Why do dogs eat poop

As rewarding as it can be to have a canine friend in the family, many dog owners find themselves quite repulsed by the fact that many dogs have an urge to eat poop. Referred to as coprophagia, the urge to eat poop has never been explained scientifically, but many logical answers have been put forward as to why a dog may want to eat their own, or another dog’s waste. In this article we will take a look at some of these reasons, and consider whether eating poop is dangerous for the dog, and how we may stop them from doing it.

  • There may still be nutrients in poop
    Although we think of poop as simply the stuff our body doesn’t need; our waste, there will often actually still be nutrients from our food that didn’t make it into our body and passes through as waste. It could be that dogs can smell that there is still some good in there, and decide to try again to absorb it.
  • Dogs are carnivorous
    Although we may not consider poop to be meat, to a dog there may very well be meaty substances in poop that make it appetizing. Also, due to the fact that dogs in the wild actually consume the internal organs and stomach contents of their kills, it may just be that it is habit.
  • They may be hiding evidence
    It has been speculated that dogs may in fact remember being scolded for pooping indoors, and that to avoid punishment if they do it again, they may prefer to simply eat the poop to hide the evidence. It has also been suggested that dogs may eat poop just to clean it up.

Is eating poop dangerous for my dog?

It may be quite hard to believe, but in general there is actually not much risk to a dog’s health that comes from eating faeces. Simple waste matter itself is not really dangerous, but there may be a risk if the dog that left the excrement has in fact got worms or parasites that are left with it. If your dog eats poop with worms in it, the chances of them getting worms is increased dramatically and this can be unpleasant for the dog and their owner.

How can I stop my dog eating poop?

Arising from some of the reasons that people think cause dogs to eat poop, there are many suggestions for how to stop them. Giving the dog more nutrients in their diet may stop them eating poop if the main reason is a lack of them, for example. Adding a command to their dog training regime for “don’t eat that poop!” is another way many people try to stop it, or walking the dog always on a leash to keep it under control is another (slightly more dominating) way people try. There are also some additives you can buy that when added to a dog’s meal will make the faeces smell different and make the dog not want to eat it.
Not all dogs eat poop, but it has been shown that quite a lot of dogs do and that it is almost a natural thing for them to do, as a dog owner you shouldn’t let it worry you too much.