Why Do Dogs Eat Cow Poop?

This post may contain affiliate links. It doesn't cost you anything extra and it keeps our lights on, our families fed, and our dogs spoiled. For all the juicy fine print, see our affiliate disclosure

Many pet owners dread their dog eating a pile of cow poop. As gross as it is, though, it’s not something that should necessarily cause alarm.

While you may never know the real reason your dog ate cow poop in the first place, some clues can help you understand what drove them to do so.

Cow pooping in a field

Why Dogs Eat Cow Poop

There are several reasons dogs eat cow poop, some of which you may not have thought about. Here are a few of the most common reasons:

Boredom 

Dogs often eat cow poop when they’re bored or have nothing else to do.

If your pet is left alone for long periods, they may resort to eating poop to entertain themselves.

Puppies are especially prone to this behavior, as they’re still learning about the world around them and may not have many other toys or activities to keep them occupied.

Related: Why Do Dogs Eat Chicken Poop? Is it Dangerous for Them?

Hunger 

Dogs may also eat cow poop when they’re hungry[1].

If your pet isn’t getting enough food, they may start to scavenge wherever they can find it – including the poop of cows and other animals.

While this isn’t a healthy diet for dogs, it can help them through tough times when food is scarce.

Curiosity 

Dogs are naturally curious animals, and they may eat cow poop simply to know how it tastes.

Is Your Dog Driving You Nuts During the Day?

Indoor Activities for Dogs

Get Our List of 11 Awesome Indoor Activities to Keep Your Dog Busy and Out of Trouble!

Eager to explore every new thing that comes their way, puppies will often take a bite of anything that looks remotely interesting.

Attracted to The Scent 

Some dogs are attracted to the scent of cow poop.

Dogs have a powerful sense of smell, and they may be drawn to the manure because of the strong scent.

If your pooch is constantly sniffing around in the yard, they may be attracted to the smell of cow poop and are trying to eat it.

Health Problems 

Dogs may also eat cow poop as a way to deal with health problems like parasites or worms.

If your dog is experiencing digestive issues, they may eat cow poop to get relief. Some dogs develop a taste for poop as a way to deal with anxiety or stress.

If your pooch is exhibiting this type of behavior, get them help from a professional trainer or behaviorist.

While eating cow poop is not the healthiest thing for your dog, it does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with them.

If your pooch is eating poop for one of the reasons listed above, there’s not much you can do except try to correct the underlying problem.

If, however, you believe that your pet is eating poop for no reason whatsoever, it may be a sign that they’re not getting the proper nutrition.

Consult with your veterinarian to rule out any health problems and ensure that your dog is getting the correct type of food.

Is it Ok for Dogs to Eat Cow Feces?

Is it Ok for Dogs to Eat Cow Feces?

Yes and no. Although it might seem gross to you, eating feces is pretty normal behavior for dogs.

Coprophagia is the term that refers to the consumption of feces by mammals, including humans.

There are two types of coprophagia: autocoprophagia[2] (self-consumption) and allocoprophagia (the consumption of another animal’s feces).

Eating their own waste is not uncommon in puppies, especially those that are teething.

It also happens in adult dogs, although it should be discouraged as soon as possible. You don’t want your pet to get into the habit.

Can Dogs Get Sick From Eating Cow Poop?

Yes, dogs can get sick from eating cow poop. Several parasites and diseases are transmitted from feces, and some can be deadly.

Giardia[3], for example, is a parasite that can cause serious health problems in dogs.

If your pet eats cow poop, it may contract this or other parasites, leading to serious illness.

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Cow Poop

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Cow Poop

If your dog has eaten cow poop, you can do a few things to help them. First, take them to the vet to get them checked out.

There may be something wrong with the digestive system that is causing them to eat poop, and the vet can help diagnose and treat the problem.

You can also try to correct the underlying problem causing your dog to eat poop.

If they are hungry, feed them a high-quality diet suited for their age and breed.

If they are bored, provide them with plenty of mentally and physically stimulating activities.

If they are stressed, look into behavioral therapy or training to help them relax.

Eating cow poop is not healthy behavior, but it is not necessarily a sign of a serious problem. If your dog is eating poop for one of the reasons listed above, you can take steps to correct the behavior. 

How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Eating Cow Poop

If your dog is eating cow poop, you can do a few things to stop the behavior. 

  • Train your dog using positive reinforcement methods. For example, reward them when they poop in the right place and discourage them from eating feces by using a loud noise or water spray.
  • Increase the amount of exercise your dog gets. A tired dog is less likely to eat poop.
  • Feed your dog a high-quality diet suited for their age and breed.
  • Toys and chews can help keep your dog occupied and reduce the likelihood of them eating poop.

Final Thoughts

Dogs eat cow poop because they are attracted to the scent and taste and are often bored or stressed[4].

There are a few things you can do to try and stop the behavior, but the best solution is to correct the underlying problem. 

If your dog is healthy and getting the proper nutrition, there is no need to worry.

Consult with your veterinarian to rule out any health problems and ensure that your dog is getting the right food.

FAQs

Is Cow Poop Dangerous for Dogs?

Yes, several parasites and diseases can be transmitted from feces, and some of them can be deadly. If your dog eats cow poop, it may contract a parasite or disease which can lead to serious illness.

Resources

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/index.html#:~:text=Giardia%20is%20a%20tiny%20parasite,if%20you%20swallow%20Giardia%20germs.
  2. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dog-behavior-problems-coprophagia
  3. https://www.healthextension.com/blogs/blog/why-does-my-dog-eat-poop-and-how-to-stop-it#:~:text=Dogs%20with%20malnutrition%20may%20eat,such%20as%20irritable%20bowel%20syndrome.
  4. https://www.petful.com/pet-health/why-is-my-dog-eating-poop/

Still Have Questions?
Ask a Vet!

Eliminate Bad Dog Breath Without Brushing

Fresh Breathies