I love taking my dogs for a walk in the woods. One of my favorite things to do is take them shed hunting.
However, one thing I have to watch out for is if my dogs are eating deer poop.
Why do dogs like to eat deer poop?
Dogs may eat deer poop if they lack nutrition, are curious, or are anxious or stressed. It is not abnormal for your dog to eat deer poop, but you should investigate the underlying reason.
Dogs who like to eat poop regularly have what’s known as coprophagia.
What is Coprophagia?
Coprophagia is the practice of eating feces regularly. It’s not abnormal for dogs to have coprophagia, and studies show that at least 24% of dogs will eat poop at some time in their life.
What Causes Coprophagia
- Nutritional deficiencies – Your dog may be lacking nutrition and is trying to extract nutrition from the deer poop. This is more common in older dogs that may have developed an underlying condition that prevents them from absorbing nutrition fully.
- Stress – You often hear of humans stress eating; well, it’s similar for dogs. Dogs that are stressed or anxious may come across as destructive. They chew on anything they can get their teeth on and eat all manner of things.
- Curiosity – A lot of the time, dogs are just curious. This is the most common reason why dogs have coprophagia. This is usually more common in puppies. With puppies that have just arrived in your household, you may see unusual objects in their poop. Likewise, you may see them vomit up some strange things.
- Taste – This is an unusual one, but it may be that your dog just likes the taste of deer poop. While this one may be harder to explain to humans than dogs, it’s a 5-star meal. Sometimes they are after foods that the deer haven’t fully digested.
- Scavaging – When your dog eats deer poop or poop from other animals, it’s sometimes because of their scavenger behavior. This goes back to the instincts of the dog. It is widely prevalent in wolf populations to see them scavaging, and they can often be seen eating poop from other animals.
Can a dog get sick from eating deer poop?
Yes, dogs can get sick from eating deer poop, and you should never let your dogs eat deer poop or poop from any other wild animal.
Deer can harbor bacteria, parasites, and diseases that may be harmful to your dog. While it’s ok to feed your dog deer meat from a healthy deer, deer feces is usually home to these nasty things you don’t want your dog eating.
Deer urine can harbor the bacteria Leptospira. This bacteria can cause an infectious disease in your dog known as Leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis is a severe disease and can be fatal in extreme cases.
Most deer parasites are host-specific and most likely will not harm your dog.
However, dogs can become infected with coccidia from eating infected deer poop. Coccidia is a single-cell parasite that lives in your dog’s intestine. It can cause diarrhea in your dog.
If the deer had any diseases, it’s possible these can be transmitted to your dog through eating deer poop.
Can dogs get CWD from eating deer poop?
There have never been any confirmed cases of a dog contracting chronic wasting disease.
However, experts note that while dogs may not be able to contract the disease now, it may be possible for your dog to get CWD in the future if the disease was to evolve.
You can lower the risk of your dog getting CWD by preventing it from eating deer poop.
Can dogs catch worms from eating deer poop?
It is highly unlikely that your dog can catch worms from eating deer poop. The worms that deer carry are host-specific, meaning that they can only live off deer or other ruminants.
What should I do if my dog ate deer poop?
If you catch your dog eating deer poop or suspect that he may have eaten some, there is no need to panic.
Monitor your dog closely over the next 24-48 hours. If your is bright and appears normal, you won’t need a vet visit.
You may find that your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea. If this doesn’t clear up in 48 hours, you should call your vet.
If your dog is lethargic, dehydrated, or out of sorts, a vet visit is important.
How to stop dog eating deer poop
As we mentioned above, there are a variety of reasons why your dog may be eating deer poop. The most common reasons are nutrition deficiencies and curiosity.
To prevent your dog from eating deer poop:
- Limit exposure. When walking your dog in an area deer are known to frequent, keep your dog on a lead.
- Make sure your dog is receiving enough nutrition from their food. Gradually introduce more nutritional food to your dog’s diet; you could also try raw deer.
- Teach your dog not to eat things found in the wild. Dogs are curious by nature and like to pick up anything they find. Keep your dog on a leash for a few walks, and every time they try to pick up something, they are not supposed to, correct them.
- Ensure your dog is receiving enough mental stimulation. Play a game that requires your dog to think or give them some toys before you go on a walk. This can prevent them from being bored and investigating everything on a walk.
For the most part, if your dog eats deer poop, there is no need to be alarmed. More often than not, your dog will be fine or have a mildly upset tummy.
However, you should prevent your dog from eating deer poop on the chance that it contracts a more serious illness.
If you notice your dog is interested in eating deer poop, you should look into the underlying causes for his coprophagia. You may find that feeding a more nutritional meal or providing more mental stimulation is enough to break their desire to eat deer poop.