+44 (0) 800 038 5868


Key facts :

  • For dogs who eat their own faeces

  • Acts as a taste-modifier and behavioural aid

  • Simply sprinkle on food

Coprophagia in Animals

Our pets are part of the family and as such we have close contact with them every day. When they develop unpleasant habits, like coprophagia, this can affect our relationship with them. It can also lead to other problems, such as an increased risk of diseases or parasites being passed on.

Coprophagia (or the eating of faeces by an animal) is a very unpleasant behaviour and not considered normal (except in a few species like rabbits, which produce two kinds of faeces). There are several factors that contribute to the desire of an animal to eat its own (or other animals) faeces and these will often interact.

Dealing with Coprophagia

Be sure you are not over-feeding your dog because undigested food in the faeces can encourage coprophagy. Always follow the manufacturers recommendations and the advice of your vet. In some cases a change of diet can assist.

You will often need to give COPRO-nil™ to all the animals in the household to stop the affected animal from having access to untreated faeces and simply ‘switching’.

REMOVAL OF FAECES – removing the cause of the problem can work but is very time consuming and the problem may recur.
SCOLDING/IGNORING – can be counterproductive unless done properly, it is best to seek the advice of your veterinarian.
SPECIALISED TRAINING – often the only way to treat coprophagia that has been ongoing for some time.

Download advice sheet

VITAMIN DEFICIENCY – Vitamin B1 deficiency has been shown in the laboratory to cause coprophagia, but a number of vitamins (including Vit B complex and Vit K) are made by bacteria in the large bowel. Low levels of these vitamins in an animal’s system may trigger the animal’s instinct to seek sources of these vitamins. This may include faeces.

CURIOSITY – young animals in particular are intensely curious and the faeces of a strange animal (or it may be the first time they encounter their own faeces) may provoke an animal to ‘try something new’. This is not a problem unless they develop a taste for it.


BOREDOM – animals that are bored or anxious will find various ways of relieving the stress. This may be by activities like continuous whining or barking, destructive behaviour or coprophagia. Medications may help but the underlying cause must be addressed.
NATURAL INSTINCT – especially in dogs where their digestive systems have been disturbed they may eat other animals’ faeces in an attempt to re-populate their gut with healthy bacteria.
PROTEIN – cats in particular but also other animals on a high protein diet may have significant amount of protein present in their faeces. If an animal has a particular requirement for protein (e.g., if growing rapidly or on an imbalanced diet) it may be attracted to those faeces
HABIT – this is the most challenging ’cause’. An animal starts consuming faeces for one of the reasons above but then continues, often through having the behaviour inadvertently reinforced by the owner or from continued exposure to stressful situations. The longer this behaviour continues the harder it is to break. This is more a psychological condition and may require specialist treatment.

How does COPRO-nil™ work?
Some of the ingredients act to counter dietary deficiencies that are known to contribute to coprophagia.

Others help re-establish the good bacteria in the gut, essential for producing some of the vitamins which may counteract coprophagia. While others break down in the gut to form products that animals find highly unpalatable. The next day the animal picks up the faeces and spits them out.



Simply sprinkle COPRO-nil™ onto the animals normal food. Ensure that each meal is eaten and discard any food left over before the next meal. COPRO-nil™ can be used with both wet and dry food. The faeces produced from this food will possess a very unpalatable taste. All animals in the household should be treated at the same time to ensure good re-enforcement of the unpalatable ‘message’. Remember that food takes 12 – 24 hours to pass through the digestive system so COPRO-nil™ will only be effective after this ‘lag’ time. This product is not an enzyme mixture which can alter the normal digestive process.

DOGS: One level teaspoon per day for every 10kg divided between feeds (generally recommended as twice a day) for 10 -14 days. Up to a maximum of 4 teaspoons per day.


Sprinkle evenly on the dog food at each feed, (moisten dry food if necessary). Eg a 20kg dog fed twice a day would require one level teaspoon in each meal. This will usually curb coprophagy for months, often permanently.

VERY SMALL DOGS AND PUPPIES: In dogs and puppies less than 5kg the amounts of COPRO-nil™ may be difficult to measure, so please contact your vet for advice.

CATS: ½ level teaspoon per day, divided between the feeds in a day for 5-7 days.

HORSES: 3 level teaspoons, morning and night, for 2-3 days may help to curb this habit.

For older dogs and cats who have been habitual coprophagics over a long period of time it may often be necessary to feed COPRO-nil™ for one month to six weeks to curb the habit.

Safe use in pregnant animals or animals intended for breeding has not been proven. If the condition of the animal worsens cease product administration and consult your vet.

Consult your vet BEFORE using COPRO-nil™ if your animal is on a restricted sodium (salt) diet or is receiving a vitamin or iron supplementation, or if your animal is taking epilepsy medication. Make sure the animals are not on steroids because this can counter the effect of COPRO-nil™. If in doubt please contact your vet.

(1) Reed, D.H. and D.D. Harrington (1981). Experimentally Induced Thiamine Deficiency in Beagle Dogs: Clinical Observations, Am. J. Vet Res, Vol. 42 No 6, pp 984-991.

(2) Landsberg G, M et al Handbook of behavioural problems of the dog and cat p177

(3) Houpt KA, Wolski TR. Domestic Animal Behaviour for Veterinarians and Animal Scientists. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1982.