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Stool Eating: How to Break the Habit

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Digging: Why Do Dogs Dig? 
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Stool Eating: How to Break the Habit 
Prevent Stool Eating

Any owner who catches their dog eating stool is sure to be disgusted at least, wondering what could bring their family pet to resort to such a nasty habit. Yes, it's gross to humans. No, it doesn't mean your dog is abnormal.

Although there are many theories why dogs sometimes eat their own stool or that of other animals, what's important is how you can help break your dog from this unappealing and potentially unhealthy habit. Start early - as a pup - since feces is a source of germs and parasites, and dogs not curbed of this habit as a puppy will have a harder time stopping later in life.

If Your Dog Eats His Own Stool. . .

  • If your pet is not being fed a quality dog food, increase the quality and quantity of the dog food you feed your dog. Store-bought foods are not digested as fully, and food that passes through the digestive system only to remain in the feces may actually make the stool taste appealing. For pets already on a high quality food, divide the daily intake into several smaller meals.
  • You can make stool taste repulsive to dogs using a vegetable-based chewable tablet like Dis-Taste.
  • Keep your yard clean and feces free.
  • Keep your dog active, since some dogs have been known to eat droppings as a negative behavior associated with boredom. Give them stimulating toys and interact with them on a daily basis.

If your Dog Eats Other Dogs' Stool. . .

  • Always walk your dog on a collar and lead or leash. If you see your dog going for it, give them a firm "no" command and keep them walking.

If your Dog Eats From the Cat's Litter Box. . .

  • Consider getting your cat a litter box with a built-in cover like the Rollaway Litter Box or Marchioro Bill Litter Box to limit your dog's access to the litter.
  • Consider a pet gate with a small opening to allow your cat access to her litter box, but to prevent your dog's access to the litter box.

As vile as you may view this behavior, our veterinarians emphasize you should never punish your dog for stool eating. To curb the habit, try the recommendations listed above, and if your dog continues, consult with your veterinarian.

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