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These Are the Scientific Reasons Your Dog Eats Its Poop

Warning: The above video contains graphic images of dogs pooping. Some of the dogs are smiling while they’re pooping. It’s the circle of life; don’t judge those who eat their own fudge. 

Pop Quiz: Coprophagia, what is it? Hint: while you’re trying to think of your answer, please don’t be snacking on anything.

Even if you don’t know the answer to the above po(o)p quiz, the above video, which comes via Laughing Squid, will fill you in on all of the details. Suffice to say, coprophagia is the eating of feces or dung, and when it comes to dogs, it turns out there are quite a few scientific reasons they may be partaking in their own just desserts.

According to Gross Science host Anna Rothschild, dogs tend to eat their own bum brownies mainly out of confusion or fear. While mother dogs eat their puppies’ poop to keep them from ingesting harmful parasites, their offspring may then pick up on this tendency because they are trying to copy her behavior. Dogs can also be confused when they are punished after pooping, and may “eat [their] feces to hide the evidence.”

They may also participate in some Downtown Buffet because they are experiencing a lack of nutrients—an issue CatDog probably never encounters. Rothschild points to a paper that describes how some dogs may slop their own plop because they have “a condition that causes food to pass through [them] before it’s been digested.” As a result, they consume their own poop to recover lost nutrients.

Rothschild also notes that some have simply been deemed by The American Kennel Club as “serious stool eaters.” (Like Death Eaters, only not as magical and their breath’s not so great.) If this is the case for your dog, you don’t need to stress. Just make sure you get to your dog’s mess before he or she can. And if you can’t, maybe think twice about giving your dog the bum’s rush for a behavior that has life-protecting biological roots.

Definitely don’t reward them with any kisses, though.

What do you think about this Gross Science video? Are you now going to rethink how you keep your dog from scarfing the log? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image: Brandon Weeks

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