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Eating Faeces (Coprophagia)

Most people are perplexed as to why dogs eat faeces (pooh). Owners think it is disgusting and may reprimand their dog if caught doing it.

There are three types of copraphagia;

  1. 1.Autocoprophagia eating its own faeces…

  2. 2.Intraspecific Coprophagia eating faeces from within its own species ie another dog.

  3. 3.Interspecific Coprophagia eating faeces from another species

       (i.e.  deer, rabbit, horse, etc).

I have found Intraspecific Coprophagia to be the main one that owners object to.

There are several reasons why a dog may perform this behaviour.

  1. *The puppy witnessed it’s mother eating the faeces in the litter (she was keeping the area clean) or it may have seen the owner doing it.This is more usual with the first born.

  2. *The puppy had been scolded by the owner for messing in the home. (It is eating the evidence).

  3. *The faeces contains traces of nutrients from the dogs diet. (It is recycling goodness).

  4. * I have seen dogs do it to gain attention, even if they are told off.

  5. *The dog enjoys the taste!

  6. *The dog is a natural scavenger and will take advantage of a bonus meal.


I have found the problem is more likely to occur when the dog’s diet is rich, especially tinned dog food. Some vets advise adding garlic to the dogs food as a deterrent. I am not convinced this would change the dog’s behaviour. For most people their first taste of alcohol or cigarettes has not deterred them in fact drinkers and smokers admit to enjoying the taste.

My records show I dealt with six cases with this unwanted behaviour. 

All but one responded positively to my treatment.

It helps to keep both house and garden clean from faeces by clearing up regularly. Always praise puppy for doing it in the garden.

puppy in clean litter box

puppy house trained

hiding the evidence