Why Do Dogs Eat Deer Poop?

In areas where deer have a high population, you have probably observed your dog eating deer poop whenever you take him for a walk. It is unpleasant to speak about, but it is a common problem in dogs. In addition to eating their own feces, dogs also enjoy eating the feces of other animals, such as deer, rabbits, cats, and others.   

When dogs come across deer poo on a walk or in a garden, they will usually take a bite out of it. Several dogs I know have done the same thing. Is it harmful? What should you do?

These behaviors are known as coprophagia, and they’re common in puppies, but it can happen at any stage in the dog’s life.  Most often, dogs don’t get sick from eating deer poop (or other animals’ poop), but sometimes it spreads infectious diseases and causes other health problems.

Why Do Dogs Eat Deer Poop?

The Reason Behind Dogs Eating Deer Poop

Well, there are many theories surrounding why dogs engage in coprophagia, but they can be broadly divided into two types: medical and behavioral.

Medical Issues  

Many different situations can lead to your dog eating deer poop, but most of the time there is one thing at root: malnutrition. Basically, your dog may be eating deer poop because he is not getting all the nutrients he needs from his diet since he isn’t getting enough of those nutrients or ingredients in it. There may be several factors contributing to the problem.

  1. Unbalanced diet: You might be feeding your dog the wrong foods, and this will translate into an unbalanced diet for your dog. In addition, some of the ingredients in your pup’s food may also pose digestive problems to him. Additionally, it is quite possible that he may be hungry simply because the nutrients he needs are not being absorbed by his system. When combined, these factors can make him want to eat deer poop in the first place.
  2. Insufficient food: It is possible that you do not be giving your dog enough food, based on his weight, size, and activity level. Then when he becomes hungry, he may have to eat deer poop when he is forced to eat it.  
  3. Absence of Digestive Enzymes: The feces of herbivores like deer have been shown to be good sources of digestive enzymes. In the case where your dog’s body lacks the necessary digestive enzymes to digest and absorb other essential nutrients, he will have to consume some of the deer feces that have been eaten as a supplement to them. The reason you find most dogs eating fresh deer poop (less than two days old) could be explained by the fact that fresh deer poop is not only a source of digestive enzymes and microbes, but may also be a source of beneficial bacteria for the regeneration of the dog’s gut environment.
  4. Intestinal parasites: Someone sharing their nutrients with your dog’s digestive tract could be causing digestive parasites to lurk in the digestive tract of your dog. As a result, your dog may not receive the proper amount of nutrients that he needs, which could result in him becoming more hungry, and eventually eating deer stool.  
  5. Other Diseases: Diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome, thyroid malfunction, pancreatitis, as well as intestinal infections and pancreatitis can also cause your dog to crave deer poop because they are diseases that increase appetite in dogs.

Behavioral Issues  

In addition to the medical factors outlined above, it is possible that your dog eats deer poop due to behavioral or external reasons, such as the following:

  1. Stress: When your dog is stressed, anxious, or not getting the attention he needs, he can sometimes engage in unorthodox behaviors to get your attention, such as coprophagia.
  2. Mistraining: If your puppy is taught cruel potty training methods, he may eat the poop he eats during potty training and avoid punishment by eating the feces he comes across on the floor. It is possible that your dog may learn that poop of any type is bad, and therefore when he encounters feces he may deliberately try to hide the evidence by eating them. This can happen if you punish it for inappropriate elimination, for example. When a dog does his business in the wrong location, some dog parents also resort to the old-fashioned technique of rubbing the dog’s nose on his feces, which is an older and traditional method. A dog may perceive this as contradictory instructions about how he should handle feces in the future.  
  3. Curious to know: Deer poop can also be consumed by your dog (especially puppies) as they are curious about it. It may seem weird to you, but puppies are curious, so they will explore everything with their mouths, including deer droppings, since everything is new to them.
  4. Adapted Behavior: The dog may also pick up the habit of coprophagia from another dog, thereby making it a habit. If you have older dogs who have such a habit, for instance, you may find that they influence the younger dogs in the household, too. If your dog sees you picking up their poos from their kennels, he or she may attempt to adopt your behavior as well. It is for this reason that some trainers say that you should not clean up your dog’s poop from the time he is looking at it.

