Why do dogs eat their own poop?

Written by jenn ostrowski
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Stool eating in dogs, called coprophogy, is undesirable but not abnormal. Many other types of animals engage in this behaviour. The exact reason why dogs eat poop is unknown, but there are many contributing factors.

Medical Conditions

Although rare, some medical conditions may cause stool eating in dogs. Contributing medical conditions include starvation, severe parasite infections and disorders of the pancreas.


It's common for puppies to eat stool as they explore their world. This behaviour usually disappears after a puppy reaches 6 months, but it may become a habit that continues into adulthood.


Stool eating in dogs may also be a natural survival instinct passed down through the generations. In the wild, canines may eat faeces when food is scarce.


Stress and anxiety may be another reason why dogs eat their own poop. Dogs that have been punished for defecating inappropriately may become nervous and try to remove their stools.

Maternal Behavior

Mother dogs eat the stool of their puppies. This is a normal and instinctive behaviour that may be an attempt to keep the nest clean and hide the litter's presence from predators.

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