Is Shih Tzu Eat Poop? Helps & Guide

shih tzu eat poop

Is Shih Tzu Eat Poop? Helps & Guide

Ever caught your adorable Shih Tzu engaging in a not-so-adorable habit of eating poop? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many owners of Shih Tzus have observed this perplexing behavior and asked themselves, “Why?” We’ll explore the odd world of Shih Tzus and their poop-eating tendencies in this blog post.

Let’s explore the reasons behind this behavior, understand if it’s something to be concerned about, and discover simple steps to prevent and address it. Get ready for insights, practical tips, and a better understanding of your furry friend’s quirky antics!

The Shih Tzu Breed

Characteristics and Traits:

  • Compact Size: Shih Tzus are small dogs with a sturdy build, usually weighing between 9 to 16 pounds.
  • Luxurious Coat: Their long, flowing double coat comes in a variety of colors and requires regular grooming to maintain its beauty.
  • Friendly Demeanor: Shih Tzus are renowned for their friendly and outgoing personalities, making them excellent family pets.
  • Distinctive Facial Features: They boast a pushed-in face, large expressive eyes, and a pronounced underbite.

Known Quirks and Behaviors:

  • Playful Nature: Shih Tzus are inherently playful and enjoy interactive activities with their human companions.
  • Affectionate Disposition: These dogs thrive on human companionship and are known for their affectionate and loyal nature.
  • Stubborn at Times: While generally easygoing, Shih Tzus can exhibit a stubborn streak, requiring patient and consistent training.
shih tzu eat poop

Coprophagia in Dogs

Definition and Explanation of Coprophagia:

  • Coprophagia refers to the consumption of feces, a behavior observed in various dog breeds, including the lovable Shih Tzu.
  • This behavior can occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from instinctual behaviors to potential health issues.

There are a few reasons why dogs might eat poop:

  • Nutritional deficiencies: If your dog is not getting enough nutrients from their food, they may eat poop to try to fill in the gaps. This is more common in puppies and dogs who are not being fed a high-quality diet.
  • Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as parasites or digestive problems, can cause dogs to eat poop. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, it’s important to take them to the vet for a checkup.
  • Boredom or lack of stimulation: If your dog is bored or doesn’t have enough to do, they may eat poop as a way to entertain themselves. This is more common in puppies and dogs who are not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation.
  • Learned behavior: If your dog saw another dog eating poop as a puppy, they may have mimicked the behavior. It’s also possible that your dog is eating poop because they get attention from you when they do it, even if it’s negative attention.

If your dog is eating poop, there are a few things you can do to stop them:

  • Make sure your dog is getting a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs. For advice on the best dog food, see your veterinarian.
  • Give your dog plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. This will help to keep them bored and less likely to eat poop.
  • Clean up poop immediately after your dog goes outside. This will make it less likely that your dog will have access to it.
  • Use a poop repellent on your yard. This can help to deter your dog from eating poop.
  • Be consistent with your training. If you catch your dog eating poop, don’t yell or punish them. Simply interrupt them and redirect their attention to something else.

Reasons Behind Shih Tzus Eating Poop

Instinctual Behaviors:

  • Harkening back to their ancestral roots, dogs, including Shih Tzus, might display scavenging instincts, leading to coprophagia.
  • In the wild, consuming feces could have served a survival purpose by obtaining nutrients.

Dietary Deficiencies:

  • Shih Tzus, like any other breed, may indulge in poop-eating if they lack essential nutrients in their diet.
  • Ensuring a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial to deter this behavior.

Medical Reasons:

  • Underlying health issues, such as malabsorption disorders or enzyme deficiencies, could drive Shih Tzus to seek nutrients from feces.
  • Frequent veterinary examinations can assist in detecting and treating possible health issues.

Behavioral Issues:

  • Anxiety, stress, or boredom might trigger coprophagia in Shih Tzus.
  • Creating a stimulating environment and providing mental enrichment can alleviate these issues.

Environmental Factors:

  • Limited access to a clean and safe environment may contribute to coprophagia.
  • Regularly cleaning the living space and ensuring ample opportunities for exercise can mitigate this behavior.

When to Worry: Signs of a Problem

Normal Behavior vs. Excessive Coprophagia:

  • Occasional curiosity about feces may not be alarming, but persistent and excessive poop-eating warrants attention.
  • Monitoring the frequency and intensity of this behavior helps gauge its severity.

Indications of Potential Health Issues:

  • If a Shih Tzu suddenly develops an interest in poop or if there’s a change in their overall behavior, it could signal an underlying health problem.
  • Look out for signs of digestive issues, nutritional deficiencies, or discomfort.

Changes in Appetite and Weight:

  • Significant changes in a Shih Tzu’s appetite or weight may indicate potential health concerns.
  • A sudden increase in coprophagia alongside appetite changes should prompt a visit to the veterinarian.

Unusual Lethargy or Discomfort:

  • If a Shih Tzu appears lethargic, uncomfortable, or displays signs of distress after consuming feces, it’s a cause for concern.
  • These behaviors may suggest digestive problems or other health issues.

Consistent Behavioral Changes:

  • Persistent coprophagia accompanied by alterations in mood or behavior requires investigation.
  • Seeking professional advice helps rule out behavioral issues or underlying health conditions.

Addressing Coprophagia

Training Methods to Discourage the Behavior:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward desired behaviors to reinforce good habits.
  • Distraction Techniques: Redirect your Shih Tzu’s attention with toys or treats when they show interest in feces.
  • Obedience Training: Teach basic commands like “leave it” or “drop it” to control their behavior.

Professional Guidance and Consultation:

  • If coprophagia persists despite at-home efforts, seeking professional advice is crucial.
  • Veterinarians and professional dog trainers can provide tailored solutions based on the specific needs of your Shih Tzu.

Regular Veterinary Check-ups:

  • Schedule routine veterinary appointments to monitor your Shih Tzu’s overall health.
  • Addressing any underlying medical issues promptly can contribute to behavior modification.

Supervision and Consistency:

  • Supervise your Shih Tzu when outdoors to prevent unsupervised access to feces.
  • Consistency in training and environmental management is key to breaking the habit.

Also Read: Do Shih Tzus Like To Swim? Helps & Guide


In unraveling the mystery of why Shih Tzus eat poop, we’ve explored the various factors contributing to this behavior. From instinctual tendencies to potential health issues, addressing coprophagia requires a multifaceted approach. As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to recognize the signs of a problem, implement preventive measures, and seek professional guidance when needed.

By fostering a nutritious diet, a stimulating environment, and employing positive reinforcement, you can navigate this quirky aspect of Shih Tzu behavior with compassion. Remember, each Shih Tzu is unique, and patient, consistent efforts contribute to a harmonious relationship with these lovable companions.

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