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How to Stop a Dog From Eating Poop: 7 Simple Solutions

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Dogs are curious creatures, and sometimes their curiosity leads them to do things that we might find unpleasant. One of these behaviors is poop eating, also known as coprophagia. While it may seem gross and unhygienic, your dog isn’t alone.

In fact, according to a study published by Veterinary Medicine and Science, up to 16% of dogs engage in coprophagia at some point in their life.

But why do dogs eat poop? There are various reasons, including nutritional deficiencies, boredom, stress, or simply because they enjoy the taste. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to address this behavior as soon as you catch your dog eating poop, because poop eating can lead to numerous health issues or even indicate such a health issue.

In this article, we’ll discuss 7 simple solutions to help your dog stop its poop eating habit and explain why a dog eats poop in the first place.

Understanding Why Dogs Eat Poop

Lack of Nutrients

One of the main reasons why dogs eat poop is because they are not getting enough nutrients from their diet. Dogs are scavengers by nature and will often resort to eating feces as a way to supplement their nutrient intake.

Natural Instinct

In the wild, mother dogs will often eat their puppies' poop to keep their den clean and prevent predators from tracking them down. This behavior may carry over into domesticated dogs, especially if they have recently given birth.


Some dogs may simply be curious about poop or enjoy the taste, especially if they have a highly developed sense of smell. If a dog sees another adult dog or puppy eating poop, they may imitate this behavior as a form of social learning.

Medical Issues

In some cases, dogs may have a medical condition that causes them to eat poop. For example, if a dog has an enzyme deficiency, they may not be able to properly digest their food and therefore turn to feces as an alternative source of nutrients.

Underlying Behavioral Issues

In rare cases, coprophagia may be a sign of underlying behavioral issues, such as anxiety or compulsive disorder. This should be addressed with the help of a professional trainer or veterinarian.

Now that we've explored some of the reasons behind this behavior, let's discuss 7 simple solutions to help you stop your dog from eating poop.

1. Keep Your Dog's Environment Clean

The first step in stopping your dog from eating poop is to keep their environment clean. Make sure to regularly clean up after your dog and dispose of feces properly. This will prevent them from being tempted to eat their own or other dogs' poop.

Proper Waste Disposal

Always dispose of your dog's feces in a designated area or use disposable bags. This will prevent your dog from having access to their own poop.

If you have a backyard, make sure to regularly clean it up and pick up any feces left behind by other animals, as some dogs may also eat rabbit poop, cat poop, or other dog feces as well.

Keep Indoor Spaces Tidy

Make sure to clean up any accidents or messes inside the house immediately. This will prevent your dog from eating their own poop if they have an accident.

2. Provide a Nutrient-Rich Diet

As mentioned earlier, nutrient deficiencies can lead to coprophagia in dogs. Ensure your dog's diet is balanced and provides all the necessary nutrients. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your dog's specific needs.


High-Quality Food

Invest in high-quality dog food that is formulated for your dog's age, size, and breed. This will ensure that they are getting all the necessary nutrients from their meals.

Add Supplements

If your dog has a known nutrient deficiency or is on a restricted diet, consult with your veterinarian about adding supplements to their diet.

The best supplements at Pet Honesty that we recommend to keep your dog healthy are:

Avoid Feeding Table Scraps

Human food does not provide all the necessary nutrients for dogs and can actually be harmful to them in some cases. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps, as this can contribute to nutrient deficiencies.

3. Increase Mental and Physical Stimulation

Dogs need both mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. A lack of stimulation can lead to boredom or stress, which may result in coprophagia.

Regular Exercise

Make sure your dog is getting enough physical exercise daily. This will not only prevent boredom but also help them burn off excess energy.

Provide Mental Enrichment

Engage your dog's mind by providing them with interactive toys, puzzle games, or training activities. This will keep them mentally stimulated and prevent them from resorting to coprophagia as a way to entertain themselves.

Spend Quality Time

Make sure to spend regular quality time with your dog. This will not only strengthen your bond but also provide them with the attention and companionship they need to prevent stress and boredom.

4. Train Your Dog to "Leave It"

The "leave it" command can be a useful tool in preventing your dog from eating poop. Start by teaching your dog this command using treats before gradually transitioning to using it when they are tempted to eat poop.

Positive Reinforcement

Always use positive reinforcement when training your dog, including for the "leave it" command. Reward them with treats or praise when they respond correctly.

Consistency Is Key

Consistently use the "leave it" command whenever your dog shows interest in poop, whether indoors or outdoors. This will reinforce the behavior and make it more likely for them to listen to you in the future.

Seek Professional Help

If your dog is not responding to training or has underlying behavioral issues, seek help from a professional trainer or behaviorist.

5. Use Deterrents

There are several deterrents available on the market that can discourage dogs from eating poop. These can come in the form of sprays, powders, or additives for their food.

Bitter-tasting Sprays

Sprays that taste bitter or unpleasant can be applied to poop or outdoor areas where your dog may encounter it. This will discourage them from eating it.

Additives for Food

Some additives can be added to your dog's food that will make their poop less appealing and thus prevent them from wanting to eat it.

Consult With Your Veterinarian

Before using any deterrents, consult with your veterinarian to ensure they are safe for your dog and will not interfere with any medications or health conditions.

6. Supervise Your Dog

If possible, try to supervise your dog when they are outside or in an environment where there may be poop present. This will allow you to intervene and prevent them from eating it.

Keep an Eye on Your Dog

Watch your dog closely when they are outside and redirect their attention if you notice them showing interest in poop.

Use a Leash if Needed

If your dog has a habit of eating poop during walks, use a leash to prevent them from getting too close to it.

Consider Using a Muzzle

In severe cases, where supervision is not possible, consider using a muzzle when your dog is outdoors to prevent them from eating poop.

7. Address Underlying Medical Conditions

As mentioned earlier, there may be underlying medical conditions causing your dog's coprophagia. It's important to address these issues with the help of a professional.

Consult with Your Veterinarian

If you suspect your dog has a medical condition contributing to their coprophagia, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Follow Through with Recommended Treatment

Follow through with any recommended treatments or medications prescribed by your veterinarian. This will help address the underlying issue and may also alleviate symptoms of coprophagia.

Monitor Changes in Behavior

Keep track of any changes in your dog's behavior after addressing a medical condition. If they continue to eat poop, consult with your veterinarian for further advice.


Q: Is it normal for dogs to eat poop?

A: No, it is not normal for dogs to eat poop. This behavior, known as coprophagia, can be a sign of underlying issues and should be addressed.

Q: Can I use punishment to stop my dog from eating poop?

A: No, punishing your dog for this behavior will not be effective and may even worsen the issue. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and training techniques.

Q: My dog only eats poop when I'm not around. What should I do?

A: Make sure to supervise your dog when they are outside or in environments where there may be poop present. If this is not possible, consider using deterrents or addressing any underlying medical conditions.

All in All . . .

In conclusion, coprophagia can be a frustrating and unpleasant behavior in dogs. However, with the right approach and consistency, it can be managed and even prevented.

Make sure to provide a balanced diet as well as plenty of mental and physical stimulation, train your dog to "leave it", use deterrents if needed, supervise your dog, and address any underlying medical conditions.