We’d never owned a dog before we got Claude, and I wasn’t quite prepared for the shocking site of him eating his own poop, and that of other dogs (and even cats!). It’s not an easy thing to watch, particularly when your Frenchie then wants to come and lick your hand afterwards… so why does your French Bulldogs eat his own poop? And can you stop from them eating it?
Why does my French Bulldog eat poop? French Bulldogs eating poop is very common, particularly with puppies. It can be due to a number of reasons in adult dogs including boredom and health issues. Frenchie puppies will eat poop due to digestion issues, hunger, and evolutionary behaviour.
Why a French Bulldog puppy keeps eating poop?
I’ve only given you a very short answer so far, so wanted to get into a lot more detail about why Frenchies, particularly puppies, will eat not just their own poop, but also that of other dogs and sometimes cats.
Firstly, you should not be concerned to see a Frenchie puppy eating poop. They will often start doing this whilst in the litter.
It’s a habit they will pick up from the mother, as she will naturally clean up the “nest”. She will do this as an evolutionary trait, as animals will clean poop away from youngsters to stop predators being attracted by the smell. Puppies will naturally mimic their mother and can start to eat faeces.
The mother won’t do this for long though, as by the time the Frenchie puppies have started eating a solid diet, they will be able to leave her side to poop outside of the “nest”.
However, some French Bulldog puppies will continue to keep eating poop until they grow older. They will be naturally attracted to the smell and are curious to taste and test things out.
Just like a human baby naturally puts things in their mouth to try them out, puppies are no different – even if that is the stools and faeces of another dog!
Hopefully you won’t have to experience this with your puppy as at the point they are ready to come and live with you (after 8 weeks) the breeder should have helped to prevent poop eating. This is because a good breeder will keep the puppy “nest” or den clean of poop, meaning the young dogs don’t get the opportunity to make it a bad habit.
But, it’s still a common thing that many French Bulldog owners will experience, particularly in the first couple of months of having a puppy in their home.
Aside from the evolutionary behaviour already spoken about (which they should grow out of) here are more reasons why your French Bulldog could still be eating his poop as a puppy.
1. Because he has poor digestion and low nutrient food
If your Frenchie puppy is having difficulty in digesting his food, he may continue to eat poop for a few months as a youngster.
The reason being is that if he is fed food that isn’t high in nutrients, it will pass through his system and come out the other end not to dissimilar to how he ate it in the first place. It will smell and taste almost exactly the same – this is very tempting for a puppy!
It can also happen if he has bad digestion where his stomach isn’t taking the nutrients out of the food after it has been ingested.
Try switching your puppy’s food as this can help. If it doesn’t, you need to talk with your vet.
2. Because he is hungry
Frenchie puppies are very prone to picking up intestinal parasites and worms, particularly if they have continued to eat poop outside of the litter.
Worms can feast on your puppy’s nutrients in his diet, and that means your pup won’t get the goodness he needs. This can lead to him looking for snacks elsewhere, whether that’s his own poop, another dog’s faeces, or a cat poop he finds.
I’ve put together a French Bulldog puppy feeding schedule (see that here). Have a read of that and stick to it – your Frenchie puppy needs to be fed well three times a day, and if you skip this, the hunger can lead to poop eating.
3. Because he wants attention
All French Bulldog puppies want attention, and plenty of it! If you can’t give your pup the attention he needs, he could turn to getting his entertainment elsewhere! And who in their right mind would be entertained by eating dog poop – puppies do, that’s who!
For example, let’s say you scold your puppy for eating poop (don’t do this) then he will be fascinated by the reaction he got, and could keep doing it to gauge your reaction, even if it is a negative one!
Any attention is good attention to a Frenchie puppy.
4. Because he is bored
This is weird but true. Some French Bulldog puppies will eat poop if they are bored.
This is really common with Frenchie owners who have left their puppies alone for long periods of time. Frenchies are a very sociable breed, so leave them alone at your own peril.
If you find your French Bulldog puppy eating his own poop, perhaps you need to spend a bit more time with him.
5. Because he is stressed
French Bulldogs eating poop, particularly adult ones, will often be a sign that they are depressed and stressed. It does affect puppies too though.
Stress can manifest itself in many different ways, with destructive and anti-social behaviour being high on the list.
Your puppy could be feeling this way due to a sudden change in his environment such as a home move, a new animal being introduced, or a big scare.
