Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Have you ever asked yourself, “why do dogs eat poop?” Does your dog have a gross habit of eating poop? This behavior may be unpleasant to you, but it is fairly common in dogs. As a dog owner, you may find yourself faced with a poop eater at some point, and it’s important to understand why your dog is engaging in this behavior.

Why do dogs eat poop

6 Common Answers to the Question, “Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?”

Below, you’ll find information about why dogs eat poop and what, if anything, you can do to stop your pet from doing this. Be sure to read through this quick guide to figure out when you can handle your pet’s issue at home and when you might need to see a veterinarian instead.

6 reasons why dogs eat poop include:

Scavenging

Dogs are descended from scavengers, and some dogs still feel the instinctive draw to scavenge for food and nutrients more often than others. If your dog is eating poop often, it may be because she feels like she has to, as part of her DNA.

Dogs who eat poop for no reason other than an instinctive need to consume all nutrients possible will likely never stop this behavior. However, the good news is that these dogs are also not eating poop for any dangerous reasons, and as long as they are kept up to date on their shots, they should be relatively safe, too.

Puppyhood

Puppies explore the world by putting everything in their mouths. This includes poop—theirs, and others’ too! If your dog is still a young puppy and is interested in trying to eat poop, this is normal behavior and isn’t too concerning.

However, dog poop can contain a variety of pathogens that can be very dangerous for young puppies that haven’t gotten their full round of puppy shots yet. Therefore, it’s important to keep your puppy from engaging in poop eating habits unless the poop is her own, to protect her from illness.

Mother Dogs

Mother dogs lick their puppies when the puppies need to be taught how to go to the bathroom. They also tend to eat the poop of their puppies to help keep the environment cleaner for their babies. If your dog is a mother with new puppies, all of this is perfectly normal behavior.

As long as the mother dog is only eating the poop of her puppies—and not any other poop she finds—then there isn’t anything to worry about, and this behavior will likely ease up with time. However, if she is eating poop from other animals, this can be dangerous to the puppies.

Parasites

Another potential answer to the question “why do dogs eat poop?” is that your dog may have a parasite. Some types of parasites may cause dogs to feel hungry all the time. If your dog never feels full, she may be more prone to eating her own poop or the poop of other household pets instead.

This behavior occurs because the parasites are feeding off of the dog’s nutrients, rather than the dog getting them herself.

Take your dog to the veterinarian if you think she is dealing with parasites, or if you want to rule out this possibility. Be sure to take a fresh stool sample, as this will be required for lab testing to determine what’s going on with your dog.

Illnesses

Some illnesses may cause a dog to eat poop more frequently. Cushing’s disease is one such illness that makes it difficult for a dog’s body to absorb the nutrients it needs. Dogs with Cushing’s may also never feel full, so their appetites will never be fully stimulated. This leads them to eat anything they can find, including poop.

If you think that the reason for why your dog is eating poop is because of an illness, take her to the vet. The vet can do a full workup for your dog and diagnose any underlying health problems.

Boredom

Like many odd dog behaviors, poop eating can sometimes happen as a sign of boredom. If your dog doesn’t get much mental or physical stimulation throughout the day, or if she is kept in a crate for too long every day, she may be more likely to eat poop than a dog who doesn’t have these experiences.

Dogs are more likely to eat the poop of other household pets out of boredom than their own. If your dog is eating poop out of boredom, she may need more enrichment throughout the day.

Is it Normal if My Dog is Eating Poop?

Most of the time, poop eating is fairly normal for a dog, and there isn’t anything to worry about if your pet is doing this too. However, it’s a good idea to rule out any potential illnesses that could be contributing to the behavior before deciding it’s not a problem.

Take your dog to a regular vet visit—no need to see an emergency vet for poop eating. The vet can work with you to check your pet for signs of any underlying health problems. If she is given a clean bill of health, you may just have a normal poop eater on your hands!

If you’re still asking yourself, “why do dogs eat poop,” or if you’re curious about any other behaviors, bring your pet in to see our team at The Village Vets. Our veterinarians will be able to provide insights into why your pet is doing what she’s doing, and will be able to rule out any potential health conditions that may be causing certain behaviors. Schedule an appointment at any one of our locations, our team is always happy to help.

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.

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Recent Posts

A cute young female hound dog sits at her owners feet at the dinner table, giving a longing look while waiting for a scrap of food to drop. Horizontal with copy space.

Why is My Dog Staring at Me?

Close-up ginger cat with toothbrush in his mouth. Hand with a brush.

Cat Teeth Brushing: Is it Really Needed?

Aggressive dog shows dangerous teeth. German sheperd attack head detail.

Why is My Dog Growling?

About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.