Why do dogs eat feces? Is there any way to stop them?

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  1. profile image0
    L a d y f a c eposted 13 years ago

    While we're outside sometimes I see my dog eating her own feces. I don't know that she actually ingests it, but she has it in her mouth.

    Also, I've heard that dogs will raid the cat litter box if they can (my cat litter boxes are downstairs in a room the dog can't get to).

    Is there a reason for this? Am I doing something wrong with my dog? She eats 3 times a day, so I can't imagine it's a hunger thing.. sad

    1. lovelypaper profile image60
      lovelypaperposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I know, how gross. My dog did this in the past. I think there's something they're lacking in their diet. Bllllluuughghgh!

    2. TomC35 profile image60
      TomC35posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      On one episode of Dog Whisperer Caesar Milan said it was due them missing something in their diet.

      1. Tess45 profile image71
        Tess45posted 13 years agoin reply to this

        It was potassium and he gave the dog banana.

    3. qwark profile image61
      qwarkposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Now you know ONE of the reasons why I don't own a dog!

    4. thougtforce profile image88
      thougtforceposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      One of my dogs did that, he was a Flatcoated Retriver and he was like a garbage can! He ate everything he could come over, and feces from other dogs and from himself was jummy!  He was a great dog, but that freeked me out!
      And it can´t have been that he missed something, as I said he ate everything, socks, underwear, boots, feces, all other rutten things he could find, starfish, he cleaned the cat litter faster than one could imagine he could! And we feed him with expensive dog food sold by the local vet.
      I think that it is just a thing some dogs do. No other dog of mine have had that behaviour!

    5. Misty39 profile image60
      Misty39posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Ladyface;maybe there is a certain vitimin missing in his/her diet? may be try a different type dog food? I buy the best for my dogs therefore it kind of cuts down on vets costs.One special vit.all animals need most is taurine,check the pet food labels.A newer brand name is out now,he used to be one of my favorite actors.Good luck

    6. ThePepperDen profile image72
      ThePepperDenposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      If you have the time Ladyface, there's actually a rather long and informative article about the subject here: http://dogguidecentral.com/why-do-dogs-eat-poop/

      There's been some excellent responses here already, but I thought I might just throw that link into the mix. ^_^

      I hope it helps! God knows it's an awful thing for dogs to do tongue

    7. profile image0
      Baileybearposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      ours has this disgusting habit - will eat his own plus the cat's.  have noticed that he has lost about weight over past few months, so ribs sticking out - he was on senior lite food.  He seems happy in himself.  Going to try a higher calorie diet & vitamin& mineral supplement - maybe he's just really hungry?

    8. Joann1234 profile image60
      Joann1234posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Go to your local health food store and purchase , I think it is called Yuck , I am not sure . I have not purchased it in a while . Put it in your cats food and your dog will stop eating it !

    9. profile image0
      Sarra Garrettposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Some dogs eat their poo because they don't know what it is.  This usually happens in younger dogs.  I had a white shephard that did this.  So, the best way to prevent and stop this from happening is to add some Lawrys Steak Seasoning  Salt in their food.  When they deficate, their poo takes terrible and they will stop eating it.  Sounds wierd but it actually works.  Try it.

  2. profile image0
    L a d y f a c eposted 13 years ago

    lol qwark

    Lovelypaper - I know! Bleh. lol

    Tom - thanks. I'll have to do some more research to find out what she could be missing. We feed her a decent dog food.. hmm

  3. Mike B. profile image76
    Mike B.posted 13 years ago

    I know thaat dogs will eat other dog's feces, But I never knew they ate their own. What I was always told (taught) was the reason for this was because dogs don't digest all the vitamins and fats and that their feces retain a certain amount.
    But like  mentioned before, I heard  on the dog whisperer that it was due to lacking something in their diet. And for some dogs it is just a bad habit.

    1. Misty39 profile image60
      Misty39posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I have never known dogs to eat theirs or another dogs feces,but dogs will eat cats feces because its richer.....I finally found an excellant dog food very rich in vitimins so the dogs no longer dine in the cat box Ewwww lol  yikes)

    2. stacebird profile image60
      stacebirdposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      hahaha, so it's kind of like cows chewing their cud but there is an external portion to the dogs' process!

      my parents have two labs and they take turns pooping. i'll just say soft serve frozen yogurt machine and let you conjure up the picture.

      it's funny, i totally have a post-it note on my desktop that's been sitting there for awhile now reminding me to write a hub on this very topic!

      here's what it said:
      Why Does My Dog Eat ______ ? (Fill in the Blank: ex. Poop, Rocks, Kitchen Utensils...)

      (..all of those listed were eaten by our yellow lab. i've lost count of how many surgeries..)

