The question of whether or not eating poop can make your dog sick is a tough one. The truth is, it depends on the type of poop that they are ingesting and how often they do it. If you have an outdoor pet that regularly eats its own feces, then there’s a good chance this could be making them sick. But if you have an indoor dog who occasionally eats a little bit of stool from the litter box, it may be another story.
When a canine eats feces, it is called “coprophagia” in the veterinary world. Read on to learn more about this common dog behavior, whether or not it’s safe, and what you can do about it.
Can Eating Poop Make My Dog Sick?
In general, when a dog eats small amounts of its own feces, it is safe. However, there may be risks when a dog eats another animal’s feces. This is a common behavior of about 25% of dogs and may be an inherited trait from their wolf ancestors.
Eating fresh waste is not an issue, but it can be a bigger problem when your dog eats older waste that has sat in the sun and become covered with bacteria. Bacteria such as E Coli and Salmonella may cause problems for some dogs depending on their health condition or exposure to pathogens.
Eating poop also includes licking themselves after defecation, which is normal and not a problem unless they ingest too much of their own waste. Licking feces off the ground is also common among dogs, but it can be dangerous if they pick up parasites such as roundworms or tapeworms that are found in other animals’ droppings.
You will need to monitor your dog’s poop-eating habits for a few days to a week in order to know if it’s safe for them to continue the behavior. If there is no change in their stool, and they have been eating poop regularly without getting sick, then you don’t need to worry about it being harmful.
However, this may not be the case with every dog, so if your pet seems to be sick or has diarrhea, then you should stop it. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on your dog and watch for any new symptoms after they eat poop so that you can prevent poisoning from ingesting pathogens.
Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?
There are many reasons why dogs eat poop, but some of the most common ones include boredom, hunger, malnutrition, and anxiety.
Boredom is a big reason for your dog’s stool eating habits. If they don’t have anything to do or enough attention from you, then they might start looking elsewhere for entertainment. Dogs who are left alone all day long without exercise or interaction may resort to eating poop for fun.
Hunger is a common reason why dogs eat their own stool. If your dog isn’t getting the right nutrition in their kibble, then they will start looking elsewhere for substances to fill them up. Eating feces has been found to be especially prevalent among puppies and younger dogs who are still developing and growing.
Anxiety can also lead to your dog eating poop, especially in the case of house training issues or separation anxiety. If they are left alone for long periods of time with no place to go to the bathroom, then there is a good chance that they will eat their own stool so that they don’t have to smell it.
This behavior may be due to nutritional deficiencies or medical problems. If your dog has this habit, you should consult with your veterinarian about treatment options and what might cause this behavior, so that you can avoid it altogether in the future.
Can Other Dogs Poop Make My Dog Sick?
In order for a dog to become sick from eating another dog’s poop, it has to ingest enough pathogens which can cause illnesses such as trichinosis. In this case, the roundworm Trichinella spiralis is passed through feces and causes illness when eaten by other animals or humans.
When dogs eat fresh droppings that have not been in the sun or aren’t contaminated, they are usually safe. If there is any diarrheal stool involved, then it should be avoided as this may cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting.
If your dog eats another animal’s feces that has been left lying in the heat for a longer period of time, then there is a risk that it has been contaminated with pathogens such as E Coli and Salmonella. In this case, the dog will be at risk of developing food poisoning.
Your pet may also catch worms from other dogs’ poop. Roundworms and tapeworms are often passed with infected feces, so you need to monitor your dog’s stool eating habits if they have this habit regularly.
If you take your dog to a dog park, your dog is at the greatest risk of catching a feces-based illness here. It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your dog and make sure they don’t eat any droppings while at the park.
Can Chicken Poop Make My Dog Sick?
Chicken poop is usually not harmful to dogs, but there are some exceptions that you should be aware of, such as Salmonella. If your dog eats chicken droppings that have been in the sun for long periods of time, then they are at risk of catching this illness, which causes diarrhea and vomiting.
