Eating Number Two is Number One Among Pet Parent Concerns

Eating Number Two is Number One Among Pet Parent Concerns

What is coprophagia? For those of you that have a dog that does it, no explanation is necessary. But for the rest of us…

According to Wikipedia, coprophagia is the consumption of feces, from the Greek κόπρος copros ("feces") and φαγεῖν phagein ("to eat"). Many animal species practice coprophagia as a matter of course; other species do not normally consume feces but may do so under unusual conditions.


It is a fact of life: many of us know and love a dog that practices this disgusting gustatory habit, and many dog owners are pulling their hair out trying to get their pet to stop!

You may or may not know that for canines in the wild, this is a natural instinct and not at all odd. Dogs are scavengers, after all, and this might be within the range of scavenger behavior. Wild canines may also be trying to prevent the scent from attracting predators. For domesticated adult dogs, however, this is usually not a normal behavior.

Most of the time, there are valid medical and psychological conditions that can contribute to the practice of coprophagia. Some causes include attention-seeking behavior, anxiety or stress. Health problems, such as pancreatitis and intestinal parasites, can cause coprophagia, and dogs will move heaven and earth to get to “kitty tootsie rolls”! (Apparently, dogs really like the taste of kitty poo.)

If you have a doggie-doo-eater, this all may sound too familiar, but do not despair! Even if your dog has done this their whole life, it is possible for them to stop, and there are training methods and products available to curb and possibly even end the behavior.

In this video, Dr. Sarah details the causes of coprophagia in domesticated dogs, and lays out several actions you can take at home to end coprophagic behavior in your dog. With dedication, discipline and following the recommended principles, it is possible to change your doggie-doo eater!

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

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Dog Training: The Secret To Canine Cooperation

Comments (5) -

  • essay writing

    2/28/2010 11:39:58 PM |

    The only thing I can say is "So gross"! Good thing my pet dog never do disgusting things like that. lol!

  • Janet

    10/1/2010 4:48:12 PM |

    yes, it's "gross" to humans, but probably happens more than people would like to admit.  It's a natural part of raising pups; the mother dog stimulates the puppies to pee and poo for their first few weeks of life because they cannot do it themselves, and after that momma naturally "cleans up" after the pups.  Luckily, we don't have that problem with our adult dogs.  Thanks for the informative video!
    Janet Roberts

  • Ann

    10/25/2010 8:36:30 AM |

    Another important reason that dogs engage in coprophagia is that the diet they are eating lacks nutrients that they, as specific individuals, need. Eating feces is their way of searching for more. The solultion of course is to improve the dog's diet and add a supplement as well.

  • john

    2/23/2011 12:05:56 PM |

    have fed my 6 month lab from the start lifes abudance food so what supplement should i use to help?

  • All Round Ranch Toy Poodles 2

    6/13/2022 11:46:49 PM |

    We have had babies just weaned eating poop after watching mom for six weeks maybe they think they’re suppose to also.  We add pumpkin to all pups with the eater.  THAT FIXED THE PROBLEM!

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