    3. profile image0
      Baileybearposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I've seen dog's eat their own poo, other dog poo, cat poo, horse poo, chicken poo...

  4. Stina Caxe profile image83
    Stina Caxeposted 13 years ago

    My mom used to have a dog that did this.  The vet told us it wasn't a nutrition problem in her case it was apparently a "mothering instinct" and she wanted to clean up after herself! Weird!  The only thing we could do was make sure we cleaned up after her all the time.

    I've caught one of my dogs in the cats litter box in the past. I don't know why he did it, probably cause he eats everything!  But once I scolded him for it he never did it again.

    1. Misty39 profile image60
      Misty39posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      you ever try tuarine vitimin for all animals? it's very important in all animals diets.The newer & better dog foods out now generally have taurine already in it...... ( @ v  @ )

  5. Pearldiver profile image67
    Pearldiverposted 13 years ago

    It is Quite an Easy Thing to Resolve:

    It is in regards to their Diet and What YOU are feeding them!

    You Need to buy more Crappier Food for your dog than you have been smile

    (Yeaaaaa Go Cats!! smile )

  6. profile image0
    Travis_S_Musicposted 13 years ago

    Yeah, it all has to deal with what they are eating, what they are missing, and what they are needing. I'd recommend asking a vet what food would be particularly good for your dog. The food itself may not be cheap, but it saves out on them eating their own feces and/or cat litter. The cat litter thing, just watch them and make sure they don't go near it. My boxer got addicted to it, and when she quit eating it for a day she started to get shaky and whiny. Sounds like a withdrawal of a heroin addict haha. But they get over it, and eventually they learn they are not supposed to eat it.

  7. profile image0
    L a d y f a c eposted 13 years ago

    Lol Travis. I've never heard of that happening to a dog before.

    I feed her Pedigree.. it's what I've always fed my dogs. yikes I tried out the cheaper brand, but it made her skin really dry and her coat really dull. The next attempt I guess would be Iams... that's the most expensive at the grocery store.

    Then... I could always try for the outrageously priced bags of vet food... heheh

    1. profile image0
      Travis_S_Musicposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Haha, yeah, my boxer is a strange one! We've tried every brand, and we have to the ridiculously expensive Science Diet >.< She has very sensitive skin and a very sensitive stomach. She's allergic to a ton of things it's crazy D:

  8. ImChemist profile image57
    ImChemistposted 13 years ago

    They eat feces because they cant find the food hahaha

    1. Misty39 profile image60
      Misty39posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Cute hahaha     ;~()

  9. tnderhrt23 profile image73
    tnderhrt23posted 13 years ago

    Interesting discussion. My son has a 10 month old German Shepherd puppy who eats her own feces. He feeds her "top-of-the-line" food...very expensive stuff. So nutritionally, I don't know if she's lacking. Perhaps she just has a taste for it???  for she consistently does it. The best solution that I can think of is to simply clean up after her each time she goes...I am interested to know if there is any more to this " gross phenomenon"...

    1. Misty39 profile image60
      Misty39posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Maybe missing vitimins? I buy cat & dog food with taurine in it,its an enzyme every one needs.     yikes)

  10. profile image60
    logic,commonsenseposted 13 years ago

    They are environmentalists!  They believe in recyling.
    Besides that way you do not have to pick it up!

  11. Home-Bernadette profile image60
    Home-Bernadetteposted 13 years ago

    My youngest dog has driven me absolutely crazy with this.  The thought of all this bacteria lurking around physically makes me gag.  And on top of my phobia of germs I love to cuddle with my animals.  I know, I know, I am sick.

    The research I have done on this has reflected on the food, lacking some sort of vitamins, the wanting to clean up after itself, and here is the day that I felt my blood pressure skyrocket:  Some just like the taste.  UGH!  When I read that, I had to come to terms with the fact that I lived with a poo-eater.  Gone were my days of putting my nose on his...

    Good luck!

    1. profile image50
      skylarksmhposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Ours eats his only when he's been given people food (hotdogs, etc) but won't otherwise. I have also heard that it can be a nutritional thing. I saw on some show that they fed the dogs little pieces of pineapple as that is supposed to make the feces less appetizing to them.

      As far as dogs eating CAT feces, this is VERY common and there is actually a powder you can buy at the vet's office called FORBID. You sprinkle it on the cat's food and it makes the feces unappetizing to dogs.

    2. profile image0
      L a d y f a c eposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Not sick! I love(d?) to cuddle with my dog. Her breath is TERRIBLE. I can't even describe the terribleness of the terrible breath! yikes lol

      I'm able to keep her from slobbering all over my face, but I have to constantly be on guard that she doesn't start licking my 1 1/2 year-old's face yikes

      I was reading some more on this and like someone else just said, I read that they like the taste of it (gag me). Apparently you can feed them pineapple, cooked spinach or meat tenderizer/msg and whichever one you choose is supposed to make their feces less appetizing to them.

