Puppy Eating Poop

Your puppy eating poop may be very gross to you, but dogs are scavengers, which means they can eat just about anything. When other food isn't available, dogs in the wild will often eat the waste of other animals for nutrients. Therefore, this behavior can develop for many reasons in your puppy.

Diet Problems

Puppies often begin eating waste for the same reason that dogs in the wild do - their bodies are lacking certain nutrients. Some diets are low quality and consist of too much corn or meat byproducts that your puppy can't digest. They eat the waste hoping to acquire more nutrients.

If you're feeding your puppy too much, he may also eat his waste because there are lots of nutrients being passed back through, especially if the diet is high in fat. You also might be underfeeding your dog. He's still hungry, so he eats the poop.


If your dog has worms or another parasite, those parasites consume much of your dog's nutrients. He'll be eating the same amount but getting much fewer nutrients, which can be the same as underfeeding your dog. In this case, he may eat his poop to retrieve some of those nutrients.


Dogs are clean by nature, especially around their eating and sleeping areas. If your dog is confined for long periods of time in an area that is not well-cleaned, he may begin to eat poop to keep the area clean.

Do not leave your dog confined in a small space, such as a crate, for longer than he can hold his bladder. If he has to go in a small area, he may begin to eat his poop. Clean up dog areas regularly so they are not forced to eat their poop due to lack of space.

If you punish your puppy for relieving himself in the house, he may also eat his poop to hide the evidence. This is one of many reasons behavioral experts recommend not punishing your dog when he relieves himself in the wrong area.

Behavioral Issues

Puppies often eat poop out of boredom or for attention. If your dog is left alone for long periods of time with no stimulus, eating poop may be the most exciting thing he has to do. Reduce this by providing your dog with toys that dispense treats or other interactive toys that provide your dog with stimulus when you aren't around. Be sure to give your dog lots of exercise.

If your puppy tries eating poop and you react strongly, such as chasing the puppy, he might learn to eat poop to gain attention and start a game. Try not to overreact if you witness your puppy eating poop.

Some dogs have an instinct to pick up objects. Instead of punishing this, find appropriate objects for your dog to pick up and fill the yard with those. Pick up poop frequently so your dog doesn't have access to it. Dogs can also learn to eat poop by watching you pick up poop in the yard or watching other dogs eat poop. To avoid this, train older dogs not to eat poop and keep it picked up - but don't let your dog see you do the cleaning.

Before resorting to punishment, determine why your puppy is eating poop. It may be a health or dietary issue, and your dog has no choice. If your dog doesn't have access to poop, he can't eat it. Keep all dog areas clean.