My best friend started raising chickens recently. She set up small coops in her backyard and allowed her chickens to roam freely during the day. The problem is she also owns four dogs and noticed two of them like to eat chicken poop. When she’s about to clean up the chicken poop, she finds her two dogs just eating it. She freaked out knowing the health issues that can arise from her dog eating chicken poop.
Why do dogs eat chicken poop? There are many reasons why dogs eat chicken poop, including simply enjoying the taste of it, lacking necessary vitamins in their diet, having separation anxiety, feeling bored, or eating it as a coping mechanism. Regardless of the reason, it can be harmful when dogs eat chicken poop.
Before planning to raise both chickens and dogs, you’ll want to keep reading to learn the challenges and risks of having both and the negative health consequences your dogs will have from eating chicken poop.
Some dogs will eat just about anything – from other dog’s poop to chicken poop. In this guide, we will discuss why dogs eat chicken poop and is chicken poop bad for dogs.
Why do dogs eat chicken poop?
If you’re wondering, “why is my dog eating chicken poop?” there are many reasons why our dogs do this. The main reason being that your furry friend simply enjoys the taste of the chicken poop.
The second reason is that your canine friend may lack B vitamins in their diet and are trying to eat chicken poop to try to receive that B vitamin intake. It’s similar to how dogs like to eat grass because they may be missing necessary nutrients, vitamins, or minerals.
The third reason your dog is eating chicken poop is that he may be experiencing separation anxiety or other types of anxiety. As a way of coping with separation anxiety or other types of anxiety, he may eat chicken poop. So essentially, it could be their coping mechanism.
If your four-legged friend is bored or trying to get your attention, he may eat chicken poop knowing that you’ll come to him and tell him not to do that.
For many puppies, they may be eating chicken poop because they don’t know any better and are just exploring the world around them. They are probably curious when they see chicken poop and they may eat it to find out what it is.
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Why does my dog eat chicken poop?
As we can see, our dog eats chicken poop for various reasons. Let’s find out what can happen if they eat chicken poop.
Is chicken poop bad for dogs?
Yes, chicken poop is bad for dogs. What happens if a dog eats chicken poop? If a dog eats chicken poop, it can harm his or her health. So is chicken poop toxic to dogs? Not exactly. It’s not chicken poop that is toxic to dogs, but it can contain other elements that can harm your dog’s health.
For instance, dogs can get sick from being around chicken poop. There can be germs in the poop and when these germs go airborne, your precious pooch may inhale them.
Luckily, the risk is pretty low to moderate. You’ll want to make sure your chickens or hens are healthy and not carrying any parasites or diseases. If your chickens are sick or are carrying parasites, these parasites can transfer from one animal to another through animal feces. The same with diseases as well.
So, is it bad for dogs to eat chicken poop? Yes, it is bad for dogs to eat chicken poop and this behavior should be discouraged. Let’s explore 4 reasons why dogs should avoid eating chicken poop.
Dog eating chicken poop: 4 possible health risks
1. Dogs can get parvovirus from eating chicken poop
Parvovirus is actually a highly contagious disease. Dogs can get parvovirus when they eat the poop of a parvo-contaminated dog. Luckily, there is very little chance of your pooch getting parvovirus from eating chicken poop.
According to a research paper written in 2013, parvovirus can transfer through chicken poop since chicken can also get parvovirus (see source). As we can see, chickens that are sick and have parvovirus are likely to have poop that contains this disease.
When dogs are curious and they eat chicken poop, they can contract parvo as well. So if you know your chicken is sick, make sure that your dog stays away from the chicken coop or backyard where the chickens are at.
There’s no guarantee that there is a parasite or infectious virus in the chicken poop so try to keep your dogs away from it as best as you can.
2. Dogs can get salmonella from eating chicken poop
The biggest health threat your dog may have from eating chicken poop is getting salmonella. Can dogs get salmonella from eating chicken poop? If your chicken has salmonella, there’s a high chance this bacteria can get passed onto your dog when he or she eats the chicken poop.
Chicken with salmonella will have salmonella bacteria in their poop. When dogs eat chicken poop, they can have salmonella as well.