How do I know if my dog has Coprophagia?

Unless your dog develops a habit of consuming deer or other types of poop on a regular basis, it can pretty safely be assumed that they have at least a mild case of interspecific coprophagia. Although this is a pretty gross, disgusting experience for humans, it is a fairly normal one for dogs.

Symptoms of Coprophagia

Regardless of how basic it sounds, if you have noticed your dog eating feces more than once, whether it is from a deer or any other animal, then he or she probably has a case of coprophagia. As a result of this, the most common result is that the patients have no symptoms at all after a meal (which is the most common) or they may have one or more of the following symptoms after eating:

  • Diarrhea
  • Infection
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Stomach ache
  • Vomiting

Causes of Coprophagia

There are many different theories as to why some dogs insist on eating their own feces, one of which is that they are deficient in nutrition. A majority of veterinarians feel, however, that this is not always the reason for eczema. Among these factors are:

  • Diabetes
  • Diseases like Cushing’s and thyroid problems
  • Malabsorption syndrome
  • Parasites
  • Drugs like steroids

Diagnosis of Coprophagia

In order to get your four-legged friend to quit eating the deer poop on the ground, see the vet before you stop taking them on their daily walks in the woods. Regardless of what type of medical condition your dog is suffering from, the vet should perform a variety of tests in order to rule out all possibilities. A veterinarian can then recommend the proper course of treatment for your dog if they find an underlying cause of such a need to eat feces. 

Is deer poop harmful to dogs?

The short answer is yes, it is possible for your dog to get ill if he eats deer poop. There may be parasites present in deer feces including parasites such as coccidia or giardia which might be harmful to your dog. You should also be aware that old deer feces may contain roundworms and whipworms, which can cause havoc in your Fido’s body. Further, it should be noted that deer poop may contain remnants of undigested food, which might cause gastrointestinal issues for dogs or harbor allergens that can cause allergic reactions. Hence, always be sure that your dog does not come in contact with deer poop, rabbit poop, horse poop, or any other type of feces.

Dogs eating deer poop – how to stop it

If you don’t avoid dog parks or areas with deer droppings, it’s best to figure out where the issue lies so your dog doesn’t eat it. In order to eliminate your dog’s fetish for deer poop, it is very important that you take him to a veterinarian. The event that the animal is suffering from an underlying medical condition, a veterinarian will be able to rule it out. In the event that your vet finds out that the problem is a medical one, he/she will recommend the best way to deal with the situation.

In addition to medical assistance, here are a few ways you can work with to make sure that your dog doesn’t indulge in the practice of eating poop:

  1. Provide your dog with a balanced diet regularly. In case of problems, change his food. To reduce his urge to find enzyme sources like deer feces, give him digestive enzymes and probiotic supplements instead.
  2. Maintain your dog’s attention by exercising him and spending more time with him.
  3. Provide him with stimulating toys to keep him entertained. A bored dog is more likely to develop strange behavior than one who gets plenty of mental stimulation and play.
  4. Deterring agents may also be sprinkled on deer droppings in the yard, although this is tedious and not recommended. In the future, your dog will be deterred from eating similar substances due to the unpleasant experience he will have when trying to eat deer feces.
  5. Use food additives or OTC coprophagia deterrents to prevent your dog from eating deer feces. Consult your vet before using, and be sure that they are non-toxic.   
  6. The easiest way to make sure your dog stops eating the poop is to teach him a “NO” or “Leave it” command, which can be used when you catch him in the act or when he attempts to eat it. Then, as with any dog training routine, as soon as he acknowledges or follows your command, praise him and reward him. As a result of this, it may help reinforce the importance of avoiding eating deer feces by reinforcing their benefits.


