Curbing Coprophagia: Should You Prevent Your Dog from Eating Poop?

Curbing Coprophagia: Should You Prevent Your Dog from Eating Poop?


As a dog owner, you may have seen your furry companion engage in the behavior of eating poop, otherwise known as coprophagia. This can be a distressing sight, and you may wonder if it’s something you should prevent. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of dog nutrition and explore the potential risks and benefits of allowing your dog to eat poop. We’ll also offer expert advice on training and behavior to foster a strong bond between dogs and their owners, and share updates on relevant events and news within the dog community.

The Biology of Coprophagia

Coprophagia is not uncommon in dogs, and in some cases, it’s a natural behavior that can be linked to a dog’s evolutionary history. Wild dogs and their ancestors would often eat feces as a way of gaining additional nutrients that may have been missing from their regular diet. Additionally, mothers would eat their puppies’ feces to keep their den clean and prevent predators from being attracted to the scent.

However, in domesticated dogs, coprophagia can be a sign of health problems or nutritional deficiencies. Dogs that are not receiving enough nutrients from their regular diet may resort to eating feces as a way of compensating for the lack of nutrients. In some cases, it may also be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Potential Risks of Coprophagia

While coprophagia may have been a natural behavior in dogs’ evolutionary history, it can come with risks in the modern world. Eating feces can expose dogs to harmful bacteria and parasites, which can cause a range of health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, and even more severe illnesses. Additionally, it can be a socially unacceptable behavior, and it can be distressing for owners to witness.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

To prevent coprophagia, it’s essential to ensure that your dog’s diet is well-balanced and provides all the necessary nutrients. A high-quality commercial dog food that meets AAFCO standards should contain all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your dog needs. However, if you’re feeding your dog homemade meals or a raw food diet, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is receiving all the necessary nutrients.

In addition to a balanced diet, treats can also provide additional nutrients and health benefits for your dog. For example, treats made with salmon or other fish can provide omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with skin and coat health, while treats made with pumpkin can promote healthy digestion.

Training and Behavior

Preventing coprophagia requires a combination of training and behavior modification techniques. One technique is to teach your dog the “leave it” command, which can be used to stop your dog from eating feces or other undesirable objects. To teach this command, start by holding a treat in your closed fist and offering it to your dog. When your dog sniffs or tries to get the treat, say “leave it” and close your hand. When your dog stops trying to get the treat, praise and reward them with a different treat.

Another technique is to use a deterrent spray or powder on feces to make them taste unpleasant to your dog. However, it’s important to note that these products should only be used as a last resort, as they can also discourage your dog from eating other foods or treats that may contain similar ingredients.

Relevant Events and News

The dog community is constantly evolving, with new events and news happening all the time. One recent development is the rise of CBD treats and supplements for dogs, which can help with anxiety, pain, and other health conditions. However, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any new supplements or medications.

Another trend in the dog community is the increasing popularity of raw food diets. While these diets may provide additional nutrients and health benefits, they can also come with risks, such as bacterial contamination. It’s important to do your research and consult with your veterinarian before starting your dog on a raw food diet.


Coprophagia can be a distressing behavior for dog owners to witness, but it’s essential to understand the potential risks and benefits before taking action. By ensuring that your dog’s diet is well-balanced and providing additional nutrients through treats, you can prevent coprophagia and promote overall health and wellbeing for your furry companion. With the right training and behavior modification techniques, you can foster a strong bond between you and your dog and ensure that your dog’s behavior is socially acceptable.


Why do dogs eat poop?
Dogs may eat poop for a variety of reasons. Some dogs may eat poop simply because they like the taste or smell, while others may do so as a result of boredom, anxiety, or a lack of nutrients in their diet. Additionally, some dogs may eat poop as a learned behavior, especially if they were raised in an environment where feces were not properly disposed of.

Is it harmful for my dog to eat poop?
While eating poop is generally not harmful to a dog’s health, it can increase the risk of illness and parasitic infection. Dogs that eat poop may also be at risk for contracting diseases from the feces, such as parvovirus, distemper, and salmonella.

How can I prevent my dog from eating poop?
There are several ways to prevent your dog from eating poop. One method is to keep your yard and surrounding areas clean of feces. You can also try feeding your dog a well-balanced and nutritious diet, as some dogs may eat poop due to a lack of nutrients in their diet. Additionally, you can try training techniques, such as teaching your dog the “leave it” command or providing them with a distraction, such as a toy, when outside. If the behavior persists, it may be helpful to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for further guidance.

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