Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

Why Do Dogs Eat Poo / Faeces? (Coprophagia)

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Why Does My Dog Eat Poo?? This is a common question, and a rather unpleasant issue for most owners who find that their dogs eat their own poo or the faeces of other dogs.

Dogs eating faeces is a behaviour called Coprophagia.

It was once thought that dogs displaying such behaviour had a dietary deficiency or a pancreatic enzyme deficiency but research has shown this not to be the case.

Dr Jo Ann Eurell, a veterinary and animal behaviour specialist says:

“This is normal behaviour for a mother dog with pups. Newborn pups must learn to urinate and defecate. The mother teaches them by licking their bottoms. In a response to this “tickle” the pups will urinate and defecate. The mother then consumes the excrement.”

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Dogs are excellent scavengers and may eat their own or other animal’s faeces simply because it smells to the dog's strong nose like it contains some nutrients or goodness.

We also believe that this could be a canine territorial behaviour. Dogs are know for urinating over the scent of other dog's urine or urine-marked spots around a territory. Wolves defacate and urinate to mark the boundaries of their territory and other wolves will not cross these territory lines. Therefore we think it may often be simply to remove a territorial mark left by another dog or animal. This could perhaps be linked to the common behaviour of dogs whereby they will roll in or even eat Fox poo when they discover it.

Often the motivation for adult dogs that exhibit coprophagia remains a mystery, but it is no longer thought to be a worry where digestion is concerned, although if your dog is doing it constantly, i would still say a visit to the vet might be worthwhile.

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