Out of all the available delicacies…
Your pooch just scoffs at them…
What they decide to eat is deer poop.
It can be frustrating and worrying.
It makes you think, why do dogs even include it in their diet?
You’re about to discover:
- 9 reasons why dogs eat deer poop.
- How to stop your pooch from munching on the stools of deers.
- What you should do when your dog consumes deer droppings.
- And many more…
Table of contents
- Why do dogs eat deer poop?
- 9 reasons why dogs eat deer poop
- What should you do when your dog eats deer poop?
- How to stop your dog from eating deer poop?
Why do dogs eat deer poop?
Dogs eat deer poop because they’re hungry. That can be due to an underlying medical condition. Diabetes, Cushing’s disease, parasites, malabsorption, or stress can cause it. Sometimes, their appetite for it is due to poor nutrition or curiosity. Other times it’s learned behavior from other dogs.
9 reasons why dogs eat deer poop
#1: They have poor nutrition
Nutrition is an integral part of life.
If it isn’t given to a creature properly, it can lead to many damaging issues.
For dogs, poor nutrition can lead to this behavior.
With improper nutrients, your pooch is compelled to eat deer poop.
It’s called interspecific coprophagia.
For your pooch, practicing this habit is among the only things they can do to survive.
That’s because poor nutrition causes your dog to be extremely hungry.
Aside from that, there are many symptoms of poor nutrition in dogs. Those are:
- Loss of fur.
- Body odor.
- Bad breath.
- Weight loss.
- Skin disorders.
- Stunted growth.
- Excessive shedding.
- Flatulence and bad gas.
- Frequently acquiring infections.
- Being awake in the middle of the night.
Moreover, a lack of nourishment can make your dog weaker.
That’s why malnourished dogs tend to get more diseases. Their immune systems get weak, and can’t defend your canine’s body.
So, feed your dog the proper amount of food that they need.
Seek the advice of a veterinarian about this. They’ll calculate your dog’s daily calorie needs.
With that, you can create a strict diet plan for Fido.
And, you must follow it to prevent behaviors like this.
A high-quality diet is as important
You’re confident that you feed your dog enough food.
However, they continue to eat deer poop and show symptoms of malnutrition.
What’s up with that?
This time, it’s not on what they don’t eat…
The blame is on what they’re consuming.
I’m saying that the food you’re giving them isn’t doing anything at all.
There are many cases like that.
That’s because some dog foods are full of filler and additives. It only leaves your pup feeling full.
But, internally, their body doesn’t get any nutritional benefits.
So after a short while, you’ll notice that your pooch might go hungry again.
And if you don’t tend to that hunger…
Don’t let them go anywhere with deer poop because they’ll relieve themself with that.
You brought your dog into the woods for a weekend.
Once you arrive at your campsite, you begin to set up.
With that, you pay less attention to your pooch.
While setting up, you check to see where your fur baby is…
When you find them, they’re munching on deer poop!
It wasn’t an appetizing sight for you.
But your pooch does the behavior with pride. As if telling you:
“Look at me, hooman! Am eating sumthin’…”
With that, you pull them back into the campsite and watch them closely.
Now, during your stay there, your pup will repeat the behavior every time you do another task…
They can be exhausting sometimes, right?
“Why do they do that?”
When your pooch keeps coming back for deer poop, it might not be what they really want.
They only do it so that they’ll get your attention.
You might not relate to the scenario…
So, think about how you reacted the first time you caught Fido eating deer poop…
Did it make you pay closer attention to them?
Hmm, did you tell them to stay and sit near you?
If any of those two happened, then there…
That’s what encouraged Fido to see the behavior as rewarding.
Dogs and attention
Our furry friends are highly social creatures.
With that, experts warn us about one thing:
Dogs will do anything to get your attention.
Yes, even eating deer poop…
They’re strategists when it comes to seeking validation from their parents.
Did you know? You’ll notice how much your dog loves being a star in your eyes.
