Why Do Puppies Eat Poop and How Can You Stop It?

Golden retriever puppy smiling with its tongue out.Big Tongue Smile

The majority of new owners are enthralled by puppy antics, but a puppy who eats excrement does not elicit smiles. It might also be the excrement of any animal. Some pups will consume whatever they can get their hands on, from their stool to your cat's litter box deposits to a neighboring horse's or cow's dung. Although many pups eventually grow out of this period, there are things you may do to discourage or even halt the habit.


Watch Now: Why Do Some Puppies Eat Poop?

Why Do Puppies Eat Poop?

Dogs often eat their own or another animal’s droppings, no matter what species of animal does it. There's even a technical term for it: coprophagia.

This habit is common in young pups to help populate the gastrointestinal system with healthy bacteria and to help their moms keep the "den" clean. The good news is that the majority of puppies grow out of it. The bad news is that some dogs continue to engage in this heinous behavior throughout their lives.

There are a variety of reasons why your puppy eats poop:



It's fantastic puppy entertainment to wave your hands, scream disdain, and chase the puppy around the yard. Chasing may encourage your puppy to play poopy-keep-away by rewarding the behavior. Poop eating might also be caused by boredom. If a dog is left alone in the yard with nothing to do, it may turn to the only thing accessible.

Fun Fact

It's possible that eating other species' feces is merely a matter of taste. Undigested grains or other substances in cow and horse excrement may appeal to your puppy. This might explain why the litter box looks like a puppy snack bar!

Low-Quality or Low-Quantity Diet

Puppies may eat their own feces if their nutrition is poor. For example, if the dog's meal isn't being properly digested, the dog may turn to its excrement as a supplement because it's practically identical to when the food was consumed. It's also conceivable that a dog isn't getting enough food and needs to be fed more often.

Health Conditions

Coprophagia can also be caused by certain medical conditions. Malabsorption or maldigestion can be caused by diseases of the small intestine or pancreas. Diabetes and thyroid problems, for example, can boost a dog's hunger, and if its usual food isn't satisfying, it may eat whatever is available.


Stress can also lead a dog to eat their feces, especially major stressors like coming to a new home after being adopted.

How to Stop Dogs From Eating Poop

Stopping this habit before it gets out of hand is the best option. Because parasites are commonly spread by excrement, a dog who treats it as a reward puts his or her health at danger. There are a few things you can take to stop this disgusting habit:

Make It Clear the Behavior Is Unwanted

Puppies may devour garbage to earn your attention, so even shouting at them may be rewarding. Make no eye contact or talk if you catch your dog in the act. Instead, shake a can full of coins or clap your hands loudly to disrupt the deed.

Increase the Level of Activity

Increase playing to at least 20 minutes many times a day for bored puppies, or try aerobic activity twice a day. Increase the quantity of toys accessible to your dog if you leave him in the yard while you're gone. A toy laced with treats, such as a Kong filled with peanut butter, is a tastier and healthier option.

Minimize Stress

If you suspect stress is a factor in your dog's behavior, attempt to provide some respite. This will include addressing the source of the worry, and calming drugs like Adaptil can assist in the meantime while you concentrate on fixing the problem. For assistance with diagnosis and treatment, see your veterinarian.

Keep Your Pup On a Leash

Keep your dog off the mound by walking it on a leash and leading it away after it's done. Reward it for leaving the stool alone. Teach the puppy to "come" and sit in front of you after each bowel movement, whether it's its own or another dog's, and reward it with a tasty treat while you clean up the mess.

Switch Foods

When their feces hasn't been properly "processed," some dogs will consume it. In these cases, a more digestible diet that has all of your dog's essential nutrients may be beneficial. Request a referral from your veterinarian. Remember to ease into the new diet gradually, since a drastic shift might cause stomach problems.

Minimize Access to Other Animal Waste

Place the out of reach of the dog on a table or counter. A covered may prevent the dog while offering the cat access and privacy if the cat does not object. To keep the dog out of the cat's area, use a baby gate. Some cats can jump over normal gates, but you can raise it a few inches off the floor to allow your cat to slink underneath while the jumbo-size dog is unable to pass.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.