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Why does my Dog Eat her Poop?

Updated on March 29, 2016

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

Does your dog like to eat it's poop

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© 2010 Linda Rogers

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  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    6 years ago from Minnesota

    Aww, what a sweet story. Animals can really help with depression. I was really depressed after a cancer diagnosis and adopting my black lab was huge in helping me look past the obstacles. Dogs are so loyal and give so much unconditional love. I am glad your son has new buddy's.

  • tirelesstraveler profile image

    Judy Specht 

    6 years ago from California

    My son was recently discharged from the Navy and was severely depressed, when a friends dog had puppies. We agreed on one. The day my son went to bring our pup home I asked "Do you have in mind which of the other ones you might like if you could get two"? He didn't hesitate,"Of course". The little after thought was the life saver.

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    6 years ago from Minnesota

    Hi Kerlynb-I Know, People have been telling me that their dogs do this too. Gross is right! Thanks for stopping :-)

  • kerlynb profile image

    kerlynb 

    6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

    You won't believe how common dogs eat their poop! I had a dog who was the greatest mother ever and she would eat her poop! As you can imagine, we were totally grossed out! I mean, it's so out of this world, right? We thought, this dog is bad. But then again, we somehow learned to teach her how to poop and get away from it. BTW, there's even a hub teaching hubbers how to help dogs avoid eating their excretions.

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    7 years ago from Minnesota

    LMAO A.A.Zavala! So sorry to hear you were enjoying a harmless popsicle when you read this. Don't let it give you an aversion to popsicles. Ya, Spooky is really cute and she is really soft and shiny. We have two rescue dogs and it's the best thing we ever did.

  • A.A. Zavala profile image

    Augustine A Zavala 

    7 years ago from Texas

    What are the odds. I was eating a popcicle when I was reading this, until I got to the last paragraph. You really should put a warning at the top of the hub warning popcicle eaters that they may need to wait and finish it before they read the hub.

    The dog is absolutely beautiful! I love her coat! Such a beautiful rescue...

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    7 years ago from Minnesota

    Thanks for sharing your funny stories with me. I don't get why they seem to enjoy eating poop. Gross! The puppy has mellowed a bit on this though there are still times she has a taste for it.

  • clark farley profile image

    clark farley 

    7 years ago

    Great Hub!

    Our second dog (Bella) used to enjoy cat excrement, as we walked through our woods, the humans would totally be on the lookout for piles of pine needles (like a drive up window for dogs), and steer Bella around the area. Interesting, in that it was only the feline brand, never the canine.

    Our new puppy Una, has some curiosity about her own output, but we are making an effort not to make too big a deal out of it, as puppies seem to really enjoy the things you tell them they can't have!

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    7 years ago from Minnesota

    Hi OGWoman-Thanks for stopping as I love seeing my new hubber friends visiting me. Yes, strays and rescue dogs are all we get. They are so loving and loyal and deserve a good home. I tell everyone that our dogs rescued us much more than we rescued them. They make our lives so full. I love hearing you say how your dog picked you. It is so important that we not only pick them but they pick us. We obviously have a love of dogs in common. Have a great weekend:)

  • onegoodwoman profile image

    onegoodwoman 

    7 years ago from A small southern town

    Such a cute story!

    I , too, recently had a dog

    who 'adopted' me. They do

    have their own personalities.

    If we are wise, we can figure

    out their 'cues'.

    The least we can do,

    is enjoy them and protect

    them........strays often

    make the best of pets.

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    8 years ago from Minnesota

    Hi kashmir56-Thanks for reading my story about Spooky the puppy. Life with no doggies would be depressing. My family and I just brought our dogs to the lake and sat on a bench eating icecream on this beautiful fall day. Great to see one of my new hub buddies here. Thx

  • kashmir56 profile image

    Thomas Silvia 

    8 years ago from Massachusetts

    Great hub about your new puppy, it was good of you to rescued her,it's always good when people do that.You are so right life would be boring without dogs.

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    8 years ago from Minnesota

    Hi poetvix and thanks for coming by. You are soo right that all animals have their own personalities and little idiosynchcrosies. Both of our dogs are from the shelter and they are both such wonderful pets and so much a part of us. So your dog rolls in it, how very lovely. We still love them aside from the weird behavior, don't we? How boring it would be without my dogs. :)

  • poetvix profile image

    poetvix 

    8 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

    This was too cute. I love that you adopted a dog and saved her from a harsh existance. I volunteered at a shelter once... not a pleasant place for any animal.

    Spooky sounds like a very lucky and playful puppy. I can't say my beloved Mastiff eats "her duty" but...ewwww. she will roll in it! Ugh. I think dogs are like people and each has his or her own quirks.

    Great Hub, a feel good fuzzy for the whole family. Thank you for sharing.

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    8 years ago from Minnesota

    Hi ethel and thank you so kindly for coming by for a visit. Isn't it just gross that they actually like this. I guess the up side of this issue, as joaniemb said, is that they clean up the poop in the yard. UUGGHH!

  • ethel smith profile image

    Ethel Smith 

    8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

    lol. Yes one of my dogs does this if we do not watch her

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    8 years ago from Minnesota

    What is up with our doggies??? I think it's funny that the drops didn't work. I guess your dog knows good eatin. So you call them poopsicles too. LOL. Thank you so much for stopping in for a visit. It means a lot.

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    8 years ago from Minnesota

    Sweetsusieg-OMG, I'm still laughing about your comments. "Gummie bears" is as good as my "poopsicles." I guess we have a lot in common with our pets and kids liking to eat poop. You are quite a busy woman with all the kids and pets. I love your sense of humor susie. Thanks so much for sharing your hilarious comments.

  • joaniemb profile image

    joaniemb 

    8 years ago from New York

    I have a cockerspaniel who does the exact same thing. We adopted her 3 years ago she was only 9 weeks old cutest thing you ever saw. I would put her out in our yard and say what the heck is she eating when I discovered it was her poop I was disgusted. It was a really cold winter and we would send her out for her desert poopsicles (same thing we called it lol) I still don't get it. The vet gave us drops to put in her food to make her stop apparently the poopsicles are just to good because she keeps eating.

    On the flip side I never seem to be cleaning up poop in our yard Maggie gets it first. YUK

  • Sweetsusieg profile image

    Sweetsusieg 

    8 years ago from Michigan

    LOL Poopsicles!!! Yeah, for some unknown reason I felt the need for 'just 1 more dog' (now we have 4). With my grand daughter crawling around I've been slapping myself silly wondering what I was thinking!! It's a race between her and the puppy to see who can get to the cat box first - the one there first wins the 'gummy bears' in there... Go me.... LOL My grandson (he's 3) got to name the puppy - Curtis... WTH... CURTIS???? Oh well. such is life.

    Great Hub - Looking forward to hearing more about Spooky!

  • Minnetonka Twin profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Rogers 

    8 years ago from Minnesota

    It's worth it with the unconditional love they give us but ya, it's gross isn't it? Her latest thing is eating mushrooms in the yard which grew because all of the rain we've gotten here in MN.

  • profile image

    Lounger 

    8 years ago

    LOL!

    Dogs do the foulest things sometimes.

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