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Why Do Dogs Eat Poop, Grass, And Sometimes Even Lick Dirt?

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on September 24, 2015

Some experts say a lonely, bored or stressed out dog may eat poop. Others immediately check to see if the dog has internal parasites.

Some vets might even suggest over feeding could be causing your dog to eat poop. This school of thought teaches since your dog can’t absorb all the excess food they have eaten, they might try to consume the ‘food’ again.

And while there are varied opinions on the disgusting habit of dogs eating poop, half-heartedly eating grass or even the odd act of licking dirt –  the most common answer to the question of “why” your dog does does these things, is simple:

Your dog is searching for the necessary nutrients his body naturally craves!


As gross as it sounds, many dogs do eat their poop, a condition otherwise known as “coprophagia” (cop-row-fage-ee-uh) – a Greek word meaning “feces eating”.  Some experts hypothesize this happens when your dog is not getting certain nutrients from their food, especially those dogs on a “the supermarket diet” (low-grade dog food).

“These dogs on entirely processed dry food diets, who eat no living foods at all, will intentionally seek out other sources of digestive enzymes to make up for their own lifelong enzyme deficiency”, according to Dr. Karen Becker.

Also supporting this argument is a 1981 study published by the American Journal of Veterinary Research. They discovered dogs develop coprophagia if they are fed a diet that’s deficient in thiamine (Vitamin B1) stating, “Most snack on feces because it contains some undigested food – and thus vital nutrients – that would otherwise go to waste.” [Source: National Geographic.]

A cry for health…

While domesticated dogs fit well into our modern lifestyle, there is some serious evidence suggesting your dog’s digestive system hasn’t quite caught up to the modern dog diet designed for convenience. Because your dog’s digestive system is dependent on a specific mix of enzymes to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats, many commercial diets fall short of supporting your dog’s immune system.

Sadly, because commercial kibble has been subjected to super high heats, the food is anything but “super”. Just like the microwave nuking most of the nutrients out of your vegetables, the high heat processing of kibble does the same to your dog’s “food”.

So if you have a “hound” dog – one that always hounding you for more food –  check the back of your label to make sure your food of choice is delivering what your dog needs. And if it’s not – don’t despair, just consider boosting their bowl.

Yet, the question is more complicated than just, “Where’s the beef?”

In fact, The Dog Food Advisor says not only are most modern dog diets missing the correct amount of necessary animal proteins, they are also loaded down with far more carbohydrates than a wolf would ever consume as shown in this chart:


“It looks like the pet food industry may have taken advantage of the dog’s remarkable willingness to eat just about anything. Notice the higher carbohydrate content of the kibble compared to the dog’s natural ancestral diet. And the dramatically lower protein and fat. These two feeding profiles are nowhere near alike.” Dr. Mike Sagman, The Dog Food Advisor

Yet, I believe the answer is even more complicated than “less carbs, more meat.”

All meat is NOT created equal…

If you’re serious as I am about helping your dog to live as long as possible – you can’t just yell at the top of your lungs in the grocery aisle, “Where’s the beef?” – it’s not just a bigger beef patty your dog needs.

The answer is more complicated than “less carbs, more meat”. Your four legged best friend’s body truly craves a vital mix of essential organ meats such as the heart, lungs, kidney and even liver – just like mother nature intended.

Compared to regular cuts of muscle meat, organ meat is a nutritional power house!

Loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other compounds vital to your health, organ meat is more densely packed with just about every nutrient, including heavy doses of B vitamins such as: B1, B2, B6, folic acid and vitamin B12.

Also loaded with minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium and iodine, organ meats provide the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Animals raised outside on grass, like the cattle in TruDog’s ‘Boost Me” contain even higher levels of these essential nutrients than their grain-fed counterparts.

Most importantly, organ meats have some of the highest concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin D of ANY food source. This is very important to your dog’s well being, as vitamin D regulates numerous functions in the body.

According to Dr. Jan Hale, DVM, “A vitamin D deficiency can lead  to muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases in dogs.”

The results of adding organ meats and muscle mix to your dog’s diet will matter, inside and out…

The benefits include promoting weight control, thick glossy coats, healthy digestive system, firm muscles, strong bones, white teeth, healthy gums, high energy and a long, happy, healthy life!

So, if your dog is eating his poop, chomping on grass and/or licking dirt, please consider boosting his bowl by including a source of organ meats, like ‘Boost me’, into your dog’s diet once or twice a week – especially in the winter time when vitamin D deficiency is most likely to happen, due to lack of sun.

Remember, this is the quality of nutrition that only the biggest, strongest, healthiest member of a pack would received in the wild! For a very powerful, yet economical solution to boost a big dog’s bowl, or even a lot of little dog dinners – try TruDog’s Boost Me!

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About The Author:

lori-picture Lori R Taylor lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and is the founder of TruDog. After losing her beloved Great Dane, Truman, to cancer, Lori was devastated and determined to help dogs live longer. She created the TruDog Nutrition System (TDNS), an amazing suite of veterinarian approved, all natural products, designed to help your dog live longer. This article is dedicated Truman and all the dogs who heal our hearts and make us whole. May your legacy be the light that saves the world.

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