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Understanding Why Dogs Eat Cat Poop and How to Correct This Behavior

Dogs are known for their quirky behaviors, and one that often baffles and concerns pet owners is the habit of eating cat poop. This peculiar behavior, scientifically known as coprophagia, might seem repulsive to humans, but it’s actually quite common among dogs.

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this behavior and explore effective methods to correct and manage it.

Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop?

There are several reasons why dogs indulge in coprophagia, and understanding these reasons can help in finding appropriate solutions.

Instinctual Behavior

One of the primary reasons dogs eat cat poop is rooted in their ancestral instincts. In the wild, canines often consumed the feces of other animals to avoid leaving any scent behind that could attract predators.

This survival instinct has been retained in domestic dogs to some extent.

Nutritional Deficiency

Some dogs might resort to eating cat poop due to nutritional deficiencies in their diet.

If a dog’s diet lacks essential nutrients, they may instinctively seek alternative sources of nutrients, leading them to consume feces.

Curiosity and Exploration

Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and their sense of exploration can sometimes lead them to engage in behaviors that humans find unpleasant.

Eating cat poop might simply result from their curiosity about different scents and tastes.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

Dogs crave attention from their owners, even if it’s negative attention.

If a dog notices that their owner reacts strongly to their coprophagia, it might continue the behavior to get a reaction.

Stress and Anxiety

Dogs, like humans, can experience stress and anxiety.

Coprophagia might serve as a coping mechanism for dogs dealing with these emotions. It’s a way for them to alleviate their stress temporarily.

Correcting and Managing the Behavior

While coprophagia can be concerning, it’s a behavior that can be managed and corrected with patience and proper techniques.

Ensure a Balanced Diet

A balanced and nutritious diet prevents coprophagia due to nutritional deficiencies. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s diet meets all their dietary requirements.

A Regular Feeding Schedule

It’s essential to establish a consistent feeding schedule for your dog. This helps regulate their hunger and reduces their likelihood of seeking alternative food sources like cat poop.

Clean the Litter Box Promptly

If you have cats in your home, make sure to clean their litter boxes regularly.

Keeping the litter box clean reduces the appeal of cat feces as a potential snack for your dog.

Teach the “Leave It” Command

Training your dog with basic obedience commands can effectively manage undesirable behaviors.

Teaching the “leave it” command can help prevent them from approaching or consuming cat poop.

Environmental Enrichment

Provide your dog with ample mental and physical stimulation.

Engage them in interactive play, puzzle toys, and regular exercise.

An enriched environment can reduce stress and boredom-related coprophagia.

Behavior Modification Training

If your dog’s coprophagia is deeply ingrained, consider seeking the assistance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

They can develop a customized training plan to address the behavior effectively.

Avoid Punishment

Avoid scolding or punishing your dog for eating cat poop, which can increase stress and anxiety. Positive reinforcement for desired behaviors is more effective in promoting positive change.

Consult a Veterinarian

If coprophagia persists despite your efforts, consult your veterinarian. There might be underlying medical issues contributing to the behavior that needs to be addressed.


Dogs eating cat poop might be a peculiar behavior, but it’s not uncommon and can often be corrected with the right approach.

Understanding the reasons behind this behavior and implementing the corrective measures mentioned above can help your furry companion overcome coprophagia and lead a healthier, more balanced life.

Remember that patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key to modifying any behavior in your cherished pet.


Jessica is a writer for The Terrier Guide.

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