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How do you stop a dog from eating poop?

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Quick Answer

Stopping a dog from consuming fecal matter can often be a matter of feeding the dog better food, cleaning its living space more regularly or engaging in positive reinforcement. This behavior, known as coprophagia, is relatively common in dogs and has a variety of root causes, such as boredom, lack of proper nutrition, stress, or a general need to clean up after themselves. For on-going problems with coprophagia, it is recommended that the dog be evaluated by a qualified veterinarian to determine if there are any potential health conditions which are causing the issue.

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Full Answer

  1. Evaluate the situation

    Consider if the dog is being fed enough or if its food is of sufficient quality. Often a dog eats excrement because it is either not receiving enough food or because the food it does eat lacks nutrition. In addition, internal parasites such as tape worms can sap the dog of nutrients and calories, leading to more hunger and possible coprophagia. A veterinary visit can offer more insight and treatment in the event of parasites or other underlying medical problems.

  2. Maintain a clean living space

    A dog sometimes eats fecal matter if its living quarters are dirty and may attempt to clean up after itself if the master doesn't. Walk the dog more regularly, and dispose of its stools immediately after they are dropped. Do not allow the dog access to litter boxes.

  3. Offer positive reinforcement

    Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement. After the dog defecates, express displeasure if it moves toward its feces with intent. When the dog diverts its attention from the stool, give it a treat and a pat on the head.

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