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Natural Remedies for Coprophagia (Eating Feces) for Dogs

Not only is it incredibly gross, but it is also awesomely embarrassing. You’re hosting a summer backyard barbecue, only to have your guest nudge you to look in the corner of your yard. And there’s Henry. Eating his poop. #Awesome

“Coprophagia” is a term used to describe a common condition wherein animals eat feces. 

So, the age old question – “Why do dogs eat poop?” enters your mind yet again. This question is swiftly followed by, “How am I EVER going to stop this?”

According to many veterinarians, including Dr. Sherry Weaver, dogs sometime eat their own feces, or the feces of other animals, due to a “lack nutrients in their diet or (they) are unable to digest the nutrients in their food”.  According to Dr. Weaver, other causes of coprophagia include:

  • Mothers will “clean” their pups – this is normal
  • Some dogs will eat stool in an attempt to clean their yard or their kennel. This can be habit-forming. 

Start simple. 

What are your feeding? Check your dog’s food rating at Try to make sure you are feeding your pet a MINIMUM of a 3-star rated pet food.

If your current pet food is rated 3-stars, perhaps your pet is just not digesting it well. Try moving up to a 4-5 star rated pet food with easy to digest proteins like fish or chicken. (Try the Cold Water Recipe from Nature’s Select here.)

Keep the yard clean. If your pet has developed a habit of eating feces, you’ll need to pick up your yard often during treatment phase to limit his/her access to it. 

Try natural remedies.  This great post from the ASPCA has some tips on using taste deterrents.

“Use taste deterrents on feces. Try finely ground black pepper, crushed hot pepper, Tabasco® sauce, or Grannick’s Bitter Apple® spray or gel. You must apply the deterrent consistently to all feces that your dog can access for a significant period of time so that he comes to expect that all feces taste horrible. You may need to use the deterrent weeks or even months, depending on the length of time the coprophagia has been going on. For this treatment to be most effective, you will need to restrict your dog’s access to water for 10 to 20 minutes after he has tasted the deterrent. Otherwise, he may just drink water to counteract the bad taste. The effects of this treatment can fade over time, so you’ll need to re-implement it periodically. For more detailed information, please see our article, Using Taste Deterrents.”

Some experts even recommend Adolf’s Meat Tenderizer as a taste deterrent that can be sprinkled on the waste to deter the dog.

Given time, and persistence, you can help your dog overcome coprophagia and reclaim your “Summer Barbeque King” status.