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How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop

Is there a way to stop a dog from eating poop?

It's one of the more disgusting things that dog owners have to deal with—a dog with a poop-eating habit. Luckily, there are some things you can do to stop your dog from eating poop.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Poop-eating is called coprophagia, and there are a few ideas scientists have about why dogs do it.

One is that dogs are inherently scavengers, built to eat whatever they can find, and poop is one of those things. Another is that it's a way to keep their den and area clean and reduce the spread of parasites (unless they're eating other dogs' poop, of course).

Female dogs may do it as an inbred behavior because mama dogs clean poop off their puppies to keep them and their area clean.

Poop eating is more common in puppies, multi-dog households, and in female dogs. It's also more common in dogs that are kept alone or in a small area for too long during the day, so boredom may be involved. Dogs with anxiety may be more prone to doing it too.

If an adult dog that has never done so before begins eating poop, there could be a medical problem such as a malabsorption disease or parasite infestation, so have your dog checked out by a veterinarian if that is the case.

How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop

A dog that is eating poop might improve if given vitamin supplements. In the rare case that the behavior is being caused by a nutrient deficiency, this may put a stop to it.

Aversion products can help some dogs learn to stop eating poop. One product, For-bid, seems to be especially helpful. You feed it to the dog whose stool the poop-eater goes after, and it makes it less appealing. Some people also spray the poop with various substances meant to dissuade the dog, but that is labor intensive and should be done with care, not using anything that is toxic to dogs in case they ignore the substance and eat the poop anyway.

Training and management may be the best way to deal with most cases of coprophagia. As much as possible, keep stool cleaned up, so your dog doesn't have the option of eating it. If you have a cat's litter box in your home that your dog likes to pilfer, keep it in a spot that your cat can get to but your dog can't.

Supervise your dog when you're out and about, and keep him on a leash, so you can keep him from eating any poop he may find along the way.

Teach your dog the "leave it" command. That way, if you do see him sniffing around something, you can get him to refrain from picking it up.

If your dog tends to turn around and eat his own poop right after he goes, work on redirection. Teach him to come to you for a treat and praise immediately after going. That way, he'll learn that it's more pleasant to leave the poop alone and get a tastier treat. Do this by first keeping your dog on a leash at potty-time. As soon as he eliminates, give him the come command and walk away from the poop a bit. Give him lots of praise and a treat. Repeat that for a while until he seems to know that's what's coming. Then, work on doing it off-leash, being sure to give lots of praise when he pays attention to you instead of the poop.

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