If you’re a dog owner, chances are you’ve experienced the frustration of your dog eating something they shouldn’t have.
One of the more common things dogs eat is deer poop. While it may seem like a harmless and even natural behavior, there are potential risks and diseases associated with it.
- Dogs may eat deer poop due to missing key nutrients, liking the taste or smell, boredom or anxiety, or learned behavior.
- Eating deer poop can lead to potential risks and diseases for your dog, including parasites and bacteria.
- If your dog eats deer poop, it’s important to monitor their behavior and contact your vet if necessary. Prevention and training can also help deter this behavior.
Why Dogs Eat Deer Poop
If you are a dog owner, you may have experienced your dog eating deer poop. This behavior is known as “interspecific coprophagia,” and it’s not uncommon among dogs.
There are several reasons why dogs eat deer poop, and understanding these reasons can help you prevent this behavior in the future.
Reasons Why Dogs Eat Deer Poop
Taste and Smell
One of the most common reasons why dogs eat deer poop is that they simply enjoy the taste and smell of it. Deer poop has a strong odor that can be attractive to dogs, especially those with a strong sense of smell. Additionally, deer poop may contain undigested bits of food that can make it more appealing to dogs.
Another reason why dogs may eat deer poop is out of boredom. Dogs that are left alone for long periods of time or that don’t get enough exercise may turn to eating feces as a way to pass the time or alleviate boredom.
If your dog is not getting enough food or is not receiving the necessary nutrients from their diet, they may turn to eating deer poop as a way to supplement their diet. This is especially true for dogs that are on a low-quality or poorly balanced diet.
Some dogs may eat deer poop as a way to get attention from their owners. If your dog knows that eating deer poop will get a reaction from you, they may continue to do it as a way to get attention.
How to Prevent Dogs from Eating Deer Poop
Preventing your dog from eating deer poop can be challenging, but there are several things you can do to discourage this behavior:
- Keep your dog on a leash when walking in areas where deer may be present.
- Train your dog to “leave it” or “drop it” when they encounter deer poop.
- Provide your dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
- Ensure that your dog is getting enough food and the necessary nutrients from their diet.
- Monitor your dog’s behavior and provide positive reinforcement when they exhibit good behavior.
By understanding why dogs eat deer poop and taking steps to prevent this behavior, you can help keep your dog healthy and happy.
Potential Risks and Diseases
If your dog has eaten deer poop, there are some potential risks and diseases that you should be aware of. Here are some of the most common ones:
Deer poop can contain a variety of parasites, including giardia, whipworms, and roundworms. These parasites can cause a range of symptoms in dogs, including diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. In some cases, they can also lead to more serious health issues, such as dehydration and malnutrition.
Deer poop can also contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella. These bacteria can cause a range of symptoms in dogs, including diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. In some cases, they can also lead to more serious health issues, such as kidney failure and sepsis.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted through contact with infected urine, including urine from deer. Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs can include fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can also lead to organ failure and death.
Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a neurological disease that affects deer and other cervids. While there is no evidence that dogs can contract CWD, it is still important to avoid contact with deer poop, as it can carry other infectious diseases.
Deer poop can also carry a variety of infectious diseases, including parvovirus and encephalitis. These diseases can cause a range of symptoms in dogs, including vomiting, diarrhea, and neurological issues.
Should You Call the Vet? (+ What Happens if You Do)
If you suspect that your dog has eaten deer poop, you may be wondering whether or not you should call the vet. The answer is, it depends.
Here are some situations where you should definitely call the vet:
- If your dog is vomiting frequently or has vomited blood.
- If your dog has diarrhea that lasts for more than 24-48 hours.
- If your dog is lethargic or seems to be in pain.
- If your dog has a fever or is not eating or drinking normally.
In these cases, it’s important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to diagnose the problem and provide appropriate treatment.
When you call the vet, they may ask you to bring in a stool sample from your dog. This can help them diagnose any parasites or other issues that may be causing your dog’s symptoms.
Depending on the diagnosis, your vet may prescribe medication to help your dog recover. This could include antibiotics, anti-parasitic medication, or other therapies.
If you do need to take your dog to the vet, be sure to bring along any information you have about the deer poop your dog ate. This can help your vet determine the best course of treatment.
Overall, if you suspect that your dog has eaten deer poop and is experiencing symptoms, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and call your vet. Your vet can help diagnose the problem and provide appropriate treatment to help your dog recover.
Prevention and Training
Preventing your dog from eating deer poop can be challenging, but with proper training and supervision, you can reduce the likelihood of this behavior. Here are some tips to help you prevent your dog from eating deer poop:
Use a Leash
When walking your dog, use a leash to keep him under control. This will help you prevent him from wandering off and eating deer poop. Additionally, a leash will help you control your dog’s movements and prevent him from getting into dangerous situations.
Train Your Dog to “Leave It”
Training your dog to “leave it” is a useful command that can help you prevent him from eating deer poop. To train your dog to “leave it,” follow these steps:
- Hold a treat in your closed hand.
- When your dog sniffs or tries to get the treat, say “leave it” in a firm voice.
- Wait for your dog to stop trying to get the treat.
- When your dog stops trying to get the treat, praise him and give him a different treat.
Repeat this process several times a day until your dog learns to “leave it” on command. Once your dog has mastered this command, you can use it to prevent him from eating deer poop.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a powerful training technique that can help you prevent your dog from eating deer poop. Whenever your dog ignores deer poop or responds to your commands, praise him and give him a treat. This will help him associate good behavior with positive outcomes.
Supervise Your Dog
Supervising your dog is essential to preventing him from eating deer poop. When your dog is outside, keep an eye on him and intervene if he tries to eat deer poop. Additionally, consider using a muzzle to prevent your dog from eating deer poop when you are not able to supervise him.
In conclusion, preventing your dog from eating deer poop requires a combination of training, supervision, and positive reinforcement. By following these tips, you can reduce the likelihood of this behavior and keep your dog safe and healthy.