It’s a complaint that a lot of pet owners have – why do their dogs eat rabbit poop? One thing that you must know is that your dog isn’t responding to some unforeseen diet deficiency. In fact, dogs have eaten very strange things before, from any traps, cigarette butts, stones, and diapers.
Weirdly enough, this is just a habit that canines have! It is a habit that you have to get under control, as rabbits may pass on parasites in their poop that can pose a health risk to your dog. We’ll discuss some reasons why they do this down below.
This behavior is pretty common, but it rarely ends with your dog getting very ill. What it can lead to is making your dog feel bad and make you feel grossed out! Many dog owners simply remove traces of rabbit poo with a Pooper Scooper.
In most cases, dog owners rarely know that their beloved pets are up to this mischief! Your veterinarian might be able to help you out here by testing for evidence that your pet has ingested rabbit poop. They do this by running tests to check for a parasite called coccidia in the stools. Read ahead to know more about this and how you can prevent it.
Why Do Dogs Eat Rabbit Poop?
Rabbit poop that you may find lying around in the grass is just undigested grass. These are dark-colored, round droppings that have no odor and lots of fiber. Dogs think of it as a treat and find them tasty. In some cases, the dog may miss some nutrients in their diet and try to look for extra nourishment in the rabbit poop.
Rabbit poop has a lot of B vitamins, digestive enzymes. However, what vets don’t understand is what really motivates the dog to eat the poo. The causes behind this behavior might be any one of the following reasons:
- Natural curiosity: Just as humans rely on sensory perceptions to explore their surroundings, dogs also use their senses. They use smell and taste to understand what’s in front of them. This is why they may be interested in eating rabbit poop, to begin with. Usually, they taste it at first just to know what it is out of curiosity. Some dogs may leave it as a first-time experience while others carry on, no matter how gross it is.
- Diet deficiencies: Some dogs may lack some nutritional components in their diets, which triggers them to eat rabbit poop, among other strange items. This is a natural canine behavior where they think that they are obtaining the nutrients they require. If this is the case, use a Pooper Scooper to remove rabbit feces out of the way. Ask your vet for some diet recommendations for your dog next.
- Pica: Dogs have another odd behavior pattern called Pica. This is where they eat inedible items regardless of what they look, taste, and smell like. Unfortunately, if your dog does eat a lot of inedible items apart from rabbit poo, you may have to take him to a vet. Frequent digestion means that your dog could have some compulsive disorders or medical problems.
What Should You Do to Stop Your Dog Eating Rabbit Poop?
You could always use a pooper scooper to pick up what rabbits leave behind. Of course, it’s not the only solution you have for this. Veterinarians suggest some strategies for you mentioned below.
- Quick clean-up before walking your dog: You can start with this simple step of using a Pooper Scooper to clear the yard of droppings left behind by pet or wild rabbits. It is quick, effective, and works when the dog has no other issues. Also, keep the dogs living areas clear of other pet poop by cleaning it daily and keeping the cat litter box out of reach.
- Vitamin supplement: If your dog continues to display this behavior, then he could be missing something from his diet. A multivitamin supplement for dogs might fix this. Ask your vet about the best supplement and about vitamin b deficiency after explaining your dog’s new behavior.
- Enzyme supplement: Dogs today have more carbohydrates in their diets and less meat-based fats and proteins. If this is the case with your pet, get a good enzyme supplement recommendation from your vet.
- Aversion products: There are many deterrent products that you can add to the poop to prevent your dog from eating it. These products produce a taste or smell that your dog will hate and therefore avoid. If you have pet rabbits, then change their diet so that the poop they produce won’t appeal to your pet dogs. Rabbits love things like garlic, parsley, chamomile, pepper-plant, while dogs really hate them!!
- Supervised walks: Keep an eye on your dog when you take him for a walk outdoors. Clean up after him and make sure he doesn’t eat poop or anything else off the sidewalk or grass.
- Training: If your dog doesn’t have any diet or medical issues, then begin training on command like ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’ etc. You can use these commands to teach your dog to drop items as soon as he picks them up. Teach your dog how to obey commands by giving him food treats when he stops a bad habit. This way, he will run to you for a treat instead of reaching out for something on the ground.
- Give your dog some attention: Certain dogs might eat poop when they want to get some attention from you. If you can’t identify any other reason why they might be interested in eating rabbit poop, then give your dog the attention he’s missing. You could take him for daily walks, play a gem with him or groom him every now and then.
- Isolation: If your dog is kept alone in kennels or basements for lots of time, they are more likely to eat poop off the floor. Let your dog stay in close interaction with other people, family members or take them for walks in community parks where they can interact with other dogs, kids, and people.
Is Eating Rabbit Poop Harmful to Dogs?
Dogs don’t get tapeworm from eating rabbit poop. They will get tapeworms from eating infected fleas. Rabbits do carry fleas, and if there are fleas in the dogs living area, then it is likely that your dog will get a tapeworm infestation.
If you leave your dog outside unsupervised, they could eat a rabbit filled with fleas and get some infection that way. Other parasites like giardia, cryptosporidia, coccidia are species-specific and won’t affect dogs or cats.
The coccidia species present in rabbits are very different from the one’s found in dogs. Dogs get the coccidia parasite by consuming soil, water, or foods filled with the coccidia parasite and not rabbit poop.
Some people don’t get too worried when their dogs eat poop pellets occasionally, thinking that it is part of the dog’s behavior – and they’re right. However, veterinarians say that one should worry when the dog gets an upset stomach soon after ingesting rabbit poop. Too many poop pellets could even cause stomach discomfort in dogs that aren’t used to it.
If you notice signs of stomach pain, nausea, and illness like vomiting, loss of appetite, drooling, and lethargy, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Tips to Control Dogs from Eating Rabbit Poop
There are tips you can use to control your dog from eating rabbit poop regularly, even if it is undigested hay and filled with nutrients.
- To begin with, you can change your dog’s diet to include more living foods. This could be the case if your dog has been eating dry, processed foods only and not any natural foods. As a result, they intentionally look for other sources of fiber, nutrients, and digestive enzymes to make up for what they lack.
- Usually, training your dog using commands might work, but some dogs just won’t listen and can eat up those tiny pellets quickly! The best option here is to erect some kind of fence with a gate that prevents the dog from going into the yard unsupervised. This gives you enough time to clear off rabbit poop pellets with Pooper Scooper.
- Finally, rabbit droppings may not be harmful to your dog if they do this occasionally. As a concerned dog owner, what you should look for is signs of trouble right after doing so. Any changes in the way they eat, poop or behave is what you should worry about. Seek immediate medical attention for them when you notice any nausea or vomiting or refusal to eat foods or treats they usually love.
If they appear healthy, then you can begin training them off this really gross habit! At the same time, let them play around with other dogs in parks to lower any loneliness and emotional problems that they might be displaying.