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Can dogs eat poop for nutrition?

 
Travis Schultz
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Can dogs get nutrition from eating poop?

So my dog is obsessed with a few things, one of them is killing voles and other rodents, and one of them is (sadly) rolling in rotten animals she may find on her adventures, and one of them is eating poop, all sorts of poop. Horse poop, cow poop, chicken and peacock poop, deer poop, raccoon poop, human poop, and many other poo’s.

She is a very healthy, happy dog. I do not feed her “dog food”, she eats a pretty natural diet. She rarely gets an upset stomach but it does happen (occasional diarrhea), but it never persists.

So it seems to me her favorite poop to eat is horse poop, we have a horse and donkey and she accompanies me when I feed and water them. She gorges on horse poop while I take care of the equine, and for a long time I punished her for eating it, but she does not stop. I have found her many times alone in the horse pen (she can fit through the fence) eating poop.

So, I know you can feed chickens many kinds of poop, as well as pigs, so my question is, because dogs are omnivores like chickens and pigs, shouldn’t she be able to eat and digest the poop also?
Is she getting nutritional value from it?

And does anyone else allow their dogs to eat poop whenever they want?

I am thinking it could really cut down on food cost (she mostly eats scraps as it is), and since she rarely gets sick I just think it’s something she knows she needs.

So let’s hear some stories of other dogs eating poop.
 
Leora Laforge
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She sounds like a very normal dog to me. Coprophagy is the scientific word for eating poop. Dogs eat poop because of an instinct to clean up their home of poop from pups.

The biggest concern of a dog eating poop is that they can be exposed to parasites this way. Most horse and donkey parasites would pass right through a dog, so no worries there. She might even be removing those parasites from the pasture which would be helpful.

Rabbit's can share a parasite with dogs, Echinococcus multiocularis in rabbits this will cause cysts in the muscles. In a dog it can form cysts in the lungs. So rabbit poop you might want her to avoid.

Poop from other animals, especially wild animals can contain roundworms or tapeworms. If she ever gets a bad infestation of tapeworms her feces will look like they have grains of rice in them. An adults dogs stomach is too acidic for roundworms to build up so they won't unless she is ever nursing pups.

When it comes to eating poop, it is not worth your effort to try to stop her, but she is not getting any nutrition.

When it comes to getting food poisoning, dogs have a highly developed puking mechanism, so if something is bad for her she will usually just puke it up without any problem.

I used to have a dog that cleaned up some of the cat poop for me and then went to the edge of the property when he needed to go, it was quite convenient.
 
Tracy Kuykendall
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Not if they want to remain this man's best friend!
 
Travis Schultz
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I have heard Paul say a couple times in his podcast, that cow poop is an almost perfect pig food, and pigs are omnivores like dogs. So how can there be "no" nutrition in manure for a dog?
 
John Polk
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Cows, horses, mules, etc. have very inefficient digestive systems.
Nearly half of the nutrition that goes into the front half comes out the back end.

 
Niko Economides
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We have a dog that gets into our outhouse and eats poo. She loves it, she will stick her head down the hole and chow away! I think it's great but my wife insists we keep her out. This means more shoveling for me. Oh well she does help me clean the dishes.
 
Travis Schultz
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Niko Economides wrote:We have a dog that gets into our outhouse and eats poo. She loves it, she will stick her head down the hole and chow away! I think it's great but my wife insists we keep her out. This means more shoveling for me. Oh well she does help me clean the dishes.


Yeah my dog will do the same if she gets the chance, which that part really grosses me and the wife out. I don't normally let my dog lick me or especially my face, but it does happen and I don't want her harboring human pathogens in her mouth.
 
Mike Turner
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There are a lot of nutrients in poop, since the bacteria and protozoans living in the large intestines break down any food nutrients that make it past the small intestines and produce vitamins/proteins that come out in the poop. Rabbits normally eat their poop that has gone through once so it can make a second pass through their digestive system to extract more nutrients from it. In the rift valley lakes of Africa there are species of fish that subsist totally on the poop produced by other fish.
 
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