Why Do Dogs Eat Deer Poop?

A deer in the woods.

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Dogs eating deer poop is a disgusting habit, but also a common and normal behavior.

While some people may find it gross, there are actually several reasons why dogs might eat this type of feces.

Most of the time it’s a harmless behavior, but there is a chance that your dog may get sick from it. Find out more in this blog post.

Why does my dog eat deer poop?

A pile of deer poop.

Eating deer poop is a common problem for dogs, especially those that come across a pile of deer poop on a regular basis.

It’s a tasty treat

The most likely reason your dog is eating deer droppings is that they just enjoy the taste or smell of it.

Just like we eat things that taste good, so do dogs. Though what they think tastes good can sometimes be disgusting to us.

In fact, many dogs will eat their own poop! If your dog enjoys the taste or smell of his own stool, it’s not much of a stretch to think that he would enjoy the taste or smell of the feces of other animals as well.

Your dog is hungry

Another common reason is that your dog is simply hungry and will eat anything, including deer poop.

If your dog isn’t getting enough food, he may start to forage for anything edible, including feces.

This is the number one reason that Luna eats poop. She’s been put on a diet and she likes to let us know that she’s hungry by eating animal poop.

They are lacking in nutrients

Another possibility is that your dog is eating deer poop because they are lacking in certain nutrients. This could be because your dog’s diet is not high-quality dog food, or they aren’t getting enough.

While deer poop may not be the most appetizing way to get those nutrients, it’s better than nothing.

This is especially true if your dog is eating grass and other plants as well. If they are, it’s likely that they are lacking in vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients.

Your dog is stressed or anxious

Poop eating is also a way some dogs cope with stress or anxiety.

If your dog is experiencing a lot of stress in their life, they may turn to eating feces as a way to comfort themselves.

This is similar to how some people eat when they are stressed.

Your dog is bored

Another possibility is that your dog is simply bored and looking for something to do.

If your dog doesn’t have enough mental or physical stimulation, they may start to engage in destructive behaviors like chewing on things or eating feces.

It’s a learned behavior

In some cases, a dog may start to eat deer poop because they have seen another dog do it.

If your dog sees another dog eating feces, they may think that it’s something that they should do as well.

This is especially true if a young dog sees older dogs, especially if they are part of their family, eating the deer poop.

Attention-seeking behavior

In some cases, a dog may eat deer poop as a way to get attention from their owner.

Dogs are smart enough to know that if they do something that their owner doesn’t like, they will get attention.

And for some dogs, any attention is better than no attention.

So if your dog knows that you don’t like it when they eat deer poop, they may do it just to get a rise out of you.

They are sick

Finally, it’s possible that your dog is eating deer poop because they have health issues that need to be treated.

If your dog has an underlying health condition, it may cause them to have a change in appetite. This can lead them to start eating things that they normally wouldn’t, like feces.

Is Deer Poop Bad For Dogs?

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons why your dog may be eating deer poop, you may be wondering if it’s actually bad for them.

The truth is, in most cases, it’s not going to hurt your dog if they eat deer feces.

However, there are some risks that you should be aware of.

Intestinal parasites

The biggest concern with dogs eating deer poop is the risk of harmful parasites.

Deer can carry a variety of parasites, including coccidia (roundworms) and whipworms. If your dog eats deer feces that contain these parasites, they can become infected.

Parasites can cause rapid weight loss in dogs and need to be treated by a vet.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can be found in the urine of wild animals, including deer.

While it isn’t found in the feces themselves, urine is oftentimes found near feces and your dog may consume it while eating the deer poop.

Leptospirosis can lead to serious illness and even be life-threatening to your dog.

Tooth decaying bacteria

Deer poop, and really any poop, naturally contains a variety of bacteria. When your dog eats the feces, they are also ingesting this bacteria.

Deer poop contains bacteria that is prone to causing tooth decay in dogs. While tooth decay isn’t life-threatening, it can lead to pain and difficulty eating for your dog.

What to do if your dog eats deer poop

If you know your dog ate deer poop, there are a couple of things you should do.

Monitor your dog

The most important thing to do is to monitor your dog for any symptoms of an illness or parasites.

While most dogs will be fine after eating deer feces, some may develop leptospirosis or get parasites from the deer poop.

So, it’s important to keep an eye out for symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Any unusual behavior should be noted.

See the vet

If your dog is showing any symptoms of illness, or if you’re just concerned about them eating deer poop, the best thing to do is to take them to the vet.

Your vet will be able to check your dog for both internal parasites and leptospirosis as well as discuss any unusual behavior your dog is having.

The good news is that these health problems can be treated with proper care from the vet.

How do I stop my dog from eating deer poop?

Now that you know the reasons behind why dogs eat deer poop, here are some ways to get them to stop.

Avoid the deer poop

The most effective way to keep your dog from eating deer poop is to avoid it altogether. This means not walking your dog where deer are known to be.

Obviously, if you enjoy taking your dog on hikes in the woods, or live in the country, this may not be practical for you.

Thankfully there are a few other ways that may help in your situation.

Know the cause

As we discussed earlier, there are a few reasons why your dog may be eating deer poop.

If you can figure out the reason why your dog is doing it, you’ll be better equipped to stop them from doing it.

For example, if your dog is eating deer poop because they are bored, you can try to provide them with more stimulation throughout the day. This may include things like walks, toys, and games.

Adjust their diet

If your dog is eating deer poop because they are hungry or lacking nutrients, you may need to adjust their diet.

This means feeding them more food or switching to food that is of a higher quality and provides a balanced diet for your dog.

Leash your dog

If you can’t avoid taking your dog to places where deer are likely to be, another option is to keep them on a leash.

This will prevent them from being able to eat the deer poop without you knowing.

Distract your dog

If you see your dog sniffing around deer poop, or if they start to eat it, try to distract them with a toy or treat.

The goal is to get their attention off of the deer poop and onto something else.

“Leave it” training

If your dog is particularly attracted to deer poop, you may need to train them to “leave it.”

This is a command that tells your dog to leave something alone and can be very helpful in situations like this.

To do this, put a treat in your hand and tell your dog to “leave it.”

If they try to take the treat, close your fist and repeat the command.

Eventually, they will learn that they will only get the treat if they listen to the command.

Once your dog reliably listens to “leave it” at home, you can start using it outside and with the deer poop. Just make sure to reward your dog with a treat when they listen.

Visit the vet

If you’ve tried all of these things and your dog is still eating deer poop, it’s time to visit the vet.

They can rule out any medical conditions that may be the underlying cause of this behavior as well as verify that your dog is getting the proper nutrition.

Conclusion

Although it’s admittedly a little gross, the fact that dogs eat deer poop isn’t really all that surprising.

There are several reasons why they might do it, but fortunately, there are also ways to get them to stop.

If your dog is snacking on deer poop, try changing their diet or teaching them to leave it. If that doesn’t work, you may need to visit the vet for a little help.

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