<img src="dog-eating-poop.jpg" alt="Dog Eating Poop" />Many dogs have a totally disgusting habit of eating their own or other dogs' feces. How gross! If you've ever witnessed this you know the shock and disbelief you felt by seeing your beloved dog, who loves to lick your face wrapping his lips around a turd.  What in the world are they thinking? Why do they do it?

Stool eating, also known as coprophagy, is actually quite normal behavior for a puppy. And though you may find it utterly gross, the behavior does have an underlying cause. Moreover, if the cause is not addressed appropriately and in a timely manner, it does have a good chance of becoming a recurring habit.

To begin, do not be immediately alarmed when you see your puppy doing it. Reacting in a way that is alarming to the puppy can do more harm than good, and may even lead to other behavioral problems.

Stool eating typically begins when a puppy is still in the litter. At this stage, it is natural for the mother to eat the stool of her puppies. She does this both to keep the “den” clean and to protect the puppies from predators that might be drawn by the scent. (It doesn’t matter that there are no predators in your home, this is primitive evolutionary behavior — other animals do the same thing with their young.) The mother does this from the time the puppies are born until they are weaned, and since puppies are in the process of learning how to be dogs, they are naturally going to follow her lead and do what she does.

Of course, the mother stops eating her puppies’ feces around the time that they have begun eating solid food or have weaned from her milk, but the puppy may still continue the behavior until he becomes more mature. It is learned behavior along with natural puppy curiosity that leads them to smell, taste and even eat their own or other dogs’ stool.

To begin discouraging this behavior before the puppy is ready to go to its new home, it is the breeder’s responsibility to always clean up after the puppies — before they have a chance to eat it. However, this may not have been the practice used for your puppy.

Other Reasons for Stool Eating

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Read the rest of the article to find out what you can do to stop your dog from eating poop.

Posted in: Commentary.
Last Modified: November 27, 2015

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