Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Golden retriever puppies running on the beach

Yes, our dogs are cute and cuddly with a whole host of adorable traits but eating poop is not one of them. If your dog eats poop (his own or that of other canines), you are probably wondering why they do this and how you can stop it. Let’s look into the many behavioural and physiological reasons that your dog may view poop as a delicacy and list the ways you can deter them from doing this. 


Is it normal for dogs to eat poop?

Eating poop is a common problem that many dog owners face so rest assured you are not the first and you won’t be the last. Research suggests that for many dogs, eating poop is a survival method that dates back to when wild dogs were scavengers finding food as and when they could. Other popular reasons for your dog to display this behaviour is that your pet could be anxious due to being left alone for long periods of time or being put through a stressful training regime. Lastly, your dog could be seeking something that they are lacking from their current diet and you can rectify this by changing their food or adding in a nutrient that they need.


Can a dog get sick from eating poop?

While it’s a particularly gross habit, a dog eating its own poop is actually a harmless act. However, if your dog is eating another pet’s poop, you may need to visit the vet to rule our problems such as parasites. If you are worried about your dog getting sick from eating poop, always supervise your pet on walks. Giving your dog a treat as soon as he has pooped will mean there is less chance of him eating it as he will learn there is a treat waiting for him that is much tastier. 


Why is my old dog eating poop all of a sudden?

If this act is a relatively new habit, it is possible that your dog is attention seeking. As pet owners, we tend to have a strong reaction to our dog eating poop and your dog will pick up on this. It is therefore important if you want to deter your dog from eating poop, to not react in this way. If you give a strong reaction, your dog will begin to see this as a way to get your attention and will only do it more.


Should I clean my dog's mouth after eating poop?

After witnessing this unhygienic habit, you will want to clean your dog’s mouth. You can do this by brushing your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste that are designed for canines. Dental dog wipes are also another viable option.

If you are worried that your dog’s poop eating habits are causing a sickness or an illness, you can ask a vet for advice. Don’t get caught out without pet insurance as this will cover you against any costly bills.

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