My dog has recently started to eat dog poop

Dogs

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Our question this week was:

My dog has recently started to eat dog poop that has frozen out in the yard. Is this a health concern?

Kerri Ulry

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Gosh, you gave me one more reason to enjoy my practices in South Florida! Frozen dog poop! (Just kidding!)

To answer your question, eating dog poop is a concern but no more so because it is frozen. Frozen feces are hard and the primary risk of eating it frozen would be in mouth injuries or broken teeth.

Eating feces, commonly referred to as "coprophagia", is a common behavior in dogs. It is natural in dogs such as the mother dog will "eat" the feces of her pups as she keeps her pups and nest clean. Puppies will often eat feces as they explore and learn about their environment – not unlike young kids that put just about anything in their mouths.

Other dogs will eat feces out of boredom, because they just "like it", or others may eat it because of a nutritional deficiency (rare).

There are several strategies to deal with this behavior – if you are interested - see the article Coprophagia.

Another article that might be "interesting" to you is on our Petplace.com is "Why Dogs Eat Feces".

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra



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About The Author

debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for PetPlace.com, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.