Why Do Dogs Eat Poop in Winter | How to Stop My Dog from Eating Cat Poop?

Besides biting dirt off their paws or rolling around in puddles, our dogs do all sorts of strange things. Why do Dogs Eat Poop in Winter? Dogs eat poop for many reasons. Although dogs eat poop for a variety of reasons, their motivation for doing so may seem quite different from ours.

Why do dogs eat poop?

There are several possible reasons why your dog is eating poop, including anxiety, attention, isolation, confinement, or inappropriate associations with food, as explained by the American Kennel Club. It is possible for dogs suffering from harsh punishment trauma to eating their own poop as a means of avoiding further reprimand. In addition, there are dogs that eat their own poop to provoke a reaction from their owners, so please do not overreact.

Dogs that are frequently kept alone are more likely to eat poop. Similarly, dogs placed in tight, small spaces, such as overcrowded kennels, may also be able to consume feces. If the dog’s food is near the toilet, they may confuse the scent of food with the scent of feces, leading them to believe that eating poop is the same thing as eating food.

Why does my dog eat poop in the winter?

Soft poo or diarrhoea is not usually eaten by dogs, but firmer stools appear to be more appealing to them. In addition, some dogs like to eat frozen poo, and those dogs who do not normally snack on stools may be tempted by these crunchy ‘poosicles’. When it snows, the poo becomes more noticeable and tempting to them because it contrasts with the white snow.

Facts About Dogs Who Eat Poop

A puppy’s coprophagia (aka poop eating) is typically considered an important part of their exploration process when it occurs. While the majority will enjoy a sniff, a few puppies will want to ingest everything, including poop, as human children do. In addition, dogs appear to prefer hard stools, not soft, poorly formed stools or diarrhea.

Frozen poop is gulped down with relish by these creatures! There is a reason why dog owners coin the phrase “poopsicle.” Hart also observed that dogs consume poop for a variety of reasons, including:

  • There was a greater prevalence of coprophagia in homes with multiple dogs. Only twenty percent of dogs in homes with one dog ate poop, while 33 percent of dogs in homes with three dogs ate poop.
  • Housebreaking poo eaters is no more difficult than housebreaking any other breed of dog
  • Compared to intact males, females are more likely to consume poop than intact males
  • Most poop eaters prefer fresh foods, which are no older than one to two days
  • Most dog poop eaters prefer to eat other dogs’ poop rather than their own
  • The dogs who are greedy eaters tend to eat poop as well

Behavioral Reasons Dogs Eat Poop

It is possible that your dog is suffering from behavioral issues, as evidenced by his eating of poop. We have listed a few potential causes for this behaviour.

  • Cleanliness
  • Puppies
  • Scavengers
  • Boredom
  • Attention seeking
  • Stress
  • Punishment
  • Learning from other dogs

Medical Reasons

  • Enzyme Deficiencies: A dog’s pancreas produces vital enzymes necessary for absorbing nutrients from his or her food. The dog will consume their own waste (or other animals) in order to obtain nutrients if they do not possess these enzymes. If they do not possess these enzymes, their body cannot absorb nutrients properly and they will be eliminated in their poop.
  • Parasites: Dogs with internal parasites deplete their bodies of nutrients, which leads them to seek nutrition in other places. Not only do parasites cause dogs to eat poop, but eating it can also cause dogs to become ill with internal parasites.
  • Poor Diet: Dogs can experience health problems if they are not eating the right foods, or not eating enough of the right foods. They may also be having difficulty digesting the ingredients in their food. A proper diet is vital to your dog’s health. Consequently, these problems may result in increased hunger, nutritional deficiencies, as well as the need to supplement their diet with waste products.
  • Other Diseases: The presence of other diseases such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, and Cushing’s syndrome can also result in an increase in appetite.

Video Tutorial on Why Dogs Eat Poop

Is it normal for dogs to eat poop?

