Your Yorkie Eats Poop: What You Need to Know?


When you notice your Yorkie eats poo, you may be angry, worried, or upset.  A better approach is to learn the reason for his behavior. You can then take appropriate actions to change it.

Why Do Yorkies Eat Their Own Poop?

If your Yorkie eats feces, there are three main categories of reasons.  Your dog may have nutritional deficiencies, behavioral issues, or an undiagnosed health issues.  As each dog and each situation is unique, it can take time and effort to discover the cause. It is a worthwhile to invest your time to have a healthier Yorkie who no longer eats feces.

Yorkie eats feces
Yorkie eats feces

Nutritional deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies can occur if your dog does not get enough to eat.  More often, though, deficiencies are due to the dog food itself. There are a number of ways the dog can suffer from nutritional deficiencies if he is regularly served a low-grade, low-quality dog food.

First, low-quality dog food is not digested properly.  While this leaves his body lacking adequate nutrition, there is an additional way he can be affected.  As it is not digested properly, your dog may not be able to tell the difference between his feces and the dog food he was served.  Often, a Yorkie eats feces because he believes it is dog food.

Second, low-quality dog foods have little nutritional value.  Instead, the main ingredients are fillers. As it does not provide adequate nutrition, your Yorkshire Terrier eats poo to try to obtain the nutrition he needs.

Third, food meant for people is not meant for dogs.  Although there are many foods you eat that you can share with your Yorkie, his diet should not consist primarily of people food.  For ideal nutrition, he needs high-quality dog food every day.

In these instances, a Yorkie eats poo because of an improper diet.  Even if your dog has plenty of food each day, the food does not have enough nutritional value.  

Behavioral issues

Behavioral issues is a second category that may explain why your Yorkie eats poop.  While there are numerous possibilities, some issues are more common than others.

Boredom is one of the most common behavioral issues in Yorkshire Terriers.  Similar to a small child who is left with nothing to do, a bored Yorkie’s behavior can become extreme.  When you want to know if this is the reason he is eating poop, note if he is showing other signs of boredom.  If he is chewing or otherwise destroying objects, or barking too much, he may also be eating his poop due to boredom.

Dogs, like people, can suffer from stress.  Yorkies are not an exception. Separation anxiety is a common cause of canine stress.  This can be an issue if he is left alone all day while you are at work, or if he is new in your home and not accustomed to being left alone at all.

Intelligent dogs like Yorkies can misinterpret your behavior.  If he sees you clean up by quickly whisking his poop away, he may think his poo is something special.  He can quickly get the idea that he should clean it up himself, and do so by eating it.

Health issues

Health issues cover the third category.  While Yorkshire Terriers can have a wide range of health problems, some health issues are commonly linked to Yorkies eating poop.

Anemia is one example.  Anemia occurs when there is not enough hemoglobin or red blood cells in a dog’s bloodstream.  While there can be many causes of anemia, certain symptoms are characteristic of this condition.  He may become tired very easily, have whitish or pale gums, tarry stools, or you may see dark blood in his feces or vomit.

Diabetes is a second example.  When a dog has diabetes, his body does not control its blood sugar levels, and blood sugar is not used normally.  This condition results in excessive urination and excessive thirst. More severe symptoms include cataracts and other vision problems, lethargy, increased appetite, weight loss, slow healing, and diabetic ketoacidosis.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a third condition common in Yorkshire Terriers.  It affects the small intestines, and food is not effectively digested and absorbed.  In addition to digestive issues, symptoms include weight loss, poor appetite, and lethargy or fatigue.

As a fourth example, a Yorkie may have intestinal parasites.  There are numerous worms and other parasites that can be easily picked up by dogs.  The most common ways dogs develop this issue is by eating the feces of animals that have parasites, and eating substances such as unclean vegetables or grass that have parasites or the eggs of parasites.  Although a Yorkie can have intestinal parasites without symptoms, he may have diarrhea or loose stools.

Fifth, while Yorkies have a relatively low risk of thyroid disease, it can occur.  Symptoms include weight gain, hair loss, lethargy, occasional limping or shaking, and difficulty eating and digesting food.

While all of these health issues can lead to serious complications if not treated, eating poop can be a symptom of any of these conditions.  If your Yorkie eats feces, it is not in itself a health condition. However, it can be a symptom that he has a much more serious health problem.  This is one reason why you cannot afford to ignore it.


There can be another, unrelated reason your dog is eating his own poop.  Some dogs can learn this behavior from watching other dogs. If your Yorkie has seen dogs in the neighborhood, or others in your home, he may believe eating poop is the right thing to do.  Some dogs can learn this from their mothers. As they were cleaned by their mothers when they were small puppies, he may think he should do the same.

For some dogs, eating poop is nothing more than curiosity.  They like the way it looks and smells. Your Yorkie may be eating feces simply because he thinks it is interesting.  


