Puppy Eating her own Poop- Coprophagia

by Annette
(Canada)

I have a 8 week old, female, Bichonpoo puppy. As soon as she goes poo, she turns and starts licking and eating it up. Once I clean it up, she goes back to the spot and licks the grass.

I’ve had dogs all my life. I’ve seen dogs chew on old, dry, hard cow and horse paddies, but never had one crazy about eating their own fresh droppings.

I noticed that she has gone for the cat litter box right away too. I have my work cut out for me to keep her out of there as I don’t have any place else to put the litter box, and it is covered.

Is this normal or happen often in dogs?…makes me wonder why she’d want to.
Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated

Our Response

I Annette – yes this is pretty normal – dogs and puppies are very keen on cat litter trays and boxes – so if you can place it out of reach of your puppy that would be the best option.

As far as your puppy eating poop her own – again this is very normal in puppies up to the age of 1 year old (its called Coprophagia). There are a couple of reasons why your puppy is doing this…

1. Due to behavioral issues
2. Medical reasons – we always recommend taking your puppy to the vet to make sure nothing else is causing the problem.

Ok in more detail…

1. Your puppy may be eating her poop simply because she likes the taste – strange but true.

2. Your puppy may vae a vitamin or mineral deficiency that needs to be fixed and by eating her own poop this is a way of restoring the balance.
3. Are you over feeding your puppy – this causes the already eaten food not to digest properly which then leads your dog to thinking she is still wants some food – i.e. the poop (it smells exactly like the food that has not been digested properly).
4. Have you altered your puppy’s diet recently?
5. Certain medications can cause the problem.
6. Anxiety can cause the problem.

Curing Coprophagia

1. Eliminate the opportunity there is to eat the poop – clean up straight after she has pooped.
2. Attach a leash to her on the walk and as soon as she poops and is about to eat it – say the sit command or ‘No’ and walk in the other direction.
3. Take your puppy to the vet as there are certain medications that can be perscribed to cure the problem.
4.Regular exercise will help decrease any anxiety that may lead to poop eating.
5. Train your puppy the ‘leave it’ coammand.
6. Don’t panic – this very common problem is normally short lived and most puppies grow out of it after a time.
7. Ask your vet about ‘Forbid and Deter’ products as these are sometimes used to cure the problem.

Hope this helps.