If you are unsure about whether your dog is happy or not, and how to tell, read this blog post I wrote about the signs of Frenchie happiness to look out for.
6. Because he wants to hide his poop
One Frenchie owner I spoke to had a lot of trouble potty training his puppy (here’s a guide to toilet training I wrote to help him). He fell into the trap of telling his puppy off every time he defecated on the kitchen floor.
He should not have done this for a number of reasons, but one major consequence was the puppy would eat his poop each time he did it.
The reason why?
The puppy wanted to hide the evidence, so he didn’t get told off again… makes sense doesn’t it?
Should you be concerned about poop eating?
If you still have a young puppy under 8 months of age, don’t be overly concerned about them eating their own poop. Most will grow out of it in time.
By reacting badly, you could make the situation worse. Below I will take you through some methods on how to stop a French Bulldog eating his own poop, so please read that.
But, should you be worried about health risks from your Frenchie eating faeces?
If they are eating their own poop, then as disgusting as it is, they probably won’t develop any health problems.
However, if your Frenchie is eating the poop of another dog or animal regularly, then this could lead to a health issue.
When they digest another animal’s faeces, particularly that of a different species, there is the risk of getting a parasitical infection or infectious disease. They can also end up digesting medication or other foreign bodies that are designed for their digestive system.
Signs that your French Bulldog might have a health problem from eating poop include:
- Gastroenteritis: is your Frenchie sick, hot, dry heaving, or depressed?
- Vomiting and diarrhoea: this is easy to spot (here are more reasons for vomiting)
- Decreased appetite: has your Frenchie gone off his food?
- Tiredness: is your French Bulldog less active than usual and lethargic?
- Intestinal parasites: can you see worms in their faeces?
If your French Bulldog puppy keeps eating poop (or adult dog) and you see any of the warning signs above, please consult a professional vet immediately for proper advice.
How to stop your French Bulldog from eating its poop
So, how do you prevent your French Bulldog from eating poop?
To give you the most comprehensive guide possible I not only spoke to my friend’s wife who is a vet, but also looked on social media to see what other owners say. Here are the best tips for preventing poop eating.
1. Feed your Frenchie a well-balanced and nutritional diet
French Bulldogs who have a well-balanced diet with plenty of nutrient-rich food should not really be eating poop. In most cases, they won’t need to.
Make sure you have your puppy on good quality food, so he gets all the goodness he needs including protein, minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients.
2. Look out for signs of bad digestion
As already discussed, poor digestion can lead your Frenchie to this unsettling habit.
If your dog is eating faeces more than what might be considered normal, then look out for signs of a digestive problem including:
- Slowed growth and development.
- Increased vomiting and throwing up.
- Watery and liquid type stools.
- Large lumps of undigested food in the stools.
3. Give your Frenchie lots of attention and exercise
A bored Frenchie leads to a multitude of problems, including the dreading poop eating. You might be making a rod for your own back if you don’t give your doggy the attention he deserves… and needs.
Don’t leave your Frenchie alone for long periods of time, and make sure he gets all the walks and fun that he needs to keep him occupied.
4. Always clean up their poop from the yard or garden
If there’s no poop to eat, then you eliminate the problem at the source.
Always clean up immediately after your puppy has done his business. You are taking his opportunity away to examine the stool and taste it.
You won’t always have time on your side though, so if you see him doing a poop, distract him and get him away from it immediately – they can be very quick to chomp it down!
5. Add pineapple or natural additives to their diet
If it’s his own poop your Frenchie is eating, then try adding pineapple to his diet. Some owners say that this works wonders as it can make their poop taste foul and will help to quickly break the habit.
As well as pineapple, some online vets have said that you can add other elements to their diet such as meat tenderizer, digestive enzymes, or natural additives. This gives the stool and unpleasant aroma and taste that your Frenchie won’t want to go near.
6. Put foul tasting ingredients on animal poop
A huge problem we had when Claude was a puppy was his eating of our cat’s poop. They share the same yard and garden space.
I read online that if you put strong pepper or spicy sauce on another animal’s poop, it can really work.
Admittedly I did look a little weird in our back garden dropping chilli sauce onto my cat’s poop, but it worked for us.
The first time Claude had a bite on a spicy cat poop, he soon stopped.
7. Keep your puppy on a leash when walking
With young puppies, you need to keep an eye on them at all times to stop them eating what they shouldn’t do. If you have a poop-eater, keep them leashed at all times until they grow out of the disgusting habit.
