Why Does My Dog Eat Rabbit Poop?

A German Shepherd puppy looking at a rabbit.

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Does your dog love to eat rabbit poop?

If so, you’re not alone. Many dogs seem to enjoy the taste of this peculiar snack. But should you be worried about it?

What are the risks involved in letting your dog eat rabbit poop? And most importantly, is there anything you can do to stop your dog from eating it?

Read on to find out.

How Common is it for Dogs to Eat Rabbit Poop?

Eating poop of any kind is actually quite common among dogs. In fact, it’s so common that there’s a name for it: coprophagia.

Coprophagia is defined as the consumption of feces – and that includes not just rabbit poop, but the feces of any animal.

While it might sound disgusting to us, many dogs seem to enjoy the taste of feces. In fact, some even prefer it to their regular dog food!

Both of my dogs, Luna and Morgan, have been known to have a snack of rabbit poop on occasion. Morgan enjoys it so much that she spends most of her outdoor time looking for it.

Luna at least only eats it if she notices it, though Luna will eat dog poop. She ate dog poop so consistently that I even wrote a post on how to get your dog to stop eating poop, about the things we tried and what worked best.

Identifying Rabbit Droppings

Rabbit Poop on the ground.

Before we discuss the reasons why your dog eats rabbit poop and the risks of letting them, it’s important to know how to identify it.

Rabbit droppings are small, round, and dry and according to Discover Wildlife are typically black, brown, or green in color. They’re about the size of a pea and are typically left in clusters.

Rabbit droppings may also contain undigested seeds, grass, or other plant matter.

Why Do Dogs Eat Rabbit Poop?

There are a number of reasons why dogs may be drawn to eating rabbit poop.

A German Shepherd sniffing the grass.

They Enjoy the Taste or Smell

This is probably the most likely reason why your dog eats rabbit poop. Just like some humans enjoy the taste of certain foods that others find disgusting, some dogs enjoy the taste of feces.

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

They’re Bored or Hungry

Another possibility is that your dog is simply bored or hungry. If he’s not getting enough attention or if his diet isn’t fulfilling, he may turn to eating rabbit poop as a way to pass the time or satisfy his hunger.

This is more likely to be the case if your dog only eats rabbit poop on occasion, rather than making a habit of it.

They’re Not Getting Proper Nutrition

If your dog is eating rabbit poop on a regular basis, it could be a sign that he’s not getting proper nutrition.

Just like humans, dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy. If your dog isn’t getting the nutrients he needs from his food, he may turn to other sources, like rabbit droppings.

They Might Be Sick

If your dog suddenly starts eating rabbit poop when he’s never done it before, it could be a sign that he’s sick.

Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, can cause dogs to change their eating habits. If your dog starts eating rabbit poop out of the blue, it’s best to take him to the vet to rule out any underlying health problems.

Pica

Pica is a disorder that causes people or animals to compulsively eat non-food items. In some cases, pica can cause people or animals to eat feces.

While pica is relatively rare, it’s possible that your dog may be eating rabbit poop because he has pica. If your dog is displaying other strange behaviors or you’re concerned about his health, it’s best to take him to the vet to rule out pica or any other underlying disorders.

They’re Curious

Another possibility is that your dog is simply curious about rabbit poop. Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and they often like to investigate anything new they come across.

If your dog comes across a pile of rabbit droppings, he may be tempted to take a closer look – and maybe even take a taste!

Just Because They Can

Finally, it’s also possible that your dog is eating rabbit poop simply because he can. Dogs are opportunists, and they’ll take advantage of anything they think they can get away with.

If your dog knows he’s not supposed to be eating rabbit poop but does it anyway, he may be doing it simply because he knows he can get away with it.

Is Rabbit Poop Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Now that you know some of the reasons why your dog may be eating rabbit poop, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe.

The short answer is yes, it is safe for dogs to eat rabbit poop. While it’s not exactly a gourmet treat, rabbit droppings are not poisonous or harmful to dogs.

