Coprophagia, the act of dogs eating their own feces or that of other animals, can be a perplexing and unpleasant behavior for pet owners. In this article, we will delve into the world of coprophagia in dogs, exploring its potential causes, prevention strategies, and effective solutions to help your furry companion kick this unsavory habit.

1. Why Do Dogs Eat Feces?

  • Natural Instincts: Explain how coprophagia may have evolutionary roots, as wild canids sometimes consume feces to keep their dens clean and hide their presence from predators.
  • Nutrient Deficiency: Discuss the theory that dogs may eat feces to compensate for nutritional deficiencies.
  • Behavioral Issues: Introduce the idea that coprophagia can also be a behavioral issue related to boredom, stress, or attention-seeking.

2. Identifying the Underlying Cause:

  • Medical Causes: Explain that certain medical conditions, such as malabsorption disorders or parasites, can lead to coprophagia.
  • Behavioral Causes: Describe common behavioral triggers, including anxiety, confinement, and insufficient mental stimulation.

3. Prevention Strategies:

  • Nutrition: Highlight the importance of providing a balanced and nutritious diet to reduce the likelihood of coprophagia due to nutrient deficiencies.
  • Regular Exercise: Emphasize the significance of daily exercise to keep dogs physically and mentally stimulated.
  • Behavioral Training: Discuss the benefits of training and positive reinforcement to curb undesirable behavior.
  • Supervision: Advise pet owners to closely monitor their dogs, especially puppies, to prevent access to feces.

4. Coping with Coprophagia:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Explain how positive reinforcement can be used to reward desired behaviors.
  • Distracting Alternatives: Suggest offering engaging toys or puzzles to redirect your dog’s attention away from feces.
  • Dietary Supplements: Mention that some dietary supplements may help deter coprophagia.
  • Consulting a Veterinarian: Encourage pet owners to consult their veterinarian if coprophagia persists, as it could be due to an underlying medical issue.

5. Cleaning and Sanitizing:

  • Proper Cleanup: Offer tips on promptly and effectively cleaning up feces to reduce the temptation for coprophagia.
  • Outdoor Hygiene: Stress the importance of maintaining a clean and safe outdoor environment.

6. Seeking Professional Help:

  • Behavioral Specialists: Explain that in severe cases, consulting a canine behavioral specialist may be necessary.

7. Patience and Persistence:

  • Managing Expectations: Remind pet owners that overcoming coprophagia may take time, and patience is key.


Coprophagia in dogs can be a challenging issue to address, but with the right approach, it is possible to help your furry friend overcome this behavior. By understanding the potential causes, implementing prevention strategies, and considering professional assistance when needed, you can work towards a happier, healthier life for both you and your beloved canine companion.