Research reveals that a dog’s facial movement increases when given attention.
The authors also recorded their reactions to food. Results show that it didn’t affect the dogs’ behaviors.
So, the scoreboard becomes:
Human =1, Food = 0
#3: Cushing’s disease
This nasty habit might be hiding something serious…
If your dog eats deer poop, it can be a sign of a medical issue.
In this section, I’ll talk about Cushing’s disease.
According to VCA Hospitals, it’s a condition where there’s an overproduction of hormones.
To be specific, it’s an imbalance of the hormones cortisol.
It can be either an excessive or decreased production of that substance.
Then, the affected body part is your dog’s adrenal glands in the kidney.
Causes of this condition are:
- Pituitary gland tumor.
- Prolonged use of steroids.
- Tumor in the adrenal gland.
Now, how exactly does this cause your dog to eat deer poop?
That’s because dogs affected by this condition have increased appetites.
It’s a result of the increase in cortisol. That rise stimulates their hunger.
With that, your pooch is roughly satisfied with what you give them.
So, they set off and seek other sources of food.
Unfortunately, your pup finds deer droppings nearby and decides to eat them.
Aside from a ravenous appetite, these are the signs of Cushing’s disease in dogs:
- Poor hair coat.
- Urinating more.
- Frequent drinking of water.
Reading tip: Why Is My Old Dog Suddenly Food Obsessed? 9 Reasons
#4: Intestinal malabsorption
You’re confident of 2 things:
The first one is that you feed your dog their daily requirement.
The second is being sure that you provide them with a high-quality diet.
And yet, your pooch continues to eat deer poop.
“Right? Is there something that I’m doing wrong?”
Since you’re sure about the 2 checklists, it’s time to stop beating yourself up.
That’s because it might be out of your hands.
The reason might be lying on your dog’s stomach.
What I’m saying is:
This habit can be caused by a condition called intestinal malabsorption.
So, your dog could have a proper diet…
However, they’re still not getting proper nutrients.
That’s because their digestive tract is unable to absorb these nutrients properly.
With that, malabsorption causes malnourishment.
Then, it brings about an insatiable appetite for your dog.
That’s what makes them drawn to eat almost anything. That includes deer feces.
Increased appetite isn’t the only sign of this condition.
There are more to watch out for. Namely:
- Poor hair coat.
- Lack of energy.
- Noisy stomach.
- Smelly gas and loose stools.
The Merck Vet Manual says that diabetes is a common endocrine disease.
To be specific, 1 in every 300 patients is diagnosed with it.
Moreover, there are 2 types of diabetes, according to PetMD:
|Type of diabetes||Definition|
|Type 1 diabetes|
|Your dog’s body doesn’t create enough insulin. With that, their blood sugar levels are irregular.|
|Type 2 diabetes|
|Your fur baby’s body doesn’t normally respond to insulin.|
Now, having a ravenous appetite is a symptom of diabetes.
That’s why diabetes is usually linked to coprophagia.
The condition alters your dog’s hunger.
So, like the first 2 conditions that I mentioned, diabetes causes your dog to eat deer poop.
Here are other signs of diabetes in dogs:
- Rapid weight gain or loss.
- Excessive drinking of water.
- Urinating more than usual (they might start peeing inside the house again).
Did you know? A study reveals that diabetes was diagnosed more during the winter months. That suggests such an environmental factor is involved in the disease.
#6: They’re copying another dog
Little do you know, dogs are observant creatures…
Such a quality makes it easier for them to copy another’s actions.
Yes, dogs are capable of such.
Your fur baby can imitate you. However, this research suggests that that can only happen selectively.
That means that dogs would only imitate you if the goal is achievable for them.
Moreover, dogs imitate their furry friends too.
Dr. Stanley Coren says that there’s something called allelomimetic behaviors in dogs.
It’s an aspect of learning among canines. It occurs when a doggo models another canine’s behavior through observation.