In spite of the fact that dogs commonly eat deer poop and other animals’ feces, it is best to discourage them from eating these things as it can make your puppy sick if they ingest them. We are glad to tell you that with the tips we have provided, we hope you are able to teach your dog to no longer eat deer droppings.

There are dogs that may show the aforementioned behavior for a short time or mildly in some cases, but in other cases the behavior may persist for a long period of time. Therefore, you should always consult with your vet if the coprophagia becomes overpowering and the suggestions we have highlighted don’t provide relief. He will give you advice on what can be done to solve the problem or will refer you to a professional who has experience in animal behavior.


Is it okay if my dog eats deer poop?

A great number of diseases, viruses, bacteria, and parasites can be spread through waste. This is why it is extremely important that you pick up your dog’s poop as soon as you can! Is it also true that dogs can get infected with diseases which are transmitted from deer to dogs by ingesting their poop?

Can dogs get bacteria from eating deer poop?

It is true that deer poop can carry Salmonella and E. coli bacteria, among others. The good news is that the majority of dogs do not become sick after ingesting these bacteria, so it is unlikely that your dog will become ill as a result. The possibility of not being able to eat deer poop if your dog is very young or if your dog has health problems makes it likely that your dog will be infected by Salmonella or E.coli.
As a result, you should keep a close eye on your dog and watch for symptoms of severe stomach upset. Even if your dog himself is not affected by Salmonella or E.coli, he may still be able to pass it onto other members of the household, particularly if some of them have compromised immune systems. As a dog owner, if you have a dog that eats poop, be sure to wash your hands after you handle or play with your dog. Also, don’t let your dog lick your face!

Is deer poop able to cause viruses in dogs?

In spite of the fact that there are many viruses that can be transmitted from deer to other animals, I was unable to find any that would pose a risk to dogs. Virulent diseases that are spread through a deer’s poop pose a risk to other ruminants as well, such as livestock.

Can dogs get Giardia from a deer’s poop?

There is a microscopic parasite known as Giardia that affects all mammal species, including dogs, deer, and people. A dog is likely to contract this disease by swallowing poop particles accidentally, either through contaminated water, by directly eating the poop, or through licking the paws after coming into contact with it in the environment. On the other hand, Giardia can affect different species of animals, and a type of Giardia that affects humans rarely affects dogs, and the opposite is also true.

Deer poop: Is it nutritious for dogs?

Irrespective of whether it’s driven by a deficiency or not, I believe that it’s possible for dogs to enjoy smelling and tasting deer poop. Deer, after all, have a digestive tract which is quite different from the digestive tract of a dog. A deer consumes the byproducts of this fermentation which is produced when grass is fermented by bacteria. A deer will miss some of the nutrients that dogs can access because they don’t have a proper stomach with their digestion system, thus encouraging your dog to eat the deer poop instead. Due to the by-products of fermentation, it is even possible that this poop is attractive to them because it smells attractive to them.

What is the best thing to do if my dog ate deer poop?

In general, it’s a good idea to avoid feeding your dog deer poop whenever possible. Even though there’s a small possibility that your dog will catch a disease if it eats deer poop, you should still be aware of the possibility. As well as passing disease from your dog to humans in the house, there’s also the possibility that they may transmit the disease to children or the elderly, if they live with them.
You should try to prevent your dog from eating any more poop that he has access to if he has consumed any deer poop. The first thing you need to do is to make sure your dog appears bright and healthy at all times. In dogs, deer poop consumption most commonly results in a slight upset stomach as a side effect. The vomiting and diarrhea will usually resolve within 48 hours after eating deer poop. You do not need to withhold food from your dog, but you should feed him little and often, and be ready to contact your veterinarian if your dog becomes lethargic, becomes dehydrated, or can not keep down his food.

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