We live near a large forest where there are roaming animals such as cows and horses and Claude loved their dung. We kept him on his lead for a few months to stop from eating it all.
8. Distract your puppy and reward good behaviour
Don’t shout at your Frenchie puppy when he eats poop as this can make the situation worse. Instead use positive reinforcement and praise when they don’t do the bad thing.
Discourage your Frenchie from doing it with a distraction. This could be a ball or a treat, but anything to get them away from the faeces.
Always remember to reward his good behaviour if he doesn’t eat it. Positive reinforcement works wonders with French Bulldog puppies…
After time, they should break the habit and you will be able to give them more freedom to explore as they get older.
What if none of this works?
If your French Bulldog continues to eat poop despite all your best efforts using the tips listed above, you will need to consult a professional.
Your vet will be able to give advice, or possibly an animal behaviourist (which I am not).
What other Frenchie owners say?
Here is a selection of the best comments I found on social media when I asked how people have stopped their Frenchies from eating their poop, or another animal’s faeces.
“I’ve heard feeding them pineapple will deter them. Give your Frenchie some pineapple as when it comes out the other end it stinks worse than normal. They can’t stand it. I saw this on TV when they said it makes the poop very acidic and they typically stay away.”
“I tried pineapple and it was a nope. Maybe it works for some Frenchies but not my two girls. My last resort is using a hot a spicy chili sauce on the poop and this has worked well so far. But I do have to go out into the yard first. I then clean up the poop later but if they try it’s a hot taste they hate!”
“Coprophagia is usually due to diet so either your Frenchie is not consuming enough food or not getting all they need from their food. Similar to how rabbits produce a certain type of poop that they’ll eat again to take in extra nutrients. Dogs basically do the same, I see it a lot at work when dogs fed on low quality food start eating poop or another’s poop. They’re basically just hungry for more. Try increasing the amount she’s eating or try adding extras to her diet such as extra raw treats or maybe even fruits and veggies.”
“My Frenchies love rabbit and fox poo, there is a hormone in it that they are attracted to, I keep a close eye on them and shout dirty if I catch them, one rolls his face in fox poo and it stinks really bad!”
“Our Roxy is a poop eater too! We’ve tried pumpkin in the food, pineapple in the food and nothing deterred the desire to eat her poop. So (on advice from the vet), we left her poop (we try and collect it as soon as possible) and then added some Tobasco sauce to it. We began this on Friday, and she hasn’t eaten a poop all weekend!”
“We would sprinkle white ground pepper on the cat poop in our yard. This helped to break the habit with our Frenchie and he no longer sees it as a valuable prize. Do it for a couple of weeks and see how you get on. It worked very well for us, and it stopped the eating.”
“I was told by the vet that puppies do this at a young age for two reasons; curiosity and also mineral deficiency. Try to give them a supplement to counteract any vitamin or mineral deficiencies they may have. Also, this poop eating is unfortunately a way for pups to contract coccidia which is an intestinal parasite. Make sure you get your pup’s faecal matter tested for it if they continue to eat their poop. Treatment will be something called Albon oral medicine.”
“We tried the pineapple method and it did the trick for us. Every morning I would put a tablespoon of crushed pineapple in his food and he doesn’t do it anymore. So yes, crushed pineapple is the best way to stop your Frenchie eating poop, at least for us.”
Will a dog eating cat poop get toxoplasmosis?
I mentioned earlier how we had to discourage Claude from eating our cat’s poop using spicy sauce. I am glad it worked, as whilst I was researching this guide, I found some worrying information about toxoplasmosis.
If your French Bulldog eats cat poop, he could get infected with toxoplasmosis. It can be very dangerous, and I recommend reading this guide on the PetMd.com website.
Poop eating (known as coprophagy) is very common in Frenchies, particularly puppies, so should not really be worried about unless it continues regularly into adulthood.
If it does continue then it could be a sign of an underlying health or behavioural problem, all of which I’ve touched upon in this guide.
I won’t pretend that Claude still doesn’t eat poop from time to time. We walk him in the local forest frequently where there is an abundance of horse, rabbit, fox, and cow dung. Not only does he occasionally try to eat it but will also roll in it… disgusting!
Faeces can be very enticing to dogs. They might just like do it, so have a plan in place such as distraction if you’re out and about on a walk, and get those stools cleaned up from your yard or garden as soon as possible.