My puppy is eating poop. What do I do?

As with virtually all dog breeds, some Frenchie puppies will eat their poop, or that belonging to another pet, but fortunately most do not. We have probably had a problem with less than 10% of our puppies, but since it is a disgusting habit (called coprophagy – and since it has its own name, you know it is not uncommon) and it can cause some health issues (they can easily pick up worms or parasites from other dogs or cats, or they can reinfect themselves if they eat their own stool), it is something we all want to stop when it is present.

In most cases, it is a learned behavior as mother dogs stimulate and clean up after their puppies, at least until they start on solid food at about 4 weeks of age. Some puppies just follow mom’s lead. The way we have our puppy kennels set up, puppy poop drops through a grate so it is not available to the puppies, but sometimes a puppy will be very quick and get it straight from the source. Yuk!

In most cases, even when a puppy does this, he/she will out grow it within a few weeks or months. Even when they do it, it can be sporadic and and will happen less and less, until the problem disappears. However, if it remains fairly consistent, there are some things that can be done to curtail or stop the practice:
1. Accompany your puppy when you are taking him/her out to do its business and pick up its stool immediately.
2. If your puppy starts to eat it, scold him/her in a stern voice so the he/she will know that you are unhappy. Your puppy wants to please you more than anything.
3. If the problem persists, there are some products which are sometimes successful when mixed with your puppy’s food, e.g., Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer, For-bid, Stop (we have used this successfully a few times – we get ours from Lambert’s), and several other commercial products. If these do not work, some people have had success putting Habanero Sauce on fresh stool (although we’re not quite sure how the timing works out on this remedy). Some people have also had success by washing out their puppy’s mouth with canine tooth paste after every event.

If this problem persists until the time you are to have your Frenchie spayed or neutered at about 6 months, it should be discussed with your vet.