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Can you tell me why

my Pet Eats

Strange Things?

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What Gives? My Pet Eats some very Strange Stuff

My dog keeps eating feces?

Coprophagia is defined as the consumption of fecal material, including the ingestion of a dog’s own feces as well as the feces of other dogs and other species.

Although dogs find nothing wrong with it, we humans find it rather disgusting. Nobody really knows for sure why dogs do it and an old myth was that there had to be something missing in their diet.

Studies have shown, however, that even dogs on the best diets will practice Coprophagia, but, to be on the safe side, always be sure to feed a high quality meat-based diet to your dog.

Puppies tend to explore their environment with their mouths and thus many of them taste-test feces but many of these puppies outgrow this practice. If not outgrown, the best way to control or eliminate

Coprophagia is to pick up the stool daily or right after they defecate so that there isn’t anything to eat. This may sound labor intensive but it really is the best remedy. If it’s not there, they can’t eat it!


Alternative treatments include the following:

  1. Place pineapple juice or chunks in with their food. This renders the stool distasteful to dogs. I have also heard of Adolph’s meat tenderizer being added to the food with the same effect. These suggestions may work if the dog is eating its own feces.

  2. There are commercial products on the market such as “Forbid” and "Deter" which can also be tried. Forbid is sold by veterinarians and Deter can be purchased from (Type in "deter" in the Product Search window.) Deter tends to be less expensive.

  3. A quick scold when they attempt to eat the feces can be tried as well. This usually works well as long as you accompany your dog outside. If outside alone, the dog may learn not to do it in your presence but may be more than happy to eat feces when your back is turned. (Remember CLEAN-UP! If it isn't there they can't eat it.)


Other than the fact that eating feces is an ugly practice (not to mention the effect it can have on a dog’s breath!), dogs can contract certain intestinal parasites from ingesting the feces of other dogs or animals, which is another reason to try to eliminate this behavior.

As for “cat feces”, dogs seem to find this especially tasty so it is best to keep the cat's litter pan out of your dog’s reach. A pet gate works well to keep dogs out of the litter pan room (the cat simply jumps over the gate or goes under).

A small pet door can also be inserted in a door to a designated litter box room and will successfully keep larger dogs out of the room. Another alternative is to place the litter box off of the floor and on a counter or table in some "out of the way" part of the house. The cat can jump up to use it but the dog can't. Now you know there is no easy “fix” for Coprophagia but you do have a few tricks to try.

Dr. Manette Kohler

Pica, one reason Pets eat Strange Things
By: Dr. Jane Bicks

Eating strange objects like dirt or rocks, etc is a condition known as pica.

Possible Causes:

Poor quality diet
Inadequate nutrients
Needs more fiber
Improper digestion
Hunger due to dieting, wrong food, or infrequent feedings

Most of the above can be remedied by feeding a high quality food and Daily Supplement.

See links below for my recommendations for a superb high quality diet.

Stool eating can be attributed to behavior learned when your dog was a puppy. Every litter has a "cleanup" puppy who is required to keep the den clean.

If your puppy was the one, then he's still doing his job. Try to make the stools distasteful to him by adding Forbid (veterinarian only) or Deter (in the pet shop) to his food.

Some people have success adding canned spinach.

Stool eating can also be due to lack of food and or nutrients. If you are feeding a supermarket food, you better beef it up now!


If you are feeding an alternative food, make sure it is professional. If your dog is not fat, you may want to increase the quantity of food.

Vitamin supplementation is also a MUST!

Stool eating is also a means of getting attention, good or bad. When you see your dog eating his or another dog's stool, don't say or do anything.

Try to get to the stools before your dog does and add the hottest Tabasco or hot sauce you can find, so he rejects them on his own.

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