However, that doesn’t mean you should encourage your dog to eat rabbit poop. Eating feces of any kind can lead to health problems for dogs, and it’s best to discourage your pup from eating anything that’s not food.

Can Dogs Get Sick From Eating Rabbit Poop?

While it is unlikely, dogs can get sick from eating rabbit poop.

Rabbit droppings can contain the bacteria Leptospira which causes the disease Leptospirosis. Though, according to PetMD, Leptospirosis is mainly spread through contact with urine.

That means the droppings themselves are less likely to spread the disease, but if the rabbit urinates where they poop, your dog could come into contact with the urine while eating the poop.

Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics, but untreated it can lead to kidney or liver damage. There is also an annual vaccination that can protect your dog from this disease. Check with your vet to verify your dog is up to date on their shots.

Are There Parasites in Rabbit Poop?

There are also parasites in rabbit poop. These parasites can infect your dog, though it is unlikely they will get sick. Most parasites in rabbit poop are species-specific and tend to not make other animals ill.

If your dog has any symptoms of a parasitic infection, it’s best to take them to the vet. The vet can test a sample of your dog’s poop to verify whether they have a parasite or not and which one it is. This allows them to treat your dog for the specific parasite they have.

Coccidia

The most common parasite found in rabbit droppings is the coccidia parasite. The main symptom of this type of parasite in dogs is diarrhea.

A few years ago Morgan had a mysterious bout of diarrhea and while the vet never did figure out the cause, they did find that Morgan had this parasite when they were checking for other parasites.

The vet was very clear that she could only have gotten this parasite from eating rabbit poop. But the vet also made it sound like it was unlikely to be what was causing Morgan’s diarrhea.

We treated her for it just in case, but Morgan only got better after they put her on an antidiarrheal medication and prescription food.

I’m not a vet and this is not to be seen as medical advice for your dog. If your dog has diarrhea please contact your vet.

Giardia

Another common parasite found in rabbit droppings is the Giardia parasite. This parasite can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss in dogs.

If your dog has any of these symptoms, it’s best to take him to the vet. The vet can test a sample of your dog’s poop to verify whether they have this parasite or not.

This allows them to treat your dog for the specific parasite they have.

While giardia is treatable, it’s important to catch it early. If left untreated, giardia can lead to dehydration and weight loss.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Rabbit Poop?

If your dog just ate a small amount of rabbit poop, there’s no need to panic. Most likely, he’ll be fine and you won’t have to do anything.

Monitor Your Dog

If your dog ate a lot of rabbit poop, it’s best to monitor him for any signs of illness. Look for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, and lack of appetite.

Call the Vet

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it’s best to call the vet. They will probably have you bring your dog in along with a fresh sample of their poop.

Your vet will do a physical exam of your dog and check their poop for parasites. They may also do some blood work to check for Leptospirosis.

How Will The Vet Treat My Dog?

Your vet will treat your dog based on the results of the tests and exam that they did.

If your dog has bacteria you will probably be given an antibiotic for your dog. If it’s a parasite, the vet will give you medication for that.

If tests for bacteria and parasites all come back clear, your vet will treat your dog’s symptoms and probably have you come back for rechecks until your dog’s symptoms are cleared up.

That’s what our vet did with Morgan when she had diarrhea and the coccidia parasite. We had visits every week or two based on her symptoms. Once her symptoms cleared up and she was back on her normal food, the rechecks stopped.

Will My Dog Be Okay?

For the most part, yes. Unless your dog has a bacterial or parasitic infection, he will probably be just fine.

if he gets an infection, prompt vet treatment should clear it up without any long term effects.

As gross as it is, eating rabbit poop is not likely to harm your dog in the long run.

How To Get My Dog To Stop Eating Rabbit Poop?

There are a few ways to try to get your dog to stop eating rabbit poop, some are more effective than others.

Unfortunately, if your dog is like Morgan, nothing you do will be good enough. If Morgan finds rabbit poop, she will eat it, no matter what we do to try to stop her.