Dogs are not unusual in eating poop, commonly referred to as coprophagia scientifically. A study published in Veterinarian Medicine and Science in 2018 found that 16% of respondents had dogs that were frequent stool eaters, which means they were caught eating poop less than or equal to six times a month. Despite this, approximately 77% of owners have never seen their dogs eat poop.

There are several reasons for dogs to eat poop that are relatively common. Dogs nursing their babies will consume their poop to ensure that an area remains clean, as PetMD indicates. Additionally, some dogs eat the poop of other animals, including horses, since the feces contain nutrients. However, according to PetMD, this behaviour is discouraged since the poop may also contain harmful bacteria.

Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop

Normal Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop

The following scenarios may result in a dog eating poop:

1. They Are Nursing

The poop of nursing female dogs is consumed by them in order to maintain a clean den.

2. The Poop of Other Animals Tastes Good to Them

There is a possibility that dogs will consume the poop of other animals. The poop of other animals, such as horses and cats, is usually a good source of nutrients (but it may also contain harmful bacteria, so it is best to discourage the practice).

Abnormal Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop

If your dog is eating his own poop or another dog’s poop, the cause is not clear. There are four common reasons why an adult dog will eat his own poop or the poop of another dog.

1. They Want to Get Your Attention

For example, puppies may explore by grabbing their poop with their mouths when they are young because they feel it’s a game. Whenever your dog does this, you are likely to run towards them and yell, “Drop it.” This can startle some puppies into dropping the poop and causing them to never touch it again. In some puppies, the yelling may be interpreted as an enthusiastic invitation to play.

Thus, they dart away, and suddenly, an impromptu game of chase ensues. These puppies are learning another method of obtaining their owners’ attention. Even if your dog does not wish to play, they may simply wish you to engage with them. This behaviour is then carried over into adulthood as a learned behaviour that gets them attention. The act of watching a dog eating poop is really difficult to ignore.

2. They’re Not Feeling Well

It is important to consult your veterinarian if your dog is eating other dogs’ poop or his own poop. A puppy or dog that eats other dogs’ poop or his own poop may be suffering from illness. There can be an association between coprophagia and other disorders of the digestive tract as well as the liver, brain and other parts of the body.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian if your adult dog suddenly develops the habit of eating poop in association with symptoms of disease such as weight loss, lethargy, discomfort, behavioural changes, vomiting, or diarrhea. In order to determine whether your dog has an underlying medical problem, such as intestinal parasites, nutritional deficiencies, or gastroesophageal disease, your veterinarian will need to perform diagnostic tests.

3. They Have Anxiety

In addition to dogs that consume poop when they are anxious, dogs that are confined may defecate and eat their own poop as a means of displacing the anxiety.

  • General anxiety
  • Worrying about being confined
  • You being away from them (separation anxiety)
  • Lack of enrichment activities when confined

4. They’re Scared of Being Punished for an Accident

When puppies are repeatedly punished for defecating inside their owners’ homes, they may learn that eating their own poop will make them feel less punished.

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What is Coprophagia?

It is a condition in which dogs consume their own feces (poop), either their own or another animal’s. In spite of the disgusting behaviour many of us tend to sneer at, it is common for dogs to eat their own poop at some point in their lives. When puppies are young, this habit may begin, but as they grow older, it can be overridden. In general, however, many dogs will happily eat horse manure, cow dung, rabbit droppings, and other similar foods if given the opportunity.

Will my dog get sick from eating poop?

Dogs who eat their own poop may be OK, but they still have a chance of becoming ill. Poop eating is definitely a concern for pet owners as it can cause them to become ill. Especially if your dog is eating the poop of another dog or animal, infectious diseases or parasites are extremely prevalent. According to Muenster Milling, symptoms associated with poop eating include gastroenteritis, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite and fatigue, as well as intestinal parasites.

How to Stop Dog from Eating Poop Home Remedies

Dog owners and veterinarians have observed improvements in dogs who eat poop when they employ a few strategies, which include:

Vitamin supplementation

A multivitamin could be helpful for dogs who eat poop because they are lacking something in their diets. In 1981, researchers showed that fecal microbial activity synthesized thiamine, a B-vitamin, indicating a deficiency of vitamin-B has been a prime suspect. Other studies have found that other nutrients were lacking.

