dogs eat frozen poop in winter poopcicles poopsicles
by Dr. Jess Franklin, DVM

Dogs eat frozen poop in winter.

Disgusting, but true: many dogs start eating frozen dog stools in the winter. We call them “poopcicles” (or “poopsicles”). This behavior can be a cause for vomiting and may increase the risk for exposure to parasites, will cause bad breath, and is also just plain gross.

How to stop it when your dogs eat frozen poop

Here are some techniques that have helped other families to stop or prevent poop eating.

  1. Go out with your dog and pick up and dispose of stools. Also pick up stools you find left by other dogs so they are not available for your dog to eat. Dispose of bagged stools in the trash.
  2. After your dog has a bowel movement, call the dog to you and reward with a tasty treat.  This directs the dog away from the stool, and rewards the dog for not eating a stool.
  3. Add volume, not calories, to the dog’s diet so he is less hungry. A cup of green beans is about 30 calories, and a cup of dry dog food is about 300 calories. Adding one cup of canned or cooked green beans in place of a small amount of dry food will allow dog to feel fuller.
  4. Giving the dog some canned food frozen in a Kong or as filler for an old marrow bone allows the dog to spend time eating outdoors, instead of searching for frozen stool.
  5. Additives to the dog’s diet that will make the stool taste bad. The Ann Arbor Animal Hospital stocks ‘For-Bid’, a packet that is mixed with dog’s meals twice per day for 5-6 days, and also CoproBan, a flavored chew to give with each meal. Other food additives suggested include MSG and stewed tomatoes.

Some dogs are voracious stool eaters all year long, but many are only attracted to winter frozen poopcicles. Remember that dogs need exercise in winter. Take your dog for an exercise walk at least once every day. While on a leash walk, keep your dog under control so that he does not eat stool, and reward good behavior with praise and a tasty treat.

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Ann Arbor Animal Hospital is a locally-owned animal hospital operating for over 90 years in Ann Arbor, MI.