Whether you live on a farm or you have backyard chickens, you may have noticed your dog eating chicken poop on the ground. Unfortunately, some dogs seem to eat just about anything, of which chicken feces is one of the more unpleasant choices!
In this article, we’ll review why your dog is eating chicken poop, what illnesses they may contract, and how to prevent this from happening in the future.
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Why Is My Dog Eating Chicken Poop?
Your dog might be eating chicken poop because they are curious. Puppies, in particular, are curious creatures and like to explore. Sometimes puppies explore by putting things in their mouths!
Similarly, your dog might be bored, and eating chicken poop seems like a reasonable way to spend their time.
If you yell at your dog after they’ve eaten chicken poop, they may have begun to associate doing so with attention. Dogs don’t always differentiate between positive and negative–they just want you to pay attention to them.
It’s also possible that your dog is seeking out chicken poop to eat because they are missing vitamins, minerals, or protein in their diet. And as strange as it might sound, your dog might even enjoy the taste of it.
Will Eating Chicken Poop Make My Dog Sick?
While eating chicken poop can make your dog sick, it won’t always do so. If your chickens are healthy, it is unlikely that their poop will pass on any diseases to your dog. However, your dog can become ill after eating chicken poop, especially if your chickens are sick.
Here are some of the most common illnesses your dog may experience after eating chicken poop.
Giardia is a parasite that occurs in chicken poop. Signs of giardia in your dog include bloating and gas, vomiting, and diarrhea. Your dog’s stool may contain mucus, have a green color, or contain blood.
Your dog can contract the virus if they ingest chicken poop from infected chickens. Even sniffing or licking the poop can make your dog sick. Parvovirus is highly contagious and can be severe for dogs, especially puppies.
Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. It can also affect the heart in some cases.
Salmonella is a bacterial disease that can be passed to your dog if it eats infected chicken poop. Signs that your dog has salmonella include lethargy, weakness, blood in the stool, vomiting, diarrhea, and no appetite. Salmonella can also be transmitted from dogs to humans.
Your dog can contract roundworms, tapeworms, and other worms after eating chicken poop. If the chicken has worms, they can pass them or the larvae through their poop. Worms that are nearby on the ground may also crawl into the poop, and dogs can get ill that way as well.
Symptoms of worms include a change in the appearance of the dog’s coat, bright red or dark purple blood in the stool, diarrhea, and vomiting.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Eating Chicken Poop?
Eating chicken poop is not ideal, but it’s also potentially harmful to your dog. Therefore, it’s best to take steps to prevent this behavior from happening.
Keep Dogs and Chickens Separate
The best way to prevent your dog from eating chicken poop is to limit their access to the area where chickens spend time. You can use a physical barrier or an electric fence to separate areas in the yard.
Clean Chicken Coop Regularly
If you can’t keep your dog away from the chicken coop, make sure to clean the area regularly. In addition to cleaning up their poop, you should clean their feeders and water containers daily to prevent worms.
Train Your Dog and Offer Stimulation
Teach your dog from a young age basic commands like “Leave it,” so that they stop eating off the ground when you tell them. Also, be sure to give your dog plenty of stimulation, exercise, and attention so that they are not eating chicken poop because they are bored.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested chicken poop and is showing signs of illness, take them to the vet. The earlier your dog receives treatment, the better their chances of recovery.
Perhaps the ideal chicken for dogs is actually… chicken feet. Seriously! See our guide here.