If the chicken diet contains too much calcium or phosphorus, then it could lead to bladder stones in their urinary tract and kidneys. This can be prevented by switching to a low-calcium or low-phosphorus dog food.
Chicken droppings also tend to have high levels of fat which may lead to pancreatitis if your dog eats it regularly. This is a serious disease that affects your dog’s digestive system, causing them to vomit repeatedly.
In addition, chicken droppings may contain Avian Influenza, which can make both humans and dogs very sick with flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. In some cases, it can be fatal for pets.
If your dog eats a chicken dropping that has been contaminated with Avian Influenza, then they will be at risk for getting sick. You should monitor their droppings and contact the vet if you notice any changes in color or consistency as this may indicate intestinal problems such as diarrhea which could lead to dehydration.
What To Do if My Dog Eats Poop?
The most important thing to do if you see your pup eating feces is to take note of the specifics. Is it their own, or did they eat another animal’s poop? Was the poop fresh or was it dry and old? You’ll also want to note if there is any diarrhea, which is a sign of excess bacteria and infection.
Keep your eye on your dog more regularly, especially when they are in the backyard or at the dog park. You’ll need to determine if this habit is a regular or occasional one. All of this information will be helpful in the case that you choose to bring your dog to the vet and they ask you about their behavior.
In addition to tracking the habits of your dog, you’ll also want to take steps to prevent your pet from eating poop in the future. Here are some ideas to help you out.
Keep Your Dog On a Leash Outside
Make sure that your dog doesn’t have access to areas where it can eat other animals’ poop or garbage. This means you’ll need to keep them on a leash when outside and should avoid taking them to places like the park if this habit is regular for them. You may also want to make some changes in your yard so that it is more difficult for them to get into areas where they can eat other animal’s droppings.
Dog Proof Your Yard and Garbage Area
If you have a yard, be sure to keep it clean of any droppings from other animals or anything that your dog could eat. It’s best to pick up your dog’s waste once a day if possible. You can also use a repellent on the grass which will make the poop taste bad and will hopefully discourage them from eating it. These repellents are available online and at local pet stores.
Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop by Feeding Them Better
If your dog is eating poop because of a nutritional deficiency, you will want to make sure to upgrade their food. You will want to make their food more nutrient-dense. This can be done by adding supplements such as probiotics, digestive enzymes, and/or canned pumpkin, which is a great source of fiber that can help keep your dog’s bowels regular.
Spay or Neuter Your Dog
In addition, if your dog is eating the feces of other animals, then you should consider getting them spayed or neutered since this can prevent a hormonal change in their system which may cause them to feel anxious and want to mark areas with their smell by peeing or pooping on it. This can also happen if they are in a new environment or feel threatened by other dogs.
Train Your Dog to Stop Eating Poop
If you are unable to keep your dog from eating poop, then it may be time to train them. There are many ways that can help with this behavior, including using a training collar or positive reinforcement techniques which will allow you to communicate better with your pup and give them clear boundaries about what is acceptable and what isn’t.
Some positive reinforcement techniques include using toys, treats, or anything your dog loves to motivate them. Be sure to praise and reward good behavior so that they can learn what is expected of them through positive reinforcement.
Change the Taste of Your Dog’s Poop
There are many additives that can affect the taste of your dog’s feces and discourage them from eating them. These can be found in most pet stores and come in either powder or liquid form. It may take some trial and error to find which one works best for your dog, but it is worth the effort since you will want them to stay healthy.
Some natural whole foods options include pumpkin, parsley, and even plain yogurt. There are also several commercial products available that can help you with this problem, including things like bitter apple spray or deterrent sticks which will change the taste of your pet’s feces to something less appealing for them to eat.
Make Your Cat’s Litter Box Less Accessible
For those who are struggling with a dog that regularly frequents in-home litter boxes, you can try to make them less accessible by adding a top or putting in high-up places. This will help protect your cat’s litter box from being accessed by your dog. You can also use a repellent around the area to deter them from getting into it.