Coprophagia in Dogs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Coprophagia in Dogs

Coprophagia in dogs: Some dogs have a habit of chewing or eating anything they come across. If a pet dog has such a habit, then its owner needs to be a little cautious, because, in such a situation, the dog sometimes eats harmful or excessive amounts, which can have a bad effect on their health. 

In some cases, it has also been seen that dogs start eating their own or other dog’s feces. However, this habit occurs in some other pets. This condition is called coprophagia in the medical language. Many physical and behavioral reasons can result in coprophagia in dogs.

Causes Of Coprophagia In Dogs

Not all dogs have the habit of eating feces. Certain health conditions can trigger coprophagia in dogs. Following are the medical reasons behind eating feces in dogs:

Malabsorption Syndrome

This is a digestive disorder in which the body is unable to properly absorb nutrients from food. This is either due to a deficiency in the small intestine or enzymes that help with digestion.

Corticosteroid Therapy

Corticosteroid therapy is given if the dog has an allergic reaction or an autoimmune disease.

Cushing’s Syndrome

In this condition, there is an increase in the level of a hormone called cortisol in the body, which increases the appetite in the dog and he starts eating his or other dog’s feces.


Sometimes a dog’s diet is deficient in nutrients or is unable to digest the nutrients from their food, so they are digested with feces to meet their nutritional needs. 


The dog’s intestines are often prone to parasites like hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, etc., which can cause gastrointestinal problems. These parasites cause increased appetite in dogs, which leads to coprophagia.


Dogs who have diabetes are more likely to feel hungry, thirsty and need to urinate frequently. Apart from this, even after eating enough food, they feel more hungry, due to which they start eating their own stool.

Puppies get hungry very quickly and are weaned too quickly, sometimes for this reason they have to fight with other puppies or depend on the owner for food. Also, keeping them in the same place (such as their bed or house) for several weeks can also trigger this problem.

Also Read: What To Feed A Sick Puppy?

Other practical causes of coprophagia in dogs include

To Attract attention

You may have given a reaction or attention by seeing your dog eating feces, because in this case, the dog may try to eat the stool again to get attention.

Mimicking the mother

Often the pups defecate in their habitat and in this case their mother eats the feces of her pups for cleaning. All these puppies see and learn and sometimes they start doing the same.

Emotional abuse

Puppies tend to defecate at home unless they are trained. However, in most cases, the owners are not bothered, as adopting a dog already gives them an idea that it may initially have a bowel movement anywhere in the house. But the behavior of all the bosses is not polite, patient, and calm. Some owners give severe punishment to their dogs for defecating. This behavior of the owner can frighten them and they start eating their feces to destroy the evidence.

How Can Coprophagia In Dogs Be Diagnosed?

If your dog eats his feces then you need to go to a good vet. They may ask some questions to learn about the dog’s diet and its regular activities. They may recommend blood chemistry, urinalysis, a fecal fat test (a test to measure fat in the stool), and a fecal exam (a test to detect parasites) to diagnose underlying disease. Apart from this, if the stool is unusually soft or does not seem to be digested properly, then the help of a blood test can also be taken.

Also Read: What Are Foods That Are Bad For Dogs? 

How To Treat Coprophagia In Dogs? 

Coprophagia is not a common condition in canines, so you will need to go to the vet for treatment.

  • The veterinarian can determine the treatment based on the test report of the dog.
  • The owner should go for a walk with his dog. He should be given an environment and time to play and do physical activity. Apart from this, the environment of the house should also be improved.
  • Owners should give their dog an adequate amount of time so that their dog does not have time to eat their own or other animal’s feces.
  • Maintain cleanliness in the house to prevent the symptoms of coprophagia.
  • The veterinarian may recommend some necessary changes to the dog’s diet. They may recommend feeding canned food, vegetable oil, cooked food, and/or fresh vegetables.
  • The veterinarian may recommend adding pineapple or pieces of meat to the dog’s diet, as this will make the dog’s stool taste extremely bad and your dog will not try to eat his own feces.
  • To keep the dogs busy, owners can provide toys that have hidden food items. These are called ‘foodstuff toys’.
  • When the dog or puppy has a bowel movement and then tries to eat it, then punishment should be avoided. This can frighten them so much that they may try to eat their feces the next time around so that their owner doesn’t know about it. Apart from this, the relationship between the two can also be affected.

Pet owners need to understand that their dog may eat feces for behavioral reasons as well. Instead of punishing or scolding a puppy or dog, it is important to understand why it is doing this. To know about its treatment, you go to the vet and tell them about it and follow their guidelines. The good thing is that along with medicines and treatment options, simple home remedies are also available.

Vidhi Kapoor

Hi, I'm Vidhi! I have 2 years of content writing experience. I am running, and websites individually. And also I work for many other agencies and websites.

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