How To Stop Yorkie From Eating Poop?

Logically, you want your dog to stop.  However, successful intervention begins with knowing the reason he is doing it.  Never become angry with your dog, and do not punish him for this behavior. Regardless of the reason, he is not eating poop to annoy you.

If the cause is not obvious, the first step should be a visit to your veterinarian.  If you believe your Yorkie might have a health condition, do not try to diagnose it yourself.  Depending on the circumstances, your vet may perform a variety of tests in addition to a thorough examination.  He will be able to diagnose any health issue that exists, and recommend appropriate treatment. He can also rule out other health issues that do not apply to your Yorkie.  If your dog does not have any health conditions, your vet can offer solid advice, too.

The absence of health conditions does not mean you should allow your dog to continue eating feces.  There can be other reasons for this behavior that must be addressed. First, consider his diet. If you have been buying cheap dog food to save money, or because you did not know there are important differences in dog foods, this is a good place to start.  If he eats too much people food, this should be considered, too.

It is a worthwhile investment to choose only the best food for your Yorkshire Terrier.  Take time to learn about different foods and the ingredients they contain. Your dog does not obtain adequate nutrition when he eats low-quality dog food.  It increases his risk of eating feces. In addition, low-quality foods often contain chemicals that can cause other health problems.

Choosing food is not limited to the dog food you purchase.  It includes other products that your dog eats. Only give him people food after you have checked with your vet.  There are many foods that are good for you, but are not good for your dog. Choose wholesome foods, like fresh vegetables and fresh fruits.  Choose all-natural dog treats that do not contain fillers or other additives.

If your Yorkie is accustomed to eating anything and everything, it may take awhile for him to adjust to a new, healthy diet.  If you are patient, you will appreciate it when he stops eating poop, and enjoys better overall health.

If your Yorkshire Terrier eats poo due to behavioral issues, this will require insight and patience.  Keep in mind that he does not eat his own feces to be difficult or to upset you. Do not yell at him, even when you catch him in the act.  Instead, determine what the problem is so it can be addressed and corrected.

A bored Yorkie can find all kinds of trouble to get into.  Eating his own feces is only one example. While this is more likely to occur if he is left on his own, boredom can occur at any time that he lacks stimulation.  He needs something to do, to keep him occupied and out of trouble.

He does not necessarily need more toys, and does not need the most elaborate, expensive toys.  Toys that capture and hold his attention will work. When he can have fun with some new playthings, his focus will shift to the toys.  This can help him lose interest in eating poop.

The Yorkie needs your time and attention, too.  When you are at home, make sure he has plenty of your undivided attention.  Do not simply give him some toys and leave him alone. Playtime, bath time, walks, and even cuddling on the couch can accomplish more than relieving boredom.  It strengthens the bond between you and your little friend.

If your Yorkie suffers from separation anxiety and stress, it is not impossible to resolve these issues.  First, create an environment that is calming and secure. A playpen specially made for small pets is ideal for this purpose.  When he cannot roam throughout the entire house, he will not feel as lonely. Make sure he has fresh water and food, a comfortable bed, and pee pads.  Choose toys that will keep him busy. Interactive toys and companion toys are both useful.

Make leaving home and arriving home calm experiences for your dog.  If you have long work days, try to give him a break during the day if it is possible.  It can be helpful if you are able to go home for lunch, and spend a little time with your dog.  If you cannot do this, ask a trusted neighbor to visit your dog for a short period of time each day, or consider hiring someone to walk your Yorkie once each day.  

Separation anxiety can be difficult for your pet.  These tips can relieve his stress. He will be in a better mood, and less likely to eat poop.  

If you have inadvertently been encouraging your dog to eat poop, this pattern can also change.  Even if it is frustrating to find feces on the floor, make a point of remaining calm. Instead of whisking it away when your dog can see what you are doing, show a nonchalant attitude.  Wait until he is in a different room or outdoors before you clean up the feces.

In addition to the tips that are relevant for your dog’s particular situation, you can also limit his opportunities.  While your yard should be free of poop, he should not be allowed outdoors alone. Fresh poop has a way of gaining a dog’s attention.  When you need to leave him home alone, try to adjust his mealtimes and bowel movements for when you are present. Take him outdoors before you leave for the day.  

When you take him out for walks and bathroom breaks, use a harness and a leash.  Not only will this keep him away from his own poo, but feces left by other animals, too.  

Invest some time in training your Yorkshire Terrier.  While there are many commands he needs to learn, one is to not touch or eat something inappropriate.  “Leave it” is a suitable command for this purpose. The word “no” can have too many other meanings and purposes.  

Similar to other training, you will have the best results if you reward your dog for obedience.  When he responds appropriately, let him know you are proud of him for cooperating. Hugs, pats, and smiles are excellent ways to demonstrate positive reinforcement.  Another option is to give him a small treat. Whichever option you choose, make sure to be consistent. When he knows you are happy with his obedience, he will want to make you happy in the future.  

If he has learned this habit from other dogs, the same training can be effective.  It is also helpful to limit his exposure to dogs that have this habit. Schedule his walks for times and places where he will be less likely to encounter other dogs.  

If your Yorkie eats poo for no reason other than its unusual appeal, this training can be accompanied by another step.  Many dog owners mix pumpkin or pineapple into their dog’s food. This can make the feces look and smell less appealing to the dog.  When your Yorkie loses interest in his feces, he will leave it alone instead of eating it.

Regardless of the reason your Yorkshire Terrier eats poo, the pattern can be changed.  When you take steps to address the reason, your efforts will be effective. It may take a little time, and he may make mistakes, but you can stop him from eating feces.  He will be much happier, and so will you.

Is It Harmful For A Yorkie To Eat Poop?  

When you see your Yorkie eats feces, you know it is disgusting.  Unfortunately, there can be a number of other complications from this habit.  Your dog’s health is an important reason to address the issue immediately. Whether he has been doing this for a long time, or only started recently, it is not likely to stop on its own.  

Even if he is otherwise healthy, eating his own feces can be harmful to his health.  This is especially true if his diet consists of a low-quality dog food. He can develop intestinal pain, vomiting, and stomach pain.  He may develop malnutrition, and a range of health issues that accompany it. Gas, weak teeth and bones, issues with his coat and skin, and a weakened immune system can occur.  

If your dog has worms, there can be additional complications.  When he eats poop, he eats worms and worm eggs that are present in his feces.  This means reinfecting himself. For worm treatment to be successful, he cannot be allowed to eat his own feces.  

Your Yorkshire Terrier can develop health problems if he eats feces from other dogs, or from cats.  This is a special concern if the dogs and cats do not belong to you. These other animals may have various types of worms, and your Yorkie can contract worms from eating their feces.  

There are other illnesses that can be transmitted through feces.  Campylobacteriosis is one example. This infectious disease comes from bacteria in undercooked or raw meat.  It affects an animal’s intestinal tract, and can include symptoms such as watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, pain, and cramping.  Treatment for Campylobacteriosis requires medication.

Canine Coronavirus can be spread through feces.  Minor cases of Coronavirus can be treated with medication, but severe cases can require intravenous fluids so the dog does not become dehydrated.  Dehydration itself can be dangerous for your dog.

Cryptosporidiosis is another intestinal illness a dog may develop after eating contaminated feces.  For severe cases, dogs may need antibiotics, a high-fiber diet, and supportive therapy.

Giardiasis is also known as parasitic diarrhea.  In many instances, dogs can have Giardiasis without any symptoms.  This does not mean it is not harmful, or that it cannot spread to other animals.  

Canine Parvovirus can spread from an infected animal to a healthy animal through feces.  For dogs that have not been vaccinated against Parvo, it can be fatal.

Salmonella infection can range from minor to deadly.  Diarrhea is the most common symptom. The diarrhea often contains mucus or blood.  Severe cases of salmonella infection can also cause depression, vomiting, miscarriage in pregnant dogs, fever, tiredness, or even death.  

From worms to infections, there is another point to consider.  While these issues can be harmful to your pet, he, too, will be contagious.  These health conditions can spread to other animals, and some can even spread to humans in your household.  As an example, it is not uncommon for small children to contract worms from their pets.

When you want your canine friend to be safe and healthy, it is not enough to steer him away from his own poop and poop from other dogs.  Cat poop can also make your dog sick. Salmonella infection can occur in cats as easily as it occurs in dogs. However, there are bacterial infections common in cats that your dog can contract from eating feces.  Campylobacter and Clostridia are two examples.

From minor illnesses to life-threatening conditions, your dog can become ill from eating poop.  Although it is certainly a disgusting habit, his health should be your #1 priority. Instead of worrying about his health, or taking him to the vet for treatment afterward, take the sensible approach and stop his habit of eating poop so he does not contract these health conditions.  Whether it is his own or another animal’s, poop is extremely unhealthy for your Yorkie.

Your Yorkie Eats Poo:  This Habit Can Stop

Nutritional deficiencies, undiagnosed health issues, behavioral issues, curiosity, or copying another dog’s habits are all common reasons Yorkshire Terriers eat feces.  This does not mean it should continue, as there are benefits to stopping this practice.

Your Yorkie will be much healthier in general, and it can eliminate the risk of many specific health issues.  Your dog will be cleaner and fresher when this habit stops. You will no longer be bothered by the sight of your pet eating poop, and he will be a joy to be around.  

Equally important, the underlying problem will be resolved.  Living with a Yorkshire Terrier will be a great experience for both you and your pet.  

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