Note: That’s why raising a puppy is easier if you already have an adult dog.
Now, that phenomenon can be a double-edged sword…
That’s because your pooch can model an undesirable habit as well.
And in this case, that behavior is eating deer poop.
So, do you have more than one fur baby? Moreover, do you have a coprophagic pooch to start with?
If ‘yes,’ then this is indeed bound to happen…
And get ready because the behavior might spread…
Did you know? Coprophagia is more common in multi-dog households.
Here’s data from a study mentioned in AKC:
|Number of dog(s) in the household||Coprophagia rate in the subject dogs|
|Single dog home||20%|
Your fur baby is a being with limits, too…
That’s why they also get stressed.
And like in people, the feeling has to be redirected somewhere.
Some will tap their feet. Others will bite their nails.
Now to your pupper…
They chose an unconventional way to cope…
Your pup is trying to handle their stress by eating deer poop.
It makes you ask…
“Out of all the food that they could’ve picked for stress eating…
Why? Why must it be deer poop?”
And to be honest, there’s no straightforward answer to that yet.
A simple theory will be because the poop is there. Then, your stressed-out pooch sees it…
With that, the feces gets eaten.
But, it’s not the end of the story.
You must handle this the right way.
Identify what gave your pooch this feeling. Once you know, get your pupper away from their stressor.
Then, do everything you can to avoid it from showing up or happening again.
If you don’t want your dog to always live in fear, you can train them not to feel that way. You can use famous training methods like counterconditioning and desensitization.
#8: They’re curious
Let’s try to see it from your dog’s perspective…
They see deer poop and their eyes gets locked to the target…
“What is this?” says Fido.
Since dogs are curious in nature, they’ll analyze it first.
Then, they might realize that it isn’t a stool that’s owned by a fellow canine.
So, they try to give it a taste.
Now, they’ve unlocked a new delicacy on their palate.
Sometimes, the reason is as simple as this.
Your pooch was just curious at first.
Like a child, your pup will explore their interest as much as they can.
Only when they experience a certain thing will they stop pursuing it.
In this case, that can happen or…
Your fur baby will develop a fondness for deer poop. With that, they’ll repeat the behavior every time they come across that type of stool.
#9: They’re greedy
Sometimes, your pooch isn’t hungry, curious, or facing a medical issue…
So what could it be?
Unfortunately, your pupper is gluttonous…
That even though they’ve already had a satisfying meal, they’ll eat anything they’ll see.
It doesn’t matter if what they see is a deer’s droppings…
They’ll consume it if they want to.
This isn’t a rare occurrence.
In this famous study about coprophagia in dogs, greedy puppers were mentioned.
It says there that:
Most dog parents in the survey report their coprophagic pooch as ‘greedy.’
So, observe if your pooch tends to munch on their food faster. Or if your fur baby often gets aggressive to protect their meal…
If they show those behaviors, they might be more prone to becoming an eater of stool.
Continue reading: 7 Dog Breeds That Are Obsessed With Food
What should you do when your dog eats deer poop?
When your dog eats deer poop, you must monitor them to see if their body reacts to it. Moreover, you should start making a plan to stop or avoid it. This behavior is rarely harmless, and you should take some necessary actions.
Monitor your dog
After your pooch has successfully munched on deer poop, watch them closely.
Often, the habit is harmless. However, don’t be complacent.
Dogs can get sick from eating deer poop.
That’s because deer stools can spread dangerous parasites.
I’m talking about roundworms and whipworms that these droppings mostly contain.
Warning: The MSDVM says that humans can get infected with roundworms from dogs, too.
Clean your canine
As I mentioned, this habit can pass on harmful parasites like roundworms.
With that, you must clean your pooch after they eat deer poop.
Wash their mouth, then wash your hands with soap and water.
After that, be mindful of your dog’s next potty.
You must pick the poop up immediately and scrub the surface on which they went number two.