      The word "poopsicle" was introduced to my life today..... apparently a lot of dogs only do this during the winter when "poopsicles" are available... bleh! lol

  12. brandonhart100 profile image77
    brandonhart100posted 13 years ago

    To them, it tastes like lemonade.

    1. tnderhrt23 profile image73
      tnderhrt23posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      doesn't give them lemonade breath, though!!!

    2. Misty39 profile image60
      Misty39posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Ewwwww lol      yikes(

  13. starme77 profile image78
    starme77posted 13 years ago

    my dog did that too - it's so gross - she dosn't do it anymore - but she did when she was little - I just didn't let her lick my face that's for sure smile

  14. ndnfoodie530 profile image61
    ndnfoodie530posted 13 years ago

    Yeah, gross huh?

    Some breeds display this behavior while others do not. Some are notorious for it. My fingers' pointing at you, pugs and poodles.

    Some large dogs, especially hunting breeds will do this in order to cover their tracks. My dog is better about it now, but did this a lot as a younger dog. I know. Gross.

    But what helped was feeding her bananas. Apparently the texture and minerals are a great combo if you need a "mock poop" treat. You only need offer this about once a week and the behavior should stop.

  15. profile image0
    ryankettposted 13 years ago

    Thank goodness my dog doesn't do this!

    Although, she does like licking the sweat from my armpits which is gross enough.

  16. mega1 profile image78
    mega1posted 13 years ago

    ok, ok, I'm goin to bed now and when I get up in the morning? 

    I want this thread OUTTAHERE!  you hear me?  I def do not want to have this image of dogs eatin poo in my head first thing in the morning! gross beyond belief!

  17. The Power Of One profile image57
    The Power Of Oneposted 13 years ago

    Your local pet store will have a supplement for this issue. It makes the "poop" less interesting to your dog. From what I understand it makes it bitter so the dog is less likely to eat it.

    Hope this helps!

  18. ddsurfsca profile image71
    ddsurfscaposted 13 years ago

    Not always, but a lot of the time if the dog eats very fast and do not chew their food, they do not digest it properly and it basically smells like food to them because it comes out the same as it went in.  One way to prevent this from happening is to feed the dog pineapple after meals, and this makes their poo smell bad to them.  Also, not giving them a large bowl of food to inhale, but giving it in small portions so they chew it helps too.

  19. profile image50
    meowwoofposted 13 years ago

    People are not sure why they do it but some dogs do and relax! It's perfectly normal. There's nothing wrong with your dog. My dog does it only insead of his own he eats the poop the geese leave in our backyard!

  20. profile image0
    Marge42posted 13 years ago

    I read somewhere feeding them pineapple keeps them from eating poop. I've tried it and it did help mine. Canned pineapple is good. Small amount would do fine.

  21. profile image0
    Home Girlposted 13 years ago

    Try eating nothing but dry food and you might do the same. No, seriously, don't give me that cr*p about "most expensive food from the vet". Dry food is clean, convenient, easy to use, easy to clean after. That's why we use it. Is it good, really? Did you check in a  food laboratory, what exactly is in it and what your dog's body can get from it? I have 2 cats. They stopped eating dry food about a year ago, any dry food. I understand that completely as I do not eat dry cereal myself, I prefer hot oatmeal. Inconvenient? Yes! But they are my pets and I am not going to starve them.

  22. profile image50
    mariej89posted 13 years ago

    I have the same problem with a couple of my dogs too.  I have also read a bananna and pineapple will help.  You could also try the pills that you get at the pet store, I forgot the name of them, but, I did read that there was a recall on those recently.

  23. APBTCourage profile image58
    APBTCourageposted 13 years ago

    There are several reasons why they eat their own feces and the feces of other animals.  Some females continue the habit after having a litter and stimulating their puppies bow movement prior to nursing.  Or feeding your dog, a low quality dog food that does not have enough nutrients and/or does not digest properly and they can still smell the undigested food in the feces.  Rule of thumb is if you can buy the food at a grocery store, it is usually crap, which would include Pedigree and Purina (except for some if their “Pro” formula).

    Purchase your dog food from a pet store that does not sell puppies, feed store, Pet Smart, Petco, etc...  stores as such.  In addition, the first ingredient (if not the first two) should be a meat of some kind not corn or any type of grain.  If the first ingredient is a grain, stop and move on and check out the ingredient on the next brand.  Some of the best high quality dog foods are Taste of the wild, Blue Buffalo, and Chicken Soup for the dog lover’s soul, Wellness the list goes on and on, (If you have to buy from a grocery store, Iams is your best bet, just costly for what you get) always read the ingredients or check into raw feeding.

