No matter what sort of animal does it, dogs frequently consume their own or another animal's excrement. Coprophagia is the technical term for it. This habit is usual for newborn puppies and may help the gastrointestinal tract become colonised with healthy bacteria.
A female dog generally eats the faeces of her nursing puppies to keep the "den" clean and deter prospective predators from coming to investigate the odour, therefore puppies may pick up this behaviour by emulating their mothers.
The good news is that most puppies grow out of the behaviour, though. Unfortunately, some dogs continue to engage in this repulsive behaviour throughout their lives.
Puppies who have poor nutrition may eat their own faeces. For instance, if a dog's meal is not being digested completely, the dog may turn to its excrement as a supplement as it is almost identical to what was consumed.
A dog may potentially just not be eating enough, in which case its daily food consumption needs to be raised. Another explanation is that a puppy with a severe worm infestation tries to replace the nutrients it is losing to the worms by eating its own waste.
Coprophagia may also be brought on by certain medical conditions. Maldigestion or malabsorption may be brought on by conditions of the pancreas or small intestine.
A dog's hunger may also be increased by illnesses like diabetes and thyroid disease, so if its regular diet isn't satisfying, it may turn to other foods.
Make an appointment with your veterinarian if your puppy isn't flourishing despite eating a healthy diet or exhibits other symptoms of disease to make sure there isn't a health problem at hand.
Dogs who are under significant stress, such as those who are adopted, may also eat their own waste. Stress can also develop in puppies if they receive severe punishment for eating their own waste.
This can create a vicious cycle where the puppy consumes the "evidence" in an effort to avoid getting into trouble since it equates eating excrement with punishment.
The best course of action is to halt this behaviour before it becomes out of control.
Feces are frequently a vehicle for the transmission of parasites, therefore giving your dog some as a treat puts their health at risk. You can stop this disgusting behaviour in a number of ways, including: