Why Does My Dog Sometimes Eat His Poop?

By Karen Becker

This quirky canine habit ranks up there as one of, if not THE most disgusting behaviors for most dog guardians. The scientific name for stool eating, by the way, is coprophagia. Does a fancy name make it any less revolting? I didn’t think so.

Dogs eat poop for lots of reasons. Sometimes, there’s an underlying medical problem like an enzyme deficiency or pancreatic insufficiency. Intestinal malabsorption and GI parasites are also common medical reasons underlying coprophagia.

Dogs on poor-quality, processed dry food diets will often seek out other sources of digestive enzymes to make up for a chronic enzyme deficiency brought on by a biologically inappropriate diet.

Coprophagia can also have a behavioral cause. Dogs that are feeling anxious or stressed may eat poop. So may dogs who have been punished for inappropriate elimination, and sadly, many puppy mill dogs are at high risk for habitual stool eating.

My recommendations for curbing/eliminating this behavior include feeding a diet containing human-grade (preferably unprocessed) protein and supplement with probiotics and digestive enzymes, and insuring your dog has toys that stimulate her brain and alleviate boredom. Also insure she is well-exercised.

Consider experimenting with some of the over-the-counter coprophagia deterrent products. Make sure you look for a non-toxic product that doesn’t contain MSG.

If despite your best efforts your dog’s poop eating behavior isn’t improving, or is getting worse, I recommend making an appointment with your vet to rule out any underlying medical reason for the behavior.


  1. Wow! Thank you. This is amazing information. I always thought it was just a “thing dogs do” and that it was a natural instinct or a return to primeval behaviour. I never imagined there could be psychological reasons. My dog is very “stressy” and I think now I can see that poop eating is a way she responds to her anxiety.

    Kelley @ The Whole Hound


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