Stopping Your Dog From Eating Feces (Coprophagy)

Although it is more of a nuisance to pet owners, coprophagy is not harmful to pets

A common question I receive from pet owners is, “What can I do about my dog who keeps eating their own feces?”

The correct term for this behavior is coprophagy, and the answer to this question would depend upon other signs of illness (i.e diarrhea or weight loss) and/or the age of the pet. Many young puppies with intestinal parasites will ingest their own feces, but in some cases puppies without parasites may ingest their own feces as well.  Some puppies will outgrow this habit, or it will resolve if parasites are treated.

Sometimes poor quality diets can be involved with this behavior, so an all natural diet such as Nature’s Variety or Halo can be tried to see if the problem resolves. Adding enzymes to the meals like NaturVet Digestive Enzymes may help as well, and there is also For-Bid, which curbs this type of behavior.  If an adult pet has chronic diarrhea and/or weight loss accompanying the feces eating, a full workup including testing for chronic digestive or absorptive disorders should be done by your veterinarian.

Coprophagy is not dangerous to a particular pet and in most cases is more of a gross nuisance to clients, rather than a serious medical problem that needs worry or attention.  Many animal guardians will try various home remedies such as tomato juice added to food, however, these remedies are often only partially effective in my experience at best.

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10 Comments

  1. my black lab eats his own poo every day. He’s so dumb. I’ve heard boxers are alot smarter and wont eat their own poo.

  2. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMay 14, 2011 at 12:00 am

    All dogs can ingest their own feces. No breed specifics on that one.

  3. my baby can only eat iams mini chunks thats the only food that doesnt tear up his stomach , i have tried everything over the yrs. and its quite expensive. about 5yrs. ago he has started eating not only his but my 12 yr. old s also .. if i happen to miss picking it up he acts like its a piece of steak. its very very embarrasing. i even go behind him at nite with a flashlite to pick it up. please help. thank u,

  4. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    You can try deter or forbid products which you can get on line that may help. Also adding naturevet enzymes to meals from 1800petmeds also may help.

  5. My black lab (7 yrs old) eats other dogs poop whenever she finds it on our walks. She likes the poop from smaller dogs best. I’ve tried to be vigilant about not going near poopy spots but she always seems to find it; even buried under leaves. How can I train her from doing this?

  6. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Many dogs eat feces of other animals in the wild so it is not always an abnormal behavior. Make sure she is on an excellent natural diet like wysong from 1800petmeds, as well as a good multi like vitachews as well as naturevet enzymes from 1800petmeds. I have not found the commercial products that effective in stopping this behavior.

  7. My dog is a Peek-A-Poo-Pom and she is seven years old. In the past week she is digging up cat poo and bringing it up on the porch. Lately I am also seeing dog poo there. What can I do? Is there something I can put in her food or water to stop this? She is a very healthy dog and I have her checked once a year at my vet but I really don’t have the money to take her every time a little something comes up like this has. Can you sugest anything to help me with this behavorial of hers? I never leave her out without watching her but somehow she is getting by with this problem.

  8. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 20, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Try the product forbid from 1800petmeds. Also add enzymes and probiotics to her meals, like naturevet enzymes and fast balance from 1800petmeds.

  9. I’ve tried forbid and has done nothing to stop my four year old lab from eating dog poo.

  10. Many dogs do this habit for no known reason. Make sure your pet has had full vet exam, stool check, etc. as well as the supplements mentioned above . i.e naturevet enzymes, probiotics like fast balance, etc

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