Why Has Your Dog Started To Eat Their Own Poop?

13 January 2021
 Categories: , Blog


Your dog will happily eat anything you give them. Some dogs will also (perhaps a little too happily) eat what comes out of them. So why is your dog eating their own poop? When it happens rarely (ideally rarely enough so that you don't have to see it), it can be dismissed as a temporary eccentricity. But when it happens on a regular basis and seems to be becoming more common, it can indicate a potential problem.


It's time for the vocabulary word of the day. What is coprophagia? This is the scientific term for the consumption of feces. When it has become a frequent occurrence, your dog might be experiencing a nutritional deficiency or might be driven to consume their own feces due to extreme hunger. But why has your dog's hunger increased so dramatically?


It's not as though your dog has been skipping any meals, so a noticeable increase in your dog's hunger can suggest an underlying illness, such as a pancreatic insufficiency, Cushing's disease (related to a pituitary tumor), diabetes, or even a parasite. They consume their feces out of a constant need to eat, but this won't be limited to feces. Your dog will consume anything they can get their claws on and can be enthusiastic about their regular meals to the point of mania. This rapid increase in hunger should be investigated by your vet.


Hunger isn't the only cause of coprophagia. When your dog has a nutritional deficiency, they might be consuming their feces in an effort to overcome this deficiency. It can be that their diet lacks the necessary nutrition, or the unchanging nature of their diet has led to a lack of digestive enzymes, which your dog then attempts to obtain from their feces. 


If you believe that your dog's coprophagia is related to a nutritional shortcoming, you might be able to address it yourself. Try amending their diet. If they only eat kibble, mix this with canned food. You could even occasionally prepare their meals yourself, combining appropriate proteins (meat) with vegetables and grains. If your dog's coprophagia continues despite strategic changes to their diet, schedule an appointment at your dog's veterinary clinic. 

Coprophagia needs to be identified and treated, even though the cause isn't likely to be serious. In any event, you might wish to invest in a dog mouthwash, which is added to their drinking water. This contains antibacterial properties (chlorhexidine and xylitol), which you will be thankful for when your dog starts licking your face.

Contact a veterinary clinic like Animal Emergency Clinic to learn more.