There is a gross reality that many dog parents have to deal with…their dog eating feces! It is a common bad habit with some dogs, but thankfully this habit can be broken. We are offering you all the tips and tricks you need to get your dog to quit eating poop for good!

Why Do Dogs Eat Feces?

Usually, when a dog begins to eat their feces, it is caused by one of two things. 1, behavioral. 2, medical.

Behavioral Reasons Why Dogs Eat Feces

Dog's eating feces is common in puppies and can often be chalked up to a behavioral issue. Some of the different reasons they might be doing this include:

  • Stress
  • Attention seeking
  • Boredom
  • Scavenging
  • Learned from other dogs
  • To clean it up

Sometimes our dogs eat their feces to 'clean it up'. This is more common in older female dogs looking to clean up after their puppies. Puppies also do this as a part of discovering everything and anything around them. Usually, this habit is something they grow out of with time.

Stressed-out dogs will also eat their feces to avoid getting in trouble and remove any evidence. Others will do it purely out of stress, usually from growing up in a puppy mill and not being adequately nourished.

Medical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Feces

If your dog begins to eat their feces, you can't always assume it is purely a behavioral issue. Sometimes this is your dog's way of telling you something is wrong. Some medical conditions this behavior could be signaling to include:

  • Malabsorption diseases (like IBD)
  • Enzyme deficiency
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid condition
  • Underfed
  • Side-effect from medication

Enzyme deficiency can occur due to a lack of diversity in our dog's diets. You can start adding different supplements and enzymes to your dog's food to up their nutritional absorption.

If your dog is suffering from a condition like IBD or EPI, it will often begin to lose a large amount of weight and experience diarrhea. These symptoms, combined with eating their stool, are definite signs they need a trip to the vet.

Parasites are also a nuisance to our dogs as they steal nutrients. Weight loss and eating feces could signify your dog has a form of intestinal parasite. Thankfully these days there is a wide range of medications that can help dogs expel parasites.

Your vet can conduct bloodwork, fecal examinations, and urinalysis with a dog wellness plan. These routine tests will help the vet diagnose your dog and get them started on the right treatment plan. A dog wellness plan will also cover different parasite prevention medications and vaccinations to protect them in the future.

How Can I Break A Feces Eating Habit?

One of the best ways to break this habit is to clean up feces right away once your dog finishes their business. This includes cleaning out the cat's litter box often to not tempt a dog with a feces eating habit.

If your dog is doing this out of boredom or seeking your attention, try playing with them more and stimulating them to keep them busy. This can help distract them from the feces and eventually they won’t find it so fun anymore.

Improving your dog's diet is also a great way to ensure that they are not doing this due to malnutrition or hunger. Always read the back of the dog food bag or food can to ensure you are feeding your dog enough each day. Some dog foods are higher in calories than others and require an adjusted amount.

If your dog has recently started doing this out of the blue, then you should bring them to the vet to ensure it is not a sign of a medical condition. Veterinarians will be able to conduct different routine examinations to ensure your dog's health or suggest further diagnostic testing and medications.

Wagmo's dog wellness plans cover routine care such as vet visits, vaccinations, fecal exams, urinalysis, bloodwork, heartworm medications, flea and tick medications, and more! Pet wellness coverage is made for preventative care, ensuring the overall health of our dogs. Get your free Wagmo quote today and build your customized dog wellness and pet insurance plans.