Why Do Dogs Eat Human Poop?

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If you’re a dog owner who’s had the misfortune of witnessing their beloved pooch indulge in a little coprophagia (poop eating), then you know it’s not a pleasant experience.

But before we dive in, let’s be sure to define the term.

Coprophagia is the act of eating feces[1], and it happens in both humans and animals.

If you’re wondering why dogs eat human poop, then this article will help.

Reasons why dogs eat human poop

Why Do Dogs Eat Human Poop?

Your furry friend might have indulged in a little coprophagia for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at some common ones below.

Inadequate Nutrition

The first reason your dog may be eating human poop could be due to inadequate nutrition.

If their diet lacks essential nutrients, they might try to fill that void by eating feces from another animal or human.

Ingestion of Parasites

A dog might also eat feces as a result of ingesting parasites or worm eggs that were present in the stool of another animal or human.

When these eggs hatch inside your dog, they can give them more of an appetite for feces.

This is especially true for puppies, who are more likely to play in and eat feces.

Related: Why Do Dogs Eat Deer Poop? Is it Safe?

Curiosity

Another common reason for coprophagia (like eating chicken poop) is simply curiosity.

Just like a human baby, puppies are constantly exploring their environment and trying new things.

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Eating feces may just be something your pup is curious about and wants to try.

Boredom

Dogs may also eat feces out of boredom or frustration[2].

If your dog isn’t getting enough attention or exercise, it may start to look for other ways to entertain itself—even if that means eating something it knows it shouldn’t.

Medical Reasons

In some cases, coprophagia may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, or gastrointestinal problems[3].

If your dog is displaying other strange behaviors or you’re concerned about their health, be sure to talk to your veterinarian.

So there you have it — five common reasons your dog may be eating human poop.

While it’s not a behavior you want to encourage, in most cases, it’s nothing to worry about.

Just be sure to keep an eye on your pup and give it the attention and exercise it needs to stay happy and healthy.

Is it Okay for Dogs to Eat Human Feces?

Is it Okay for Dogs to Eat Human Feces

In small quantities, yes, it’s ok for dogs to eat human poop.

While there is little reason to worry if your dog eats the occasional stool, coprophagia can lead to health problems for your pup if they eat a lot or eat feces frequently.

It could be at risk of contracting parasites or diseases. These can be transmitted through contact with infected feces, and in some cases, they can be deadly.

In addition, eating feces can cause gastrointestinal problems for your dog[4].

This is because their digestive system is not designed to break down and digest human feces.

If your pet ingests too much feces, it could end up with an upset stomach or diarrhea.

While there’s no need to be concerned if your dog consumes the odd poop, it’s best to discourage this behavior.

Keep your dog away from areas where there are human feces, and be sure to dispose it properly.

If your dog is showing other signs of illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, talk to your veterinarian.

Can Dogs Get Sick From Eating Human Poop?

Yes, dogs can get sick from eating human poop.

If your pet ingests feces that is infected with parasites, it could become ill. In some cases, these infections can be deadly.

Diseases that can be transmitted through feces include:

  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Giardia
  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Salmonella

If you’re concerned your dog has eaten infected feces, watch for signs of illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite.

If your pet is displaying any of these symptoms, talk to your veterinarian.

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Human Poop

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Human Poop

If you catch your dog in the act of eating human poop, there’s no need to panic.

Scolding your pet or using physical punishment will only make the problem worse.

Instead, try to distract your dog with a toy or treat.

There are also several commercial products available that can help discourage coprophagia.

If your dog is eating human poop regularly, there may be an underlying medical condition.

Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s behavior, and be sure to mention any other strange symptoms you’ve noticed.

In some cases, treatment might be necessary to resolve the problem.

How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Eating Human Poop

If you’re concerned about your dog eating human poop, there are a few things you can do to discourage this behavior.

  • Keep your dog away from areas where there are human feces.
  • Be sure to dispose of any baby diapers properly.
  • If your dog is showing other signs of illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, talk to your veterinarian.
  • Try using a commercial product that is designed to discourage coprophagia.
  • Reward your dog with a treat or toy when it leaves feces alone.
  • Avoid scolding or punishing your dog if it does eat feces

Positive reinforcement is usually the best way to train your dog.

Try rewarding your pet with a treat or toy when it leaves feces alone.

This will help teach your dog that good things happen when it ignores poop.

FAQs 

Here are a few other common questions people ask.

Is Human Poop Dangerous for Dogs?

Yes, human poop can be dangerous for dogs. If your pet ingests feces that is infected with parasites or diseases, it could become ill. Pneumonia and meningitis, for example, are two common infections that can be fatal.

Why Do Dogs Eat Dirty Diapers?

There’s no one answer to this question. Some dogs may be attracted to the smell of feces, while others may eat diapers because they’re hungry. If your dog is eating dirty diapers regularly, there may be an underlying medical condition that’s to blame. 

Final Thoughts

Eating human feces is not natural for dogs and can lead to health problems.

If your pet is eating feces regularly, there are several things you can do to discourage this behavior. 

Talk to your veterinarian if you’re concerned about your dog’s health. A change in diet, medication, or treatment may be necessary to resolve the problem.

Resources

  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/150509-animals-dogs-feces-health-science-dung-beetles-food#:~:text=Coprophagia%20is%20the%20term%20for,of%20the%20dung%20diners’%20club.
  2. https://www.insider.com/guides/pets/why-do-dogs-eat-poop#:~:text=Stress%20and%20other%20behavioral%20triggers,more%20likely%20to%20eat%20poop.
  3. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dog-behavior-problems-coprophagia
  4. https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/2020/02/13/all-about-dogs-may-we-talk-about-coprophagia-its-common/1713513007/

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