There’s no denying that having a dog in your life adds a spark of joy and an extra dose of happiness.
From the moment you wake up to his wagging tail and excited barks, to those evening snuggles on the couch, he becomes not just a pet, but a loved companion who makes every day brighter and more fulfilling.
Being a dog owner also means dealing with his odd and sometimes gross behaviors. Maybe your dog rolls in something smelly during walks, or perhaps he has a fascination for your shoes, chewing them into unrecognizable shapes.
While these behaviors can be a bit off-putting, it’s necessary to understand whether they are just quirks of his canine nature or signs of a potential health issue.
So, what about dogs that love road apples? Why do dogs eat horse poop? The quick and easy answer is that dogs eat horse feces because they are acting on instincts as scavengers, to self-medicate (unlikely), they are hungry, think it tastes good (gross!), suffer from pica or have a nutritional deficiency.
Dogs Are Scavengers
One important thing to consider is that dogs are natural scavengers.
Their ancestors, wolves, had to make the most of any food they came across, which likely included consuming some less-than-appetizing things.
This instinct is still there in our domesticated dogs today, and it could explain why your pup may find horse poop appealing.
Self-Medication: A Possible But Doubtful Reason
Some people believe that dogs consume horse manure as a form of self-medication. The idea is that they are trying to eat something to make themselves vomit or otherwise medically treat themselves.
Some believe the poop might contain enzymes or other substances that could help ease certain symptoms in dogs.
However, this theory is not backed by substantial evidence, so it’s best not to jump to this conclusion.
Hunger is another reason dogs might believe horse poop is a viable snack.
If your dog is hungry, he might be willing to eat just about anything that appears to be food, even if it’s not his usual meal.
Make sure your pup is receiving the right amount of calories and balanced nutrition to keep hunger at bay.
It’s Tasty! (At Least To Your Dog)
Believe it or not, your dog might just find horse poop tasty!
It could contain undigested bits of food like corn that appeal to your dog’s taste buds.
While it’s not our cup of tea, it’s important to remember that dogs have their unique preferences.
Pica is a problem that could cause your dog to consume non-food objects, including horse poop.
The cause of this condition is not completely understood, but if you suspect that your dog might be experiencing this issue, it’s important to consult your veterinarian for advice and possible intervention.
The motivation behind your dog’s horse poop consumption might be rooted in a nutritional deficiency.
Your dog might be seeking additional nutrients or minerals if his diet is lacking in essential components.
Is It Okay For Dogs To Eat Horse Poop?
If your dog is eating horse poop, rest assured that he will probably be fine.
However, there are some risks involved when it comes to pooches indulging in feces. (I’ll go over those risks soon.)
And, let’s be honest, no one wants their beloved pooch munching on horse poop (or any poop, for that matter!).
So, with that in mind, even if your dog will probably be medically okay after eating horse poop, it’s not alright for him to do it!
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Eating Horse Poop?
You might be confused and even a little grossed out by your furry friend’s habit of eating horse poop.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Check out these tips on how to get your dog to stop munching on horse manure.
Instead of scolding or punishing your dog when he’s caught scarfing down horse manure, try using positive reinforcement to encourage better behavior.
Praise him and give treats when he chooses to leave the manure alone.
This way, your dog will gradually learn that avoiding horse poop leads to rewards and praise, making him more likely to leave it be in the future.
Ensure your dog understands basic commands like ‘no’ and ‘drop it’, as these can help prevent him from eating horse poop in the first place.
Regularly practice these commands so they’re fresh in your dog’s mind, and when he encounters poop, there’s a better chance he’ll listen when you give those commands.
Prevent Access To Horse Manure
One of the simplest ways to stop your dog from eating horse poop is to prevent his access to it.
You can do this by keeping him on a leash while walking near horse manure or not allowing him to roam freely in areas where you know he might find it.
Out of sight, out of mind!
Reevaluate Your Dog’s Diet
Make sure you’re providing your dog with a well-balanced diet, giving him enough calories, vitamins, and minerals.
As I mentioned before, sometimes, dogs nibble on horse manure because they lack key nutrients in their own diet.
If you’re concerned your dog isn’t getting all his dietary needs met, consult with your veterinarian for advice and recommendations on any changes you can make.
Is Horse Poop Toxic To Dogs?
Yes, it can be.
Horse poop might be home to some rather unsavory characters, like parasites, bacteria, or even deadly fungi.
But wait, there’s more!
Have you ever thought about the medications a horse might be taking? Unfortunately, those can be passed down through their manure as well (we’ll dive into that in a bit).
Can Dogs Get Worms From Eating Horse Poop?
It’s possible, but don’t panic just yet!
If your furry friend is on a preventative heartworm medication, there’s a good chance he’ll be just fine.
However, it’s always best to keep an eye on him and check in with your vet if you’re ever unsure.
Other Concerns: Medications In Horse Poop
Sometimes horses need a little help, and that’s where medications come in.
Unfortunately, these medications can pose a threat to our canine friends when they find their way into horse poop. For example:
- Ivermectin Toxicosis: It’d be bad luck for your pup to chow down on horse manure at just the wrong time, but the possibility exists. The smaller your dog is and the more Ivermectin-laden poop he consumes, the higher the risk of negative effects.
- Other Medications: Ivermectin isn’t the only culprit here. Keep in mind that many medications a horse is taking could potentially end up in their manure and cause problems for your dog.
Final Thoughts: Why Does My Dog Like To Eat Horse Manure?
By understanding the reasons behind your dog’s peculiar behavior, you can better monitor your pup and start addressing the motivation behind it.
Don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s poop-eating habits or if you need guidance on providing the appropriate diet for your furry friend.
Luckily, by following the training advice above, you can easily help your dog break his horse manure-eating habit.
Always remember that patience and consistency are key, so give it some time and stick to your efforts.
Soon enough, your dog will learn to avoid horse poop, and you can breathe a little easier on your walks together!
And remember, that while your dog’s affinity for horse poop might be a bit embarrassing, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers and keep an eye on his health.