Health Risks Associated With Dogs Eating Poop

Nov 24, 2019 | Health, Pets

Thomas and I recently had a conversation with a friend about why dogs eat their own or other dog’s fecal matter and the risks involved.  Yes, we were talking about dog poop with a friend but that’s ok because he is not a dog owner and we were able to educate him just incase he were to ever decide to be a pet owner!  Set aside the fact that it is disgusting and highly inconsiderate to allow your pet to defecate in someone else’s yard without cleaning up, it can be harmful to your pet, your home and anyone living in it.

 
When we lived in Missouri, I can’t tell you how many times I watched neighbors walk their dogs, stopping to let their dog pee and poop in our yard and other’s yard and then keep on walking.  I once watched a woman throw her dog’s poop in our garbage can, look around to see if anyone saw her and keep walking.  We can’t predict when our dogs are going to decide to go, but we can be prepared with bags just incase and then property disposed of it when you get home!
 
Coprophagy is the act of ingesting feces.  There may be many reasons why your dog will eat poop.  There are many individual motivators for eating poop, but they usually stem from something to do with your dog’s health or behavior.

In regard to health risks in your pet, eating poop may be a sign your dog lacks certain vitamins or enzymes. He may turn to his poop to try to supplement these. Underfed puppies or overfed adult dogs may also ingest feces to aid digestion.

If you are dealing with a dog who has behavioral issues, these pups eat poop because of things like:

  1. Boredom – Dogs who are bored with their environments will look to eating poop to pass the time.
  2. Anxiety – Dealing with a dog who is stressed out due to a change in environment, etc.
  3. Environment – If they have to eat and lay on or near their own poop, they will eat it.
  4. Attention – If they got attention from eating poop, either positive or negative, they may do it again.
  5. Fear – If your dog has been punished for having an accident or has eaten poop, they may try and clean it up out of fear of being punished again.
  6. Habit – Your pup may have watched his mother eat their feces and copied this habit.

What will happen if your dog eats his own fecal matter or another animals poop?

Any time your dog eats feces of an unknown origin, they run the risk of contracting infectious diseases or parasites. They also have the potential to ingest medications or other irritating ingredients that have passed through the system of the other animal.

Signs your dog is sick from eating poop include:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Intestinal parasites
 
Can humans get sick from pet urine and feces?
One of the most dangerous bio-hazard situations a homeowner can face is pet urine and feces.  Pet urine and feces cleanup can prevent a multitude of diseases from spreading within the home. Exposure to urine, feces, and other fluids like vomit and blood can cause a spread of deadly bacteria and viruses.  This is just another reason you do not want your pet eating any fecal matter from themselves or any other animal for that matter.  
 
And there are at least 42 important diseases that people get by ingesting or handling food or water contaminated with animal feces.  Some are to name a few:
  • Rabies
  • Bubonic Plague
  • Food Poisoning
  • Monkeypox
  • West Nile Encephalitis
  • Legionnaires Disease
  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Dog Tapeworm
  • Hookworm
  • Roundworm
  • Brucellosis

Set aside all of this, it is also the irritation you feel at the inconsideration of pet owners who do not clean up after their pet has defecated in your yard.  It is not fun when you are mowing grass and have either driven over and stepped in a pile that you did not know was there.  Especially if it is not from your own pet.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Sharon

    Eat turkey, not poop! Thanksgiving joke for our furry friends!
    Hey, you’re giving Missouri pet owners a bad rep! I always carry 2 bags on every walk just in case!

    Reply
    • Bobbi

      haa haa. Yes, you are right…I should speak for all not just Missourians :-). I’ve seen it in WV and Pgh to! I just ordered a custom bag carrier and can’t wait to showcase it on my blog. Stay tuned for that!

      Reply

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