My dog ate deer poop and is throwing up
If your dog ate deer poop and throws up, take them to the vet immediately. There, the vet will get a stool sample from your dog’s anus. This is to check and see if any intestinal parasites caused the vomiting.
It might be a rare occurrence, but dogs can get sick from eating deer poop.
This sickness can be caused by parasites that are present in the feces.
If your dog ingests a contaminated stool, they’ll suffer some consequences.
Let’s look at those parasites from deer poop that causes vomiting in dogs:
Parasite #1: A single-celled organism (protozoa) called coccidia.
According to VCA Hospitals, these protozoa spend time clinging to the intestinal lining. In there, they damage the cells nearby.
However, the majority of the infections are undetectable. That instance is called subclinical infections.
But for those that show up, vomiting is among the first clinical signs. Among others like:
- Loose stools.
- Abdominal distress.
Parasite #2: I mentioned that you should monitor your dog after eating deer poop. That’s because the feces might contain something like roundworm.
Now, your pooch is vomiting…
That could be a sign that the intestinal parasite has infected your pooch.
Experts say these are the other symptoms of roundworms in dogs:
- Dull coat.
- Belly pain.
- Weight loss.
Note: They can even acquire these parasites by just sniffing poop.
So, check to see if your dog’s next potty has worms in it. Yes, you must forget how disgusting it is.
Moreover, you shouldn’t let other dogs near your affected canine’s poop.
And when cleaning your pupper’s poop, be mindful. As I mentioned, roundworms can be transferred to people.
Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning your doggo’s potty.
My dog ate deer poop and has diarrhea
If your dog ate deer poop and has diarrhea, you must get them to the vet as soon as possible. Also, note down how their stool looks. If possible, get a sample carefully.
Remembering how their poop looks might help the vet assess the situation.
Moreover, the vet will appreciate a stool sample from your pooch.
If you fail to bring one, it’s alright. The doctor can get a sample themself from your dog’s anus.
Now, what could’ve caused this?
As in the first scenario, coccidia and roundworms can also cause diarrhea.
However, there are more. Namely:
Parasite #1: Another protozoan parasite called Giardia duodenalis.
Vets say that the disease it causes is called giardia.
If the deer poop that Fido ate has this parasite, it’ll cling to their intestinal wall.
When it gets there, it causes sudden and foul-smelling diarrhea.
However, loose stools aren’t always present in most cases of giardia.
But when it shows, it can be irregular or chronic.
Parasite #2: Your pooch may have whipworms.
It’s transmitted through ingesting infected matter.
In your dog’s case, it’s deer poop that they came across.
Warning: Whipworms can survive almost anywhere. Plus, they can thrive for months to years, even without a host.
According to PetMD, here are the symptoms of a whipworm infection:
- Weight loss.
- Bloody diarrhea.
How to stop your dog from eating deer poop?
To stop your dog from eating deer poop, you must first identify the nature of the behavior. Once that’s done, you can avoid the behavior locally and thoroughly.
Investigate the reason for your dog eating deer poop.
Knowing the cause of this habit is the most helpful response of all.
That’s because you can work it out from its source.
It’s caused by hunger? Then, check to see if you feed your dog enough or properly.
Making some changes to their diet might do the trick.
There are many reasons as to why your dog eats deer poop.
Whatever it is, you have to operate around that area.
But, it’s not a task that you can do alone, especially if the reason behind it is medical.
If that’s the case, you must immediately take your pooch to the vet. There, they can assist you on the source and help you curb the behavior.
Make sure it never happens again
There’s more to do…
Now, you must know the reason why your pooch eats deer poop. Moreover, you should be working to remove the cause and, therefore, eliminate the habit.
To help you even further, there are more things that you need to practice.
Here’s a list of things that you can do:
- Immediately pick up any waste nearby.
- Put them on a leash everytime you go on walks.
- Be mindful of the things present in your walkway.
- Never leave your pooch unattended wherever the deer usually poops.