Why does my dog eat poo?

While it's hard for us humans to understand, eating poo is a common problem and fairly natural for dogs. What should you do about it?

Why does my dog eat poo?

Some dogs will eat the poo of foxes, cats, cows, horses, other dogs – and even their own poo. But why? And what should you do?

  • Dogs that have had a bad or stressful upbringing, with little stimulation, can be more prone to this
  • Sometimes it can actually be a sign of hunger
  • Boredom can be a trigger - does your dog have enough going on?
  • While some people believe that it is due to a deficiency in nutrition, it is such a common habit, it is more likely that some dogs just enjoy it

Can it be dangerous?

It could be. It isn't ideal, and one of the bigger concerns when it is poo from other livestock, is that it could contain medication that's dangerous to your dog.

How can I stop my dog eating poo?

  • If this is a new thing for your dog, always discuss it with your vet. This way you can rule out any dietary issues or nutritional deficiencies.
  • Always feed your dog with good quality dog food with the right balance of nutrition, and check you're feeding them enough.
  • Try feeding more meals in the day – little and often. One meal a day can leave a dog feeling really hungry, and even two may not be enough for some. Feed the same amount but in smaller, frequent meals.

My dog eats their own poo!

  • If this is happening, you need to be vigilant about keeping them away from it. Always clean up immediately , so go outside with them every single time, so they don’t get the chance to eat it.
  • Give your dog a high-value treat as soon as they’ve finished going to the toilet to distract them from eating it.
  • By throwing the treat a small distance away, they will have to leave the immediate area to get it, while you can clear up.
  • Rewarding with treats every time your dog goes to the toilet for quite some time to ensure you have time to clear up and the habit has time to break.

 My dog eats cat poo

Many dogs really enjoy eating cat poo, so how do you stop them?

  • Always clean your cat’s litter tray as often as you can and move it to an area of the house that your dog can’t get to.
  • You could try using a baby gate or catflap to give your cat access to the room where their litter tray is, but exclude your dog. 
  • Try a litter tray with an enclosed lid, or use a cardboard box to create a home-made lid.

Anything else?

If boredom could be causing the poo-eating, try toys like Kong toys stuffed with food to make a puzzle for them, which is really good if they’re at home with nothing to do.

Make sure your dog gets enough exercise and interaction with you.

And remember, don’t panic! No matter how revolting you find it, most dogs will get out of the habit of it with just a little bit of help from you.

With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.