How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop: Home Remedies

A dog hanging out after eating a bit of poo.

If you’re like most dog owners, the thought of giving your furry friend a kiss after they’ve eaten a freshly placed turd is, well, absolutely disgusting. And while it is somewhat normal for dogs to eat poop (to an extent), it’s best to put an end to the behavior as fast as possible – especially if your dogs like to hangout inside with you.

Your first reaction may be to look to your vet or local pet shop for some kind of stool eating deterrent. And while these do exist, and we will be discussing some of them, you should also be aware of a handful of highly-effective home remedies that could help your pup relearn some better behavior.

Coprophagia has been studied for decades

First, let’s talk a little bit about why your dog might be eating poop – this is an entire topic of its own, but it’s good to have a little bit of background information before we tackle the problem.

Poop eating, also known as coprophagia, is a very common behavior in dogs. According to most dog poop studies – of which are there a surprisingly large amount – the behavior is more likely to occur in these circumstances:

  • Happens more often in multi-dog households

  • Further, if one of your dog eats poop, it’s likely the others will too

  • Female dogs eat more often than males

  • Dogs eating poop generally prefer to eat other animals poop over their own

One of the prevailing theories behind why dogs eat poop, which we’ll briefly discuss below, is that their wolf ancestors developed the behavior to keep their dens clean – in other words, wolves began eating poop to prevent the spread of disease among their young pups.

Why would a dog eat poop?

To summarize this relatively lengthy topic, there are a few main reasons your adult dog or puppy may be seeking out their own feces, or the feces of another pet or wild animal:

  • Some dogs eat poop simply because it tastes good – very strange animals indeed

  • Hunger or some kind of nutritional deficiency

  • Nursing mothers trying to be hygienic (what won’t mammals do for their kids?)

  • Anxiety and stress can cause sensitive dogs to eat poop

  • They want attention or they’re scared of being punished for pooping somewhere

  • Illness, parasites, and other health issues

As you can see, there’s quite a few reasons why your dog may be eating poop. So before you actually try to fix the problem, you may want to think a little bit about the above list – regardless, we aren’t really here today to discuss why dogs eat poop.

So what home remedies will actually help you stop your dog from eating poop?

Stopping coprophagia at the source – affordable home remedies

So, what are some cheap and effective ways to stop dogs from eating poop?

Even if it’s natural for your dog to eat their own poop, it’s good to know how to stop the behavior. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there, which can make it hard to decide on the best methods to test out on your pup.

With that in mind, here are some of the most effective options you can easily employ at home:

Pick up any poop immediately

One of the simplest (and obvious) tricks to stop dogs from eating poop is to simply just pick it up more often. Of course, this is going to be easier if you’re someone who spends most of their time at home or around their dog, so it won’t work for everyone – especially those who aren’t at home for long periods of time everyday.

But, if you are someone who can monitor when your dog is pooping during the day, you’re going to want to start picking it up immediately if possible. If your dog has a doggy door or often hangs out in your yard, this will be more difficult than if you have set times you let your pup out to use the bathroom.

Hire a dog pooper scooper service

If you aren’t able to pick up your dog’s poop often enough for the previous method to be effective, you can always consider hiring a service to do it for you. If you live in the Northern VA region in particular, you may want to consider getting a quick quote from us – our scooper services include both residential and commercial poop scooping.

If you’re continuously coming home to a dying yellow lawn and a dog who won’t stop eating their own poop, setting up a regular schedule for scooping is probably your best option. This way, you don’t have to train or change your dog’s routine at all. Check out our full list of service areas for more info.

Training methods to stop poop eating

Training your pup to stop eating poop is the better option, compared to things like drastically changing their diet or adding deterrents that alter the taste of their poo. The reason training is so effective is that it prevents stool eating at its source – if your dog is properly trained, they’ll favor treats or other kinds of rewards over eating it.

With that being said, it’s never easy to train a spunky pup with a mind of its own, but you can try these methods:

The leave it command

This is one of the most essential dog training commands ever invented. If you manage to instill some obedience in your dog using the leave it command (or some other similar phrase), you likely won’t need to do anything else. The overall goal of this kind of training is to reward your dog with treats or attention when they listen to your command – if you aren’t rewarding good behavior, it’s likely they wont really listen.

Specific kinds of muzzles and collars

These are best suited for dogs that eat poop and pull on leads or run off when un-leashed to find hidden piles of feces – for example, if you’re dealing with a dog who tries to scarf down some steaming piles of fresh poop every time you walk around your neighborhood, it could be useful to set them up with a new collar or muzzle.

