Canine Coprophagia: What Nutrients is Your Dog Missing?

As a pet owner, one of the most unpleasant things to witness is your furry friend eating their own feces. This behavior, known as coprophagia, is more common in dogs than in other pets. While it may seem disgusting, this act can also indicate a nutritional deficiency in your dog’s diet. In this article, we will explore what nutrients your dog may be missing, the best food options to meet their needs, and tips for maintaining your dog’s health and well-being.

Canine Coprophagia: What Nutrients is Your Dog Missing?

Understanding Canine Coprophagia

Coprophagia is a natural behavior in some animals, including dogs, particularly in their early stages of life. A mother dog will often consume her puppies’ waste to keep the den clean and protect them from predators. However, when this behavior continues into adulthood, it can be a sign of underlying issues.

If your dog is consuming its feces or that of other animals, it could indicate a lack of nutrients in their diet. As such, a change in diet, particularly adding certain nutrients to their food, can help prevent this behavior.

Nutrients Your Dog May Be Missing

While coprophagia can have different causes, one of the most common is a lack of essential nutrients in your dog’s diet, leading to malabsorption of food or an inability to properly digest it. Here are some of the nutrients that your dog may be lacking and how their absence can contribute to coprophagia:

1. Fiber

Fiber is a crucial nutrient in a dog’s diet as it helps maintain digestive health and a healthy weight. It also helps in the absorption of other nutrients in the body. If your dog is not getting enough fiber, they may experience constipation, diarrhea or vomiting. These symptoms can lead to coprophagia to relieve muscle tension.

Best Sources of Fiber:

  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Carrots

2. Protein

Protein is essential for the growth and development of dogs. It helps build and repair cells, tissues, and organs, and it also helps in the production of enzymes and hormones. Protein deficiency can lead to muscle wasting, lethargy, and decreased immune function, leading to the search for additional protein in fecal matter.

Best Sources of Protein:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Lean meats

3. Vitamins

Vitamins are essential for maintaining your dog’s overall health and well-being. They help regulate metabolism and strengthen the immune system. Vitamins like Vitamin B, especially B1(thiamine), B6(i.e. pyridoxine)and B12(cobalamin), are essential for nerve function and energy production. Lack of these nutrients in your dog’s diet can lead to lethargy and increased anxiety.

Best Sources of Vitamins:

  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Apples

4. Minerals

Minerals are vital for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. They also help in the production of hormones and enzymes. A deficiency in minerals like calcium and magnesium can lead to muscle weakness. Which can lead to coprophagia.

Best Sources of Minerals:

  • Dairy products
  • Green vegetables
  • Meat
  • Fish

Best Food Options to Meet Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs

To prevent coprophagia, you must provide your dog with a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Here are some of the best food options to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements:

1. Home-Cooked Diet

Home-cooked diets are an excellent way to ensure your dog receives all required nutrients. You can prepare homemade meals for your dog using whole food ingredients that are fresh and free of preservatives. Home-cooked meals are also a great way to cater to dogs with food allergies or intolerances.

2. Raw Food Diet

Raw food diets consist of raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables. They are a great way to provide your dog with essential nutrients that may be lost during cooking. Raw diets are beneficial for dogs with allergies and digestive issues.

3. High-Quality Commercial Dog Food

High-quality commercial dog food is another great option that provides your dog with balanced nutrition. Look for brands that use high-quality meat as their primary ingredient and avoid those that contain fillers, wheat, soy, or corn. Ideally, you should opt for dog food that uses organic and natural ingredients.

Tips for Maintaining Your Dog’s Health and Well-Being

In addition to ensuring your dog is getting the right nutrients in their diet, there are other steps you can take to maintain their health and well-being:

  • Ensure your dog gets enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight
  • Provide regular dental care to prevent dental problems that can lead to bad breath and health issues
  • Regular vet checkups are highly recommended to monitor their overall health
  • Train your dog with positive reinforcement techniques to build a strong relationship with them and establish boundaries


Coprophagia is not only a disgusting behavior in dogs but can also indicate an underlying nutritional deficiency. Ensuring that your dog is getting the right nutrients in their diet is crucial for preventing this behavior. By providing a well-balanced diet, implementing regular exercise and dental care, and maintaining regular veterinary checkups, you can help your furry friend maintain optimal health and wellness.


Sure, here are 3 popular FAQs with answers for ‘Canine Coprophagia: What Nutrients is Your Dog Missing?’

1) Q: Why does my dog eat poop?
A: Canine coprophagia (poop eating) can be a behavioral or medical issue, but it can also happen due to nutritional deficiencies. Dogs that lack essential nutrients such as protein, fats, vitamins and minerals in their diet might resort to eating poop to fulfill their nutritional requirements.

2) Q: What are the nutrients that my dog might be missing if he is eating poop?
A: Protein, fats, vitamins (especially Vitamin B) and minerals, such as calcium and iron, are some of the essential nutrients that your dog might be missing if he is eating poop. These nutrients are important for your dog’s overall health and well-being, and a well-balanced and nutritious diet can prevent coprophagia.

3) Q: How can I prevent my dog from eating poop?
A: You can prevent your dog from eating poop by addressing the root cause of the problem, whether it’s behavioral, medical or nutritional. Providing a well-balanced and nutritious diet that meets your dog’s daily requirements of essential nutrients can help prevent coprophagia. You can also try to distract your dog from poop-eating by providing him with toys, treats and plenty of exercise. Additionally, supervising your dog and cleaning up poop from your yard or during walks can help prevent the behavior.

Scroll to Top