his education on positive reinforcement . If you take it on eating your poop, oppose it a firm "no", without punishment. Praise him when he feels his stool without eating it. Do also make sports your dog to be physically and mentally spent.

Finally, if in spite of all this nothing changes, do not hesitate to start behavioral therapy . Coprophagia is not an easy behavior to change. Take your trouble.

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