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Why Does My Dog Eat Her Poop?

Updated on January 9, 2020
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Linda has a Master's Degree in Psychology. She has a passion for writing on multiple genre's, including raising a family.

A Nasty Dog Behavior

Our dog, 'Spooky"
Our dog, 'Spooky" | Source

Coprophagia: The Term used for Dogs eating their Feces

My niece had been pleading with her mother and I to get her a dog she could call her own. We already had a dog named Joey. He's a eight year old, black lab mix. We adopted him when my sister was going through a painful divorce, and I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Having this loyal, loving dog was the best medicine for our family.

On November 14, 2009, we adopted an adorable female puppy for my niece. 'Spooky' is a black lab, border collie mix. Some people believe she may have Chesapeake in her as evidenced by her wavy black hair.

New Puppy has a Nasty Behavior

We were all enjoying our new puppy and getting to know her personality. There was one disturbing behavior we noticed when we brought her out to do her duty. I noticed she would sniff certain areas of the yard, as though she was searching for something. Eventually she would find the unknown object and try to eat it. I thought it was a rock or a piece of frozen snow. I was usually able to pull it out of her mouth before she ate it, but there were times she fought me and won.

One day as we went through our normal routine; she finished doing her business, sniffed, and put something in her mouth. I decided to put the mystery to an end and looked closely at what it was. To my utter dismay, there in my hands (glad I had mittens on) lay a piece of frozen poop.

Definition of Coprophagia

Coprophagia /kɒp.rə.ˈfeɪ.dʒi.ə/[1] or coprophagy /kəˈprɒfədʒiː/ is the consumption of feces. The word is derived from the Greek κόπρος copros, "feces" and φαγεῖν phagein, "to eat". Coprophagy refers to many kinds of feces eating, including eating feces of other species (heterospecifics), of other individuals (allocoprophagy), or its own (autocoprophagy) – those once deposited or taken directly from the anus.[2]

In humans, coprophagia has been observed in individuals with mental illness. Some animal species eat feces as a normal behavior; other species may not normally consume feces but do so under very unusual conditions.

Educating ourselves on this Behavior

After doing research and talking to friends and fellow writers on this subject; I learned this behavior is fairly common with girl dogs. It seems females like keeping there bathroom area clean and tidy. I also learned that this disgusting behavior has a name. The term for dogs that eat their poop is called, 'Coprophagia.'

After the family became more educated on this topic and got over the initial shock of learning our dog had been trying to eat her poop; we gained a better sense of humor about it. We coined "Spooky's" little treasures as "poopsicles."

Dogs Eating their Feces

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Linda Rogers


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