    A word of warning if you are currently using Diamond brand dog food.  At one time, this was an excellent product.  However, due to the changes in their formula, some of their products have recently been reported to be killing dogs.  If you use this brand make sure the product bag says “Natural” or “All Natural” on their bag.  In addition, their “Beef Meal” flavor formula even though it has the words “All Natural” on the bag is causing blood in the stool.   

    You can mix a couple of spoonfuls of pineapple in the food of the dog/animal whose feces they are eating, which makes the feces distasteful to them.  Or you can purchase a product from your vet called Copenhagen (spelling?).  This product will make them violently ill when they eat it and they will throw up discouraging them from eating feces again.  Also, clean up the dog waste as soon as the dog has finished doing his business.

  24. Purple Perl profile image49
    Purple Perlposted 12 years ago

    Thank God my Jerry does not do this!smile

  25. eBuddy profile image73
    eBuddyposted 11 years ago

    Yest! This will be a never ending question among us! Dogs Will continue to eat poop always! Check out my Article on it!

    <link snipped - no promotional links>

  26. Pearldiver profile image67
    Pearldiverposted 11 years ago

    Why do dogs eat feces? Is there any way to stop them?

    In 2010 in NZ 15,000 pets were interviewed on this issue...
    11,000 of them being dogs, bitches and just plain old mutts!
    4,000 'other' pets consisted of a variety of over 200 different types of pets ranging from Mountain Goats, Cats, Budgies, Weasels, Albatross, Guppies, Sheep, Lizards, Possums, Chickens and a Magpie called Fred! Although the initial interviews were conducted with canine pets, other pets insisted on participating on the basis that all had witnessed such events and felt they knew why.

    It was found that:

    65% of the pets - Liked the taste and found it similar to what they had eaten within the previous 48 hours..
    15% of the pets - Were unsure why they had taken up the habit, but stated they had no intention of stopping..
    20% of the pets - Felt it was important to gobble it up as fast as they could and insisted on their owners being responsible for them doing this! Many of the pets suggested that the owners often tried to either look the other way and try to flick it with their shoe, or quickly remove the dosh-it with plastic bags, before their pet could even sniff it! All of those animals stated that they thought their owners must be saving it in doggy bags, so they could eat it themselves later and not share it with their pet! sad
    Fred the Magpie stated that he only complained about this, when his owner beat him to the big bits! sad

    It was also found that during hard times... many pets simply mimicked their owners on daily habits, religious beliefs and choice of culinary dishes! big_smile

  27. DrMark1961 profile image96
    DrMark1961posted 11 years ago

    One of the methods we used to control feces consumption was the use of meat tenderizer. Many of the brands sold in the stores, that promise to keep your dog from eating his poo, are the same chemical formula. There are other suggestions here that are quite valid, like the pineapple in the food.
    These answers are all missing the point, however. Dogs eat their stool (and have barking problems, dig excessively, have separation anxiety, develop lick granulomas, and chase their tails) because they are neurotic. I am not going to add a link here, as it is forbidden, but I do address this issue in a "Leader" hub. If dogs feel secure they do not misbehave. This answer is going to anger a lot of people who love their dogs, but love is not always enough.

    1. Pearldiver profile image67
      Pearldiverposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Do you think this would work for Magpies? smile

  28. Abhee mishra profile image60
    Abhee mishraposted 11 years ago

    nasty tongue

    1. Pearldiver profile image67
      Pearldiverposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Wasn't being Nasty... I was referring to the Magpie in the previous post! tongue

      1. DrMark1961 profile image96
        DrMark1961posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I think magpies are like my chickens. They just dig in poo and eat it to annoy you, or to beat me to it!

  29. libby1970 profile image67
    libby1970posted 11 years ago

    Dogs are like any other wild animal. Wild animals sometimes eat their own feces. However, dogs are domesticated which means you can train them not to eat it!

    As you are training your dog not to eat feces keep them on a leash and watch them very closely. Always pull them away from the feces and clean it up completely. If they try to eat it just scold them a little each time and only give them a treat if they don't try to eat it. Treats work wonders with dogs. Eventually a dog will learn that treats are only for dogs that don't attempt to eat their poo.

    1. Pearldiver profile image67
      Pearldiverposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I'm pretty sure that some of the feral people that I've noticed in my part of the world have applied this exact process to the training of their offspring.. though they do tend to be kept on leashes well into their mid 20s! sad

  30. Novel Treasure profile image88
    Novel Treasureposted 11 years ago

    My vet told us that it's because they can smell the food in their feces...more so in the case of puppies. But because their sense of smell is so much more defined than ours, that that's why puppies like to eat their own poop.

    I don't know if there is any truth behind that, but it kind of makes sense.


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