She even whines like she needs to pee super bad just to get outside to search for rabbit poop.

So if your dog is like Morgan, good luck! We’ve just accepted that she is a rabbit poop eater and make sure to keep up with her vaccinations and vet checks.

Keep Rabbits Out of the Yard

A cottontail rabbit sitting in the grass.

The number one way to prevent your dog from eating rabbit poop in your yard is by keeping the rabbits out of your yard. No rabbits, no rabbit poop.

Unfortunately, rabbits are hard to keep out of the yard. We put up a 6 ft ceder privacy fence shortly after getting Luna so she could run loose in the yard without fear of her running away. A secondary benefit, or so we thought, was that it would keep the rabbits out of our garden.

The rabbits showed us. They found the low spot in the back by the storm drain and came in there. We blocked that with bricks.

They then found that they could squeeze in through the little spot where the gate door meets the fence. They even chewed it to make it bigger.

If you can figure out a way to keep the rabbits out that is more successful than our attempts, it is the best way to keep your dog from eating rabbit poop.

Supervise Your Dog Outside

One of the best ways to stop your dog from eating rabbit poop is to supervise him when he’s outside.

This way, you can stop him as soon as he goes for the poop and redirect his attention to something else.

Teach Them to “Leave it”

If you can get your dog to respond to the “leave it” command, you may be able to stop them from eating rabbit poop.

Every time they start to go for the rabbit poop, say “leave it” in a firm voice and give them a treat. With enough practice, they should start to understand that “leave it” means to not eat the rabbit poop.

Make the Poop Less Appealing

There are a few things you can do to make the rabbit poop less appealing to your dog.

You can try spraying it with hot sauce or apple cider vinegar. Some people have had success with this, others not so much.

Improve Their Diet

A healthy diet can make a big difference in how much your dog is attracted to eating rabbit poop.

If your dog is eating a high-quality food, they should be getting all the nutrients they need and shouldn’t be as interested in eating other things, like rabbit poop.

You can also look at the amount and frequency of your dog’s meals. If you are only feeding them once a day, consider splitting it into two meals a day.

Also, check with your vet to make sure you are feeding your dog the right amount for their dietary needs. It’s possible that your dog isn’t getting enough food daily.

The vet has a handy formula for figuring out the proper amount of food based on your dog’s weight, age, activity level, and the kcals in the food you are giving your dog (this was a big factor in Luna’s poop eating).

This can help to reduce their overall food motivation and make them less likely to be interested in eating rabbit poop.

Distract Your Dog

If you see your dog headed for the rabbit poop, try to distract them with a toy or treat.

Get their attention and then praise them when they come to you. If your dog is distracted from the poop, they won’t eat it.

Visit Your Vet

If your dog is eating rabbit poop on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet to make sure there isn’t an underlying health issue.

Some medical conditions can cause dogs to eat things they normally wouldn’t, like rabbit poop.

Your vet can run some tests and determine if there is a health issue causing your dog to eat rabbit poop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about dogs eating rabbit poop.

Will my dog get sick if they eat rabbit poop?

Eating rabbit poop is generally considered safe for dogs. However, there is a small risk of contracting parasites or diseases.

If your dog eats rabbit poop on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet to make sure there isn’t an underlying health issue.

Is Eating Rabbit Poop Dangerous for Dogs?

There is a small risk that your dog could contract parasites or diseases if they eat rabbit poop. However, this is generally considered to be safe for dogs.

Is Rabbit Poop Bad for Dogs?

Rabbit poop is not considered to be bad for dogs. However, there is a small risk that your dog could contract parasites or diseases if they eat rabbit poop.

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Final Thoughts

So, if your dog has been caught red-pawed eating the droppings of a bunny, there’s no need to panic.

However, you should keep an eye out for any signs that he might be unwell and take him to the vet if necessary.

Other than that, just be grateful that he’s not into eating cat poop!

Pin image of why do dogs eat rabbit poop plus tips for getting them to stop with a german shepherd sniffing the grass.

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