Why Dogs Eat Poo And What To Do About It


Ever seen your dog eat his own poo? Or maybe the poo of another dog, a cat or, God forbid a human?

Yes, I know it’s disgusting (gives a whole new connotation, to getting licked in the face, doesn’t it?) but what you really want to know is what to do about it. Right?

First the good news – this behavior is perfectly normal in dogs. Studies indicate that about 15% of dogs do it frequently. Poo eating is not due to some kind of mineral or vitamin deficiency. But the good news is also the bad news. Since this behavior is normal, it is very difficult to rectify. In my experience not one of the commercial products currently available to treat the problem does any good – that’s right, not at all.

The theory is that this behavior developed in wolves to keep their dens clean. By eating the poo as soon as it is ‘deposited’ the dog stops the parasites from hatching from eggs and establishing a life cycle.

OK, that’s great. But what do you do about it? Here is the one advice that always works:

Always clean up promptly after your dog!

But you thought about that already, didn’t you! So here are some more important points to know.

The breed believed least likely to eat their own poo is Poodles. No one knows why.

Dogs most likely to eat their poo are characterized as greedy eaters.

Dogs are more likely to eat their poo when housed in groups.

So to sum it up, a Poodle housed alone and indifferent to her food is least likely to eat their poo. If you happen not to have one of those, I suggest you better start avoiding those licks to the mouth.

About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim is a house call Veterinarian in Melbourne


  1. Interesting but icky post!
    If they eat it to stop parasites from hatching in their dens, wouldn’t the poo just come back out again?

    • Not quiet. The way parasite life-cycle works is the eggs are excreted in the poo and then hatch in the environment. If the eggs are ingested – the gastric juice kills them for good. So your dog would only need to ingest the poo once. That being said, I think there is a real ‘just feel like it’ element in the way dogs do this.

  2. So it would pretty much be a cycle of eating it over and over again.
    I have a dachshund and he’s never done this, but every once in a while he’ll roll in it.

  3. Karen

    my dog like to eat dirt, especially that used in flower gardens, her poo is black, does this hurt her.

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