wikiHow to Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop

Three Methods:Ruling Out a Medical ConditionTraining Your Dog to Not Eat PoopDeterring Poop Eating

Dog coprophagia (feces eating) is a prevalent problem in pet dogs. No one knows for sure why dogs do this; there are guesses that dogs may derive some nutrition from this habit but in a well-fed dog this is probably not true. More likely it becomes a bad habit in order to fill a need to eat. Breaking a dog of this practice is not easy but it can be done. There are some techniques you can employ to stop this filthy and potentially dangerous problem.

Method 1
Ruling Out a Medical Condition

  1. Image titled Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop Step 1
    Consider if this behavior is normal. There are a couple of cases when it is normal for dogs to eat feces.[1] For instance, mother dog’s need to lick their puppies rear ends to stimulate them to defecate up until they are about three weeks of age. During this process she will consume the puppies’ feces to keep the nest area clean and to prevent predators from finding the nest and harming the puppies.
    • Puppies will also occasionally eat their own or other dog’s feces when they are young. This is thought to be an investigative behavior as puppies use their mouths to explore their environment.[2] Puppies that do this will usually outgrow it by the age of six months. If it continues after this age or an adult dog starts to engage in this behavior then it is considered an abnormal behavior.
  2. Image titled Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop Step 2
    Take your dog to a veterinarian to rule out medical problems and to get some advice. Most of the time, coprophagia is a behavioral issue and not a medical issue. However, there may be dogs that are malnourished due to poor diet, inadequate intake of calories, or a dog with an intestinal problem called malabsorption. This is when part or all of the intestinal tract is unable to properly absorb nutrients as food passes along the intestinal tract. A visit to the veterinarian is in order to determine if any of these issues are causing the coprophagia.
    • If there isn’t a medical reason, then behavior is the cause of this nasty practice.
  3. Image titled Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop Step 3
    Feed your dog 2-3 small, well balanced and nutritious meals every day. Carefully consider the food you feed your dog. Looking at the back of the dog food label, make sure meat (not meat by-products) is the top one or two ingredients. Meat by-products are okay but they should be further down the ingredient list, as ingredients are listed by order of prevalence in the food.
    • If your food has a lot of grain products listed reconsider getting a food made with more meat.
    • Feeding a higher quality food to a dog that eats poop can sometimes stop this behavior or at least lessen it. More of the nutrients are absorbed by the body with higher quality foods instead of passing through into the feces.
    • Also, feeding food in two to three feedings a day, instead of one, can keep the dog satisfied and stop a hungry dog from seeking out feces to eat.

Method 2
Training Your Dog to Not Eat Poop

  1. Image titled Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop Step 4
    Give your dog heaps of physical and mental stimulation. In some cases, a bored dog will decide it wants to eat feces to fill the void.[3] Make sure your poop eating dog gets a lot of exercise. Three or four 20 minutes walks a day is a good start. Playing games, such as fetch or tug-of-war, will also give your dog both physical and mental stimulation. Keep the game going for 15 minutes or until you or the dog tires out. A tired dog will be too pooped to—well—eat poop.
    • Walking gives the dog an opportunity to look at new sights, sounds, and smells. However, beware of other dog’s droppings as some dogs will eat the feces of other dogs.
    • Another way to keep a dog entertained is to purchase hard rubber treat dispensing toys (Kong is one example) to keep it mentally stimulated as it figures out way to get the treats out of the toys. You stuff the hole(s) in the toy with bits of dog food, small treats, or even peanut butter. This challenges the dog to “find” its food; sometimes occupying the dog for an hour as it works at retrieving the food.
  2. Image titled Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop Step 5
    Remove all poop from the dog's vicinity. As you start to work on the problem, you need to clean up the area where the dog has been eating feces. Most likely this is your yard. Go around with a shovel, scooper, or little bags and pick up every last dropping you can find. Hopefully, you already understand the necessity of cleaning up after your dog each time it defecates as dog feces can be a public health hazard not to mention a fly and insect attractant.
    • Each time the dog defecates you need to promptly pick up their tempting morsel before they have a chance to eat it. You may need to leash your dog or follow it around as it looks for a spot to poop to pick it up before they have a chance to chow down. Make sure to properly dispose of the waste in a garbage can with a tight fitting lid after you pick it up.
  3. Image titled Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop Step 6
    Teach your dog the obedience training command to "leave it."[4] If your dog doesn’t already know the leave it command this is a great time to teach it. Practice this one in your house using small tasty treats. Working in a room without other distractions, show the dog the treat in your hand, then close your hand over the treat. Let the dog sniff your hand then say “leave it.” The dog may try to get it by licking your hand or pawing. When it stops and turns say “yes” and give the dog the treat. Do this as many times as it takes for your dog to leave your closed fist alone.
    • Next hold the treat in your hand, show it to the dog, and say “leave it.” If he looks at you say “yes” and give him the treat. This is how he will learn to look at you when you say “leave it” and wait until you say “yes” to pick up whatever item he is after. This will take time and a lot of practice so until he learns this cue well don’t allow him access to a place where there are or potentially are dog feces.

Method 3
Deterring Poop Eating

  1. Image titled Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop Step 7
    Make feces taste bad to the dog. Although it seems like they should already taste bad, they don’t to a dog. Deterrents such as Bitter Apple, red pepper flakes, or Tabasco sauce can be liberally applied to feces already deposited on the ground. These substances will need to be applied to feces frequently (daily) in order for the dog to get a good taste of the deterrent and (hopefully) develop a repulsion towards the feces.
  2. Image titled Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop Step 8
    Purchase a supplement, like CoproBan, which is added to the food. It makes the stool taste terrible when it is eaten. All animals in the household (at least the animals that the guilty dog eats the stool from) will need to eat this supplement on a regular basis.
  3. Image titled Stop Dogs from Eating Dog Poop Step 9
    Give your dog medication if the case is serious. In some cases the poop eating has become compulsive—an obsessive behavior. In these hard core cases medications such as Clomicalm can help temper this negative behavior.[5] Consult with your veterinarian to see if this medication is right for your dog.
    • Medication such as this will need to be given for a few weeks before results are seen. In addition, other measures such as training the words “leave it” and picking up feces daily will also be needed in order to have the best success at breaking the habit.


  • Be consistent and never allow your dog to eat poop - you need to break the habit.
  • Grate zucchini into fine ribbons and blanch in boiling water. Cool & mix in with your dog's food. If your dog finds this unpalatable, add beef broth or yogurt to the mixture. The bitter taste of the zucchini discourages dogs from eating their poop.
  • Pineapple can also be fed to dogs in an attempt to make the poop taste bad.
  • Don't feed your dog people food; this could make the poop taste better.


  • If your dog is a poop eater make sure to keep its vaccinations up to date. Talk to your veterinarian about regular deworming as well to kill any parasites.
  • If your dog eats its own poop it may eat the poop from other animals. Your dog can catch parasites and viruses from this poop and become sick.

Article Info

Categories: Dog Obedience