The best dog muzzles and collars are those that don’t hurt them or prevent them from sniffing and exploring:

  • Field guards: these are basically just giant mesh bags that prevent your dog from eating poop but don’t force them to keep their mouths shut like a muzzle

  • Head collars: a type of collar that wraps around a dog’s mouth and head, giving you the ability to redirect their attention as needed

  • Basket muzzles: similar to head collars, a basket muzzle is kind of like a dog football helmet face-guard – think small cages that wrap around their face without restricting them too much

Note: despite being a common choice, vibrating or shock collars are not recommended for this – while they can be effective, using an e-collar is to train your dog can stress them out immensely.

Make their poop taste bad

There are a variety of ways you can alter the taste of your dog’s own poop – the theory behind this method is that if the poop has a disgusting taste, your dog will be less likely to eat it. If you search up some of these supplements and ingredients, you’ll likely see suggestions such as:

  • Raw pineapple: try slicing up some pineapple chunks and adding some (only a small amount) to their food – this poop eating deterrent method can be hit or miss, depending on the dog

  • Citrus fruits: aside from pineapple, you could try adding fruits that contain citric acid like oranges if you notice your dog eating poop often

  • Apple cider vinegar: adding a very small amount of vinegar to your dog’s food will also result in some foul-tasting poos – just be sure to only add a small amount (around 1 teaspoon per 25 pounds of dog body weight)

  • Poop deterrent pills and supplements: you can also find a variety of products specifically designed to make dog poop taste bad, but these will likely be the more expensive option

  • Meat tenderizers: a specific kind of digestive enzyme, meat tenderizers essentially help break down muscle fiber from any meat they eat – just make sure you choose a brand without MSG

Keep in mind, however, that some of these methods are considered myths rather than actual solutions by the veterinarian community. Relying on making your dog’s feces taste bad is a poor substitute for fixing the actual problem, but if you have a particularly voracious poop eater on your hands, you may as well try everything.

Change or improve your dog’s overall diet

Along a similar vein as the above, changing up what you feed your dog in order to address nutritional deficiencies, a lack of fiber, or any other issues is a good option as well. You’ll most likely want to speak with your vet first, but in general making sure your dog’s food is high-quality and rich in essential nutrients is key.

Try these dietary swaps out:

  • Pumpkin puree: unsweetened pumpkin is one of the most common recommendations to stop your dog from eating feces – it also happens to be incredibly healthy for dogs

  • More vegetables in general: feeding your dog more leafy greens and other veggies like carrots is another way to easily add fiber content into their diet

  • Coconut oil: a common supplement in general for dogs, adding a small amount of this fatty oil to your dog’s meals can satiate their hunger for longer periods of time

  • Probiotics and supplements: there are specific digestive enzyme supplements out there, as well as mineral supplements – but these should only be used after speaking to your vet

I just want to make one thing clear – if you do decide to change your dog’s diet, you need to consult a vet first. Not every kind of food or supplement is harmful, even in large amounts, but it’s never a good idea to start supplementing your dog’s diet with probiotics and new ingredients without discussing it with an expert.

Other considerations for dogs who eat poop

Finally, let’s cover a couple of other common situations. If your dog is very young, it’s likely that their poop eating habit is just starting. In this case, training them now rather than later will be much easier – as instilling a sense of what is wrong or right (in doggy logic) can be more effective than doing it later.

It’s truly hard for me to think of a situation more frustrating than dealing with a dog that wants to eat cat poop everyday. So if you have other pets or live with other animals, you’ll have to change up your strategy. For example, if your dog is going after your cat’s litter box you’ll need to come up with a solution to block off access.

Similarly, if your dog is finding feces outside in the yard from other animals, you’ll want to look into options for blocking off their usual routes outside – think deer or wild rabbit poop.

Can dogs get sick from eating poop?

Just for reference, it’s unlikely your dog will become sick from eating its own poop. This kind of behavior is written in their DNA, behaviorally – which means it’s very common and happens with all kinds of breeds.

On the other hand, it can be dangerous for a dog to eat the feces of another animal. Wild animals in particular often carry a range of parasites around, and their poop is almost certainly involved in the life cycle of these harmful organisms. So make an extra effort to protect your dog from its intrusive poop eating thoughts – if nothing else, make sure they’re not eating stool left by wild animals.

It’s simply just good practice to not let your dogs eat poop or anything else they’ve found outside. Not only could they be eating parasite-infested feces, there’s no telling what sort of chemicals could be laying around outside in the form of pest-deterrents, agricultural treatments, and more.

Final thoughts

With this guide to aid you, your fight against dogs who eat poop may be coming to a close. Depending on how often your pup eats poop, you may have to try all of the options we’ve covered here, but you may also get lucky with the first few you attempt. If all else fails, always remember to consult your vet when it comes to dog-related issues.