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Why do dogs eat poop?

One of the most disgusting things that my dog has ever done is eat poop. It happened one day while we were hiking on the trails. We were having a great time just cruising along and all of a sudden we came upon some horse poop. My dog sniffed it because he likes to sniff everything as dogs do. Then he started eating the poop! I couldn’t believe it. He is a good dog and trained quite well and immediately stopped when I told him to leave it. 

Even though my dog left the poop alone quickly, he still had poop all over his face and in the long hair on his face (he is a golden doodle). After my initial shock wore off, I was left with many questions about why dogs eat poop and if this is something that happens to other dog owners. After doing some research I found a lot of great information about why dogs eat poop and how to teach them to stop. 

Why do dogs eat poop?

There are several reasons that dogs may eat poop. One reason is social isolation. Dogs that are left at home by themselves for long periods of time or are frequently kept in a kennel or crate are more likely to eat their own poop. These dogs are most likely eating their own poop because of feelings of isolation or loneliness. 

As was the case with my dog, dogs can eat poop from other animals. Dogs may eat horse poop because they can smell undigested food in the poop such as corn or other attractive smells within the feces. Dogs may also eat animal poop because they are trying to mask a human smell that they have on themselves or in their mouths. 

Regardless of the reason why your dog is eating poop, it is not healthy for your dog. If your dog is eating its own feces it is likely a socialization issue from being kept in a crate or kennel all day without any social interaction. If it is eating feces from another animal, your dog probably smells food in the poop. Eating poop can pose a major health hazard to your dog as well. Eating poop from other animals can be even more harmful to your dog. 

Eating feces from other animals can introduce all kinds of bacteria into your dog’s body that doesn’t belong there. It can also introduce other health hazards such as worms. As a general rule, you should train your dog to not eat poop. It is important that you take the time to socialize and interact with your dog regularly to help your dog avoid eating its own poop. 

What to do if my dog is eating its own poop

Proper training can go a long way in helping your dog avoid or stop eating poop. Like most dog behaviors, it is much easier to prevent the behavior from starting than it is to change it once it has become a habit. Eating poop is no different. 

The command that we use quite frequently in our home when our dog is sniffing something that may be harmful to him to eat is “leave it”. He learned this command at a young age when he was only about ten weeks old. At this fun puppy stage, he loved socks. Every time I would get out my socks to put them on he would get very excited. They were just the right size for him to grab onto with his little mouth and shake back and forth. He thought it was a very entertaining game. It got to the point where he would try to bite my socks even after they were on my feet!

My wife and I realized that this could not go on forever and so we began a routine of training him not to put socks in his mouth. This routine started by putting a sock in front of his face and firmly saying the words “leave it”. When he would make eye contact instead of biting the sock he would receive praise and a treat. 

One day, I came home from work, and his entire head was covered in socks and he was wagging his tail back and forth because he knew he was being such a good boy not putting the socks in his mouth. Now he knows that when we use the command “leave it”, it means that we don’t want him to put whatever it is he is sniffing in his mouth. This command has been very useful, especially now that we have a baby and there are many things around the house that look like his toys but are not. 

How to train my dog not to eat poop?

Training a dog not to eat poop can be a difficult task especially if your dog already has a bad habit of eating poop. The “leave it” command is a good one to use if you are looking for a place to start. When training our dog, we find that positive reinforcement and food are big motivators for our dog. Treats and praise help us and our dog be on the same page about what we want him to do. 

If your dog has already developed the bad habit of eating poop, it will be more difficult to change this behavior. It may be worth it to get advice from a professional trainer or even from your veterinarian. 

Coprophagia

Coprophagia is the technical term for eating poop. It means “feces swallowing”. This practice is actually quite common in the animal world. However, there is nothing quite as disgusting as watching your dog eat poop and then come up to you and want to lick your face. 

If you find that your dog is eating its own poop or the poop of other animals, it is important to think about why your dog may be eating poop and then make a game plan to help your dog stop eating poop. It is important to help your dog stop eating poop because it can be detrimental to your dog’s health. 

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from coprophagia, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian.

Is poop poisonous to dogs?

After I saw my dog eat poop, I immediately began to think about whether or not the poop that my dog ate was poisonous to my dog. I did some quick research and found that my dog was likely going to be ok because he only ate a little bit of poop. If your dog is eating poop regularly or if your dog has eaten a large amount of poop, there are other health concerns you should consider. 

Poop is not poisonous to dogs. If your dog eats a little bit of poop this is quite normal. If your dog has eaten large amounts of poop or eats poop frequently then your dog is more likely to have bacterial infections of the gastrointestinal tract. Eating feces can also introduce worms into your dog’s GI tract which can then cause a myriad of other health issues.  

Consult with your veterinarian if your dog has eaten a large amount of poop or eats poop frequently. These can also be signs of other behavioral problems in your dog that you should be aware of. 

How to clean my dog’s mouth after eating poop?

Dogs who eat poop are definitely in need of mouth cleaning.  No one wants to kiss a dog that just ate poop. The best way to clean your dog’s mouth after eating poop is with dog toothpaste and a doggie toothbrush. You can find these items at your local pet store.

If you don’t have time to give your dog a full brushing, you can use dog wipes or even a baby wipe to clean your dog’s mouth. Be sure to get the inside of your dog’s cheeks and all around their gum line.

It is important to clean your dog’s mouth after they eat poop because eating feces can cause health problems for your dog including bacterial infections, worms, and other gastrointestinal issues.

Eating poop is not pleasant for you or your dog. If you think your dog may have eaten poop, it is important to take action to clean your dog’s mouth and to help prevent your dog from eating feces in the future.

Do dogs only eat their own poop?

Dogs may be more prone to eating their own poop but that does not mean that they will not eat poop from other dogs or other animals.  If your dog has access to other animals’ feces, there is a chance that your dog will eat it.

If you think your dog has eaten poop from another animal, it is important to take action to clean your dog’s mouth and to help prevent your dog from eating feces in the future. Eating feces can cause health problems for your dog including bacterial infections, worms, and other gastrointestinal issues.

Why do dogs eat cat poop?

Dogs eat cat poop because it contains nutrients that they need. Cat poop is high in protein and fat, which are two things that dogs need a lot of. Additionally, cat poop often smells like food to dogs, so they may be attracted to it for that reason as well. Finally, some experts believe that since dogs are descended from wolves, they may have a natural instinct to eat anything that they find in the wild, including cat poop. Whatever the reason, it’s important to keep your dog away from cat poop, as it can contain harmful bacteria that can make them sick.

Is cat poop harmful to dogs?

Cat poop can be harmful to dogs because it can contain bacteria that can make them sick. Additionally, cat poop is often high in protein and fat, which can lead to obesity if a dog eats too much of it.

Conclusion

Dogs eat poop. It happens.  But there are some things you can do to prevent it:

  • Keep your dog away from areas where animals defecate.
  • Pick up poop immediately after your dog or cat uses the bathroom.
  • Feed your dog a high-quality diet so they don’t feel the need to supplement with poop.

If your dog eats poop, make sure to clean their mouth and train them to leave poop alone.