Sometimes we catch our dogs in the act, and other times a whiff of their breath alerts us to the behavior. Then, there’s the dog who pukes it up in the house — usually on our rugs.  What behavior are we writing about today? Coprophagia a/k/a Poop Eating!

If your dog eats poop, you’re not alone.  It’s a delicacy for my dog too. As a matter of fact, this protein-filled snack is  a common problem for many dog owners.

Your first step in solving this issue is to alert your vet to the behavior.  While there are several non-medical-related reasons dogs eat poop, it is best to rule out medical problems first. According to an article written on the Dogs Naturally website, medical reasons associated with poop eating could include an enzyme deficiency, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, parasites, diabetes and thyroid issues or other deficiencies caused by age or a poor diet.  

Once medical conditions are ruled out, we focus on lifestyle and behavior.  What are some reasons dogs eat poop?

Dogs locked in a crate for long hours may need to relieve themselves.  Since most dogs do not like to soil where they eat and sleep, accidents leave them with no choice but to clean up by eating it. 

How can you solve this problem?  Hire a dog walker to exercise your dog during the day and to give them bathroom breaks.

Boredom leads them to search for something to do. While some dogs will become destructive, others entertain themselves with their waste.

How can you solve this problem?  Plan a daily exercise routine for your dog. This can be a walk, training or game of ball play. Rather than feeding your dog in a bowl, use treat releasing balls or puzzles that require them to work for their food.  Stuff kongs with tasty spreads or wet food and freeze it to increase the amount of effort it takes the dog to consume the food.

A hungry dog will search for something to eat. Sadly, most dogs are okay with the taste of poop. Their acquired taste is not limited to their own species. They will also dine on cat, geese and rabbit poop.

How can you solve this problem? Ask your vet for the proper amount of food your dog should eat each day.

Some dogs just like the taste and will gobble it up whenever they have access to it.   

How can you solve this problem? Walk your dog on leash or keep a close eye on them in the yard.  Be sure to clean up the yard, litter boxes and wee wee pads immediately after animals defecate. For dogs who eliminate and then immediately turn to eat their waste, keep your dog on leash and teach the “leave it” command. 

Our 18 week online program is a hands-on program where students are required to work with dogs. Skill and ability is determined through a series of videos submitted to the school. We also offer a 2-week and 4-month in-person internship. To learn more about the courses we offer, visit

Written by Katie McKnight

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