Why do dogs eat poop?

Our Dog Specialist

Our Dog Specialist

Ina Holz is a German Coach/ consultant for dog owners. Her focus is on the relationship between people and their dogs.

Again and again, I meet horrified dog owners who tell me with a disgusted expression on their faces that their darling has recently been eating the droppings of dogs, humans, or even horses.

Our dogs are carnivores by nature and are also able to eat dead meat, including carrion. This is already a reason why their disgust threshold is far below ours.

Why do dogs do this? And why don’t dogs get disgusted? These and a few more questions we want to answer in the following article.

Dog eating poop

Page Contents:

Does your dog prefer poop from herbivores

Herbivore poop

Does your dog prefer to eat herbivore poop like from horses, sheep or rabbit?

If so, it could be an indication that your dog’s intestinal flora is in a poor condition. The intestinal flora of both dogs and humans consists of different bacterial strains, which are an important part of our immune defense. The more good strains of bacteria are present in our intestines, the better our immune system. A varied diet, is important to maintain these bacterial strains. An unbalanced or incorrect diet, can lead to starvation of the bacteria in our intestines and some strains even die out. 

Also drugs, such as cortisone, antibiotics and worming or chemical and synthetic substances in the diet can lead to intestinal bacteria die off.

The poop of herbivore, is full of intestinal bacteria so it is only logical that they give themselves a natural probiotic cure. In short, dogs eat  herbivore poop to strengthen their intestinal flora which is good for the dog.

This happens in most cases with dogs that have unrestrained appetites. We owners have the hardest time with such a type of dog as a  dog nose is miles ahead of our own smell. Problem is the additives in cheap dog food which is then again excreted. These foods have minimal nutrition but the additives make it taste and smell great, just like the poo!  These additives and chemical components in the feed, cannot be absorbed by the body and thus they are excreted again. Dogs explain their world to themselves through their nose and if something smells delicious, then for the dog it is not a poop, but a treat. It is the same with human droppings. Also our human food, especially in the area of fast food is full of exactly these flavor and odor enhancers, which deceives the great dog nose to find these and then eat. So always stop them doing this by keeping some of their favorite treats in your pocket and distract them with these!

Your dog eats poop from other dogs or from people

Eating human poop

Your dog eats his own poop

Eating own poop

This third case is the most rare situation and can have several causes. On the one hand, it can be, as described in case two, that your dog’s food is mixed with a lot of chemicals such as attractants, so that even his own excrement smells appetizing to him.

It may also be that it is no longer the current food, but the food that was fed to your dog when he was a puppy. If a food with appropriate odor enhancers and attractants is fed during this early and formative period, causing the puppy and also its mother to ingest feces, it is not impossible that the dog will learn that poop is edible.

The other possibility is that the dog has a serious mineral deficiency and eating poop is a desperate act to get any excreted minerals. In this case, a nutritional consultation should be sought and the dog’s food should be changed urgently.

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