It’s a disgusting habit, but many dogs pick it up. They might eat their own poop, other dog’s poop, or the droppings left behind by whole other species. Whatever the reason, you likely want to discourage your dog from eating feces, not just because it’s gross but also because it can be harmful. Here are some strategies that help you stop your dog from eating poop.

Medical Help

A vet is always a good person to consult when your dog is doing something potentially dangerous. Sometimes a dog may be eating their poop because there is still recognizable food in it, which is a sign that something is wrong with their digestion. Or, your dog may be eating their poop to try to recover vitamins or minerals. A vet can help you determine if your dog’s habit might be an indication that something is wrong and then help you fix it.

Poop Cleaning Schedule

If your dog doesn’t have access to their poop, they won’t be able to eat it. While some dogs with this habit will eat their poop right away, others will only get into it after some time and while they are bored. Regularly picking up the poop from your yard, or having someone else do it, can solve your problem.

Some dogs are attracted to only specific animal poop, like geese or cats. If you can limit your dog’s access to these poops, you can eliminate the problem too.

Female dogs may also eat the poop of their puppies, especially when they are very young. This is evolved behavior; the mother dog is trying to keep the den clean. You don’t need to stop your dog from doing this because it is typically harmless. However, if you do want to then it is best to just clean the poop yourself more regularly. Then the mother won’t feel the need to clean up.

Stool Softeners

Most dogs who eat their own poop want hard or even frozen poop. When their poop is softer, they are less likely to eat it. You may find many dietary supplements to soften stools that can be effective. There are also many other food additives on the market which are designed to discourage dogs from eating their droppings. These supplements may change the taste of the poop or add enzymes that help breakdown poop, so there is less of it and therefore less for your dog to attempt to eat.

Homemade Diet Changes

When you’re not ready to head to the pet store to get some potentially expensive supplements, there are things you can feed your dog at home to try to make his or her poop less appealing. Canned pumpkin and meat tenderizer are both foods that could make your dog’s poop taste worse without adding a bad flavor to their food too. Options that dogs don’t like, such as spicy things, will put the dog off their food, which is not a great solution.

Dedicated poop-eaters may be hard to dissuade. Ultimately, your best course of action may just be to limit your dog’s access to poop.