3. Dogs can get worms from eating chicken poop
Chicken poop may contain worms like tapeworms, roundworms, or hookworms. When dogs eat chicken poop, they can also get these worms. These worms can be transferred from one animal to another animal through poop that has been infected.
Worms can get on the chicken poop in one of two ways. First, the chicken can be a host for the worm. The chicken can have worms in the body. When the chicken poops, the feces can contain worms or larvae inside it.
The second way is if there are worms nearby that crawl onto the chicken poop. Keep in mind that the chicken poop is warm and moist which is what the worms need to grow.
When dogs eat the chicken poop that contains worms’ eggs, they then become the host for the worms or other parasites.
4. Dogs can get giardia from eating chicken poop
Lastly, dogs can get giardia from eating chicken poop. The CDC.gov website states that giardia is spread by:
“Anything that touches poop from infected humans or animals can be contaminated with Giardia germs. People and animals become infected when they swallow Giardia germs.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also states that dogs can contract giardia when they are in contact with the infected poop, from playing or rolling in soil that has been contaminated, or drinking contaminated water filled with parasites.
As we can see, this environment is similar to that of a chicken coop. This is why we highly recommend that you keep your pooch away from the chicken coop.
Dogs that have giardia from eating chicken poop may also have giardia infected poop. Unfortunately, the giardia parasite is so small that you won’t be able to see it in your dog’s poop, unlike other parasites that you can see in the dog’s poop.
Can a dog get sick from eating chicken poop?
As we can see, yes, a dog can get sick from eating chicken poop. Whether it’s parvo, salmonella, giardia, or worms, we highly recommend that you consult with your vet if your pooch ate chicken poop. This is especially important if your chicken is sick.
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What if my dog eats chicken poop?
If your dog eats chicken poop, don’t freak out or panic right away. While it may be disgusting for your pooch to eat it, it’s fair to say that two or three pellets of poop will not harm your pooch if your chicken is healthy and does not have any parasites or disease.
However, if your chickens are sick and have parasites or other diseases, then it’s best to bring your pooch to the vet immediately if he or she ate some chicken poop. Time is of the essence because there’s a higher chance of contracting the disease or parasite and falling ill from eating chicken poop.
If the chicken poop contains salmonella, look out for signs and symptoms such as:
- Bloody diarrhea.
- Loss of appetite can cause weight loss.
- Abdominal pain-causing dogs to hunch over.
- Swollen stomach.
- Muscle weakness.
How to stop dog from eating chicken poop?
There are several methods to stop your dog from eating chicken poop. Here are three helpful tips to stop dog from eating chicken poop.
1. Sprinkle chili sauce or cayenne pepper on chicken poop
By sprinkling chili sauce or cayenne pepper onto the chicken poop, it may discourage your pooch from eating the chicken poop. Chili or hot flavor leaves a burning sensation on the dog’s tongue and this will help dogs learn that eating chicken poop is bad. This may also stop their habit of eating chicken poop.
2. Keep the coop clean and secure
If you do have chickens, try to secure the chicken coop so that your canine friends do not have access to it. My friend creates a separate space in the yard for the chicken coop and uses an electronic dog fence to keep her dogs from escaping into the chicken coop.
Keep an eye on your dog and try obedience training as well to prevent your dog from accessing the chicken coop and eating their poop.
3. Add fruits like pineapple to your chicken’s diet
Lastly, while pineapple in moderation is good for dogs, dogs generally do not like the taste of it because it is sour and tangy. If you add pineapple to your chicken’s diet, what goes in comes out so your chicken’s poop may contain pineapple.
When dogs go for chicken poop, they won’t be interested because they know the smell of pineapples. You’ll need to do this for a week or two because it will take time for your dogs to learn that eating chicken poop is bad.
Chicken poop can be harmful to dogs so if you can, it’s best to try to keep the chicken coop clean and secure. Luckily, the risk is pretty low to moderate. Since dogs will eat anything and everything (even nasty things), it’s our job as dog owners to prevent them from doing so.
Knowing what can happen and the potential health hazard is the first step. You can also reach out to your dog’s vet and ask for their advice or suggestions.
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I’m a pet lover who has years of pet sitting and grooming experience. I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with all pet owners so they can also keep their canine companions healthy, happy, and clean!