Seven reasons your dog eats poo Dog owners often complain to their vet about their dog’s obsession with eating his or her own poo, or worse, the poo of other dogs. This behaviour is known as coprophagy. Here are the top reasons why:
- Dogs are naturally scavengers whose ancestors ate whatever they could find to survive. This animalistic trait is one reason many dogs, especially the less picky breeds, will eat poo at any opportunity.
- Many dogs indulge in this behaviour when they are still puppies but will grow out of it as they get older. Mothers will actually often encourage their little pups to eat their own droppings as an additional source of nutrients and to keep their environment clean.
- Curiosity and the desire to explore the world around them is another driver of coprophagy. While the majority of dogs will satisfy their curiosity by sniffing their droppings or those of other dogs, there are some that just need to go that little bit further and put everything they want to know more about in their mouth.
- Some vets believe anxiety can cause dogs to eat their own poo. If a dog has experienced particularly harsh punishment during housetraining, he or she may get anxious and feel the need to ‘get rid of the evidence’ when it poos.
- Like some humans, many dogs just love food. They love it so much, that when they smell the odours of their food in their poop, they just can’t resist enjoying the meal a second time.
- If a dog shares his or her home with a sick or elderly dog, the dog may eat the sick or elderly dog’s poo to clean it up. This behaviour is driven by the instinct that predators may be attracted to the scent of a weakened animal.
- A nutritional deficiency in your dog’s diet may also be causing this. Supporters of this theory believe that a lack of key nutrients and minerals in your dog’s diet, particularly vitamin B, may be driving your dog to search out those nutrients in poo. Or maybe your dog is just hungry!