Enzyme supplementation

Some people have found success with supplements containing papain, an enzyme that aids digestion in dogs. The modern dog diet is high in carbohydrates and low in meat-based proteins and fats.

Taste-aversion products

Using a poop-eating deterrent in food or treats will make the poop that is being produced less appealing, since certain tastes and smells are just as disgusting to dogs as stool eating is to us. This product contains monosodium glutamate, chamomile, pepper-plant derivatives, yucca, garlic, and parsley. Make sure that you treat all dogs in a multi-dog household for poop-eating problems! The taste of poop can also be made worse by spraying it with a bitter-tasting substance.

Dogs That Eat Cat Poop

Although it is considered normal, you may not want your dog to dive into the litter box for a snack, even though it is normal. Put up pet gates or doors that allow the cat access to the litter box while preventing the dog from entering that room if your dog consumes cat poop.

You can also place the litter box on a table that is longer than the box to allow them a spot for them to jump up onto. It is important to remember that dogs will eat things they enjoy, so poo may appeal to their taste buds. The taste of poop may be altered by chew products designed to discourage dog owners from feeding their dogs poop.

Puppies That Start Eating Poop

When housetraining your puppy, make sure you take him out on a consistent schedule. If he likes to eat poop, you need to control how much he is able to eat. It is important to praise your puppy and give him a tasty treat once he has finished pooping.

While the puppy is eating the treat, you can clean up the stool quickly. In this way, your puppy will not be able to access the stool, preventing it from occurring. In addition to teaching them to use the potty correctly, you are also reinforcing their potty training positively rather than punishing them.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop in Winter
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop in Winter

FAQs on Why Dogs Eat Poop

Is it normal for a dog to eat its poop?

It may be upsetting to you, but you may just have to accept it as part of your dog’s nature. Many dogs consume feces, so veterinarians consider stool eating normal. A condition known as canine conspecific coprophagy involves dogs eating their own poop or the poop of other animals. Diet does not appear to be related to this condition.

Can dogs get sick from eating poop?

Dogs can still become sick if they eat poop even if it is a normal behaviour. Eating poop is a common method by which internal parasites can be passed from one dog to the next. Eating poop may also result in other infectious gastrointestinal diseases in dogs.

Is my dog eating poop because he’s hungry?

If dogs are left to go hungry, forced to compete for food, or are given no physical or mental stimulation, they will eat their stools as a survival technique. A dog that comes from a shelter or puppy mill environment is likely to be seen eating waste as a survival technique.

Which dogs are more likely to eat poop?

According to research, Labrador retriever and Golden retrievers are nearly twice as likely as any other breed of dog to consume poop.

Tips to Train Your Dog to Stop Eating Poop

  • Firstly, you should check to ensure that your dog does not have any underlying medical conditions. If your veterinarian tells you that the dog has a behavioural issue, there are a number of ways that you can teach your dog to stop acting out.
  • If you have cats, clean out your cat’s litter box after they go and ensure that you keep the waste away from your dog. Dogs that wish to eat poop prefer fresh feces, so pick up waste immediately from your yard.
  • Bring along a toy or a treat to distract your dog when you let them out to do its business in the yard. Don’t leave them alone so they can search for food in the yard.
  • To teach commands such as “leave it,” use positive reinforcement and treats. It may take time to break a bad habit, so be patient.
  • You may want to switch your dog’s diet to a high-fiber formula if you have recently reduced his or her calorie intake. Dog owners have reported success in overcoming the habit of adding papaya, cottage cheese, or crushed pineapple to their dog’s food. Enzyme supplements can make the taste of their own poop less appealing.


There is nothing unusual about dogs eating poop, but it is a behaviour you should discourage as dogs eating poop may be more susceptible to contracting parasites or diseases. Keep your dog leashed and away from poop while out walking and clean up poop in your yard. You can also consult with a board-certified veterinary behaviourist in your area for advice and assistance.

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