Reasons why dogs eat poop and what to do

Dogs have numerous bad habits but eating poop is the most disgusting. My German shepherd dog had this habit and just recently, i think it has stopped. Few months ago when she was about 6 months, i noticed there was no poop each time i do clean up. I had to pay closer attention to this discovery.  The next day  i saw the most disgusting thing, she picked the poop and chewed it(you can imagine how i felt — “ANGRY”). To cut it short, she is better now. I will share some methods that helped in correcting this problem. But first lets know the reasons for this behavior.

why dogs eat poop

There are plenty of reasons why dogs eat poop some are even not known yet  but the main reasons comes down to these factors.

  • health
  • Neglect/isolation
  • Attention seeking
  • Learnt habit
  • Anxiety

HEALTH: health related issues are one of the most common reasons your dog would eat poop. You should consult with you vet to check if it is health related. Some dogs would start eating poop when they aren’t absorbing enough nutrients or they have parasites or even have issues with their pancreas. Which way it is, check with your vet to make sure the problem is not health related.

NEGLECT/ISOLATION:  poop eating is common with dogs that are left neglected and even isolated. A starving dog will eat anything to survive and that includes poop. Dogs that are left alone(isolated) either in chains , kennels, room etc are more likely to eat poop than dogs who live close to their people.

ATTENTION SEEKING:  our behavior can also be the cause, many dogs will eat their poop simply for the attention that they get from their owner.  Negative attention is still attention and owners who scolds their dogs for the behavior will quite often only reinforce it.  Stay calm and don’t overreact.

LEARNT HABIT: dogs learns everyday and with every situation. This habit can also be learnt . A puppy can learn this behavior from their mother, or other dogs living together. If you always clean up your dogs poop immediately while your dog looks on, he may misunderstand your intent and try to copy your actions in other ways by picking up after himself.

ANXIETY:  it is often a result of a person using punishments or harsh methods during house training. If a dog is punished for rubbing his body on poop( which is not a good way to deal with the problem) he may try to dispose of the evidence the next time around so as not to get punished again.

How to stop your dogs from eating poop

  • The first thing you should do is take your dog to visit a vet so as to rule out any health related issue. If it is health related, the vet would be able to offer assistance.  Your vet can also recommend taste aversion products for use that would not be harmful to your dog.
  • Keeping the house clean , both your dog’s living area and the environment so that there will be no poop to pick up.
  • Pay close attention to your dog when you go on walks and remove any poop around immediately.
  • One of the best way to stop this problem is training. Train your dog on basic commands like ”COME” , “LEAVE IT”. Get a good trainer for accurate and fast results.


We must pay close attention to our dogs at all times to avoid any bad behaviour.  Remember that there are sicknesses that can be transmitted through eating poop.

One of the ways I stopped my dog from eating her poop was by mixing a little pineapple to her meal. It worked for me, plus I included the methods discussed earlier (please the fact that it worked for me, doesn’t mean it will also work for anyone. Visit a vet for assistance).

Please also note that in fighting this behaviour, we should be careful with feeding our dogs close to the poop. Dogs who are feed in close proximity to their poop may make a connection between the odors of food and those of poop and will be unable to tell the difference.

Do you have any tips for stopping dogs from eating poop, let is know in the comment section.

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