“Why does my dog eat goose poop?” Believe it or not, but we’re dealing with the same problem with our Golden Retriever Sherlock. It turns out that dogs really have an affinity on eating goose poop. Since dogs are highly food-oriented beings, they think that goose droppings are edible because it has a resemblance to dog food or treats.
Why Does My Dog Eat Goose Poop?
The first time Sherlock ran into the lake, I thought he’d be chasing waterfowls. I was wrong. He’s there to get some goose droppings. According to Sherlock’s vet, dogs really find manure, particularly goose droppings, appealing.
I always take Sherlock for a walk around a nearby lake, and he seems to be chomping on something near the banks. I ran and saw that he’s snacking on some goose poop, which makes my wife, and I worry about his health. Although Sherlock doesn’t seem to show any adverse side effects, we called the vet to find out why he’s attracted to goose poop.
It’s something about the goose digestive system. These waterfowls have a very short digestive tract, and they tend to poop every two hours. With that, all the seeds, leaves, and stems they’ve consumed would have some undigested components. Such proteins will attract dogs, just like how some canines love eating fresh grass or cat poop.
Moreover, dogs will resort to poop if they don’t get ample nutrition or when they are stressed. In rare cases, your dog will eat goose poop to get your attention.
Also, dogs just love poop in general. This condition is called coprophagia, or the tendency of living things to consume feces. Aside from goose poop, your dog may also consume cow dung, cat litter, and their own excrement.
Remember that dogs have stronger olfactory nerves than humans. Although we may find goose poop repulsive and gross, dogs may find it intoxicating in a good way. Some dogs would even roll on goose poop like how a cat would roll on catnip.
Should I be worried about my dog eating goose poop?
Just like any case of coprophagia, eating goose poop among dogs isn’t healthy. Feces are waste matter so it shouldn’t be, in any way, consumed by your pet. As a dog owner, I was really worried when I discovered that Sherlock had been eating goose poop all this time. Again, according to the vet, such worry has some good basis.
The following are the potential infections that a dog may get from eating goose poop:
Goose poop is packed with parasites, bacteria, and viruses. One of the things the vet warned us about is giardia. This is an infection that can be acquired from a parasite living in goose poop. It’s not very common, though, but still a possibility in some areas. Giardia can also spread on bodies of water where infected birds soak.
Giardia will make your dog’s poop watery and loose with a greenish tinge. It could lead to weight loss and vomiting. If you noticed that your dog is exhibiting such symptoms after consuming goose poop, you must take it to the vet immediately.
- Avian coccidiosis
Dogs are not typical hosts of Eimeria, the parasite that causes Avian coccidiosis. However, they can easily contract the parasite by eating bird feces, specifically those of ducks and geese.
Most cases of Eimeria won’t really show symptoms. Most of the time, the parasite will pass through your dog’s digestive tract without any irritation. However, this doesn’t mean you should dismiss the poop-eating habit.
Some dogs that contracted the Eimeria parasite may experience diarrhea, emaciation, weight loss, poor appetite, and even death.
If your dog consumes goose poop, you must observe it within a week for any potential symptoms of the above-mentioned conditions.
How do I get my dog to stop eating goose poop?
If your dog doesn’t stop eating goose poop, you can do the following to prevent them from getting on the gross snack:
- Switch paths
One thing I did after discovering Sherlock’s poop-eating habits is changing our walking routes. Instead of bringing him to the lake, we just settle around the neighborhood and a nearby park.
As much as possible, keep your dog away from the geese. Also, you should keep a close eye on the ground so you can dodge goose poop even before your dog sees it.
- Keep the dog leashed
It’s best if you’ll leash your dog when taking it for outdoor trips. This will prevent the pooch from running into the lake or seeking goose poop around. I know that it’s a bit of a party pooper for your dog, but it’s much better than your doggo looking for actual poop. Besides, some public areas will require you to leash your dog, especially if birds and fowls are being propagated around.
- Vitamin supplementation
If the cause behind goose poop eating is a nutrient deficiency, supplementation will help a lot. A dog multivitamin prescribed by a veterinarian will augment your dog’s nutrient deficiencies.
Training will go a long way for dogs who love eating goose poop. Basic commands like “No!”, “Leave it!”, and “Come!” will distract your dog from eating goose poop.
Positive reinforcement will also help combat coprophagia. You can start training your dog at home by putting some treats on the floor to resemble goose poop. Walk your dog along the treats on the floor and say “No!” if it tries to eat the floor treats. If your dog follows, give them a tastier treat.
Repeat this training process multiple times until your dog no longer cares about the floor treats. The next time you walk your dog, you must bring some treats to discourage them from eating goose poop.
- Consider using a muzzle
If all else fails, you can put a muzzle on your dog’s snout so it wouldn’t eat goose poop. I always consider this as a last resort since my Sherlock is a gentle and sweet dog.
If you are to put a muzzle on your dog, make sure that the pooch can still keep its mouth ajar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What happens if dogs eat geese poop?
A: Your dog won’t usually experience any adverse effects if it just nibbled on a small goose dropping. However, if your dog makes it a habit, you must be worried about possible bacterial or parasite infection.
Q: Is geese poop toxic?
A: Any form of waste is toxic and shouldn’t be eaten. Still, some dogs are lucky not to have any irritation upon consuming goose poop. Still, you should discourage your dog from consuming this fowl waste.
Q: Why do dogs eat their own poop?
A: Coprophagia or poop eating is common among dogs. Canines do this when they are extremely stressed, nutritionally deprived, or suffering from a medical condition. Some dogs will also seek poop of other animals.
Q: Why does pineapple stop dogs from eating poop?
A: Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain. Such enzyme tastes bad for dogs. It’s a great poop eating deterrent among dogs naturally and safely. You can simply add some pineapple chunks on your dog’s meal so their poop won’t be appealing to eat.
Q: Can dogs die from eating goose poop?
A: Although canine deaths due to goose poop are rare, it can still happen if your pet contracts a severe infection. Most of these infections will manifest as intestinal irritation, which will dehydrate your dog. It will also lead to poor appetite and emaciation if not addressed immediately.
Q: Do geese carry diseases?
A: Yes, geese carry diseases like Avian coccidiosis, chlamydiosis, and listeria. Your dog can also contract salmonella and e-coli from eating dog poop.
Q: What is goose poop good for?
A: There are many uses to goose poop, but dog snack isn’t one of them. Goose poop can be used as fertilizer for plants since it’s rich in nutrients and minerals. It’s a natural fertilizer, but you should keep your dog away from your garden to prevent consumption.
Q: Can a goose hurt a dog?
A: Although your dog may chase away a goose, the fowl will always put up a fight. Canadian geese, to be specific, will not back down once they realize that your dog isn’t a threat. They will attack physically and even put your dog at risk of drowning.
Q: What does it mean when a dog eats grass?
A: Dogs eat grass when they have nutrient deficiencies or when they have an upset stomach. Most dogs will vomit the chewed grass as a way to appease their aching tummies. Grazing shouldn’t be a concern except if your lawn has pesticides.
Q: What does a poop taste like?
A: For dogs, poop may taste really appealing. This is the reason why your pooch may consume goose poop, or any poop for that matter. Unlike humans, dogs have a stronger sense of smell and a strange sense of taste.
A lot of dogs like eating goose poop, just like my Goldie Sherlock. While a small amount won’t hurt, you shouldn’t tolerate this foraging behavior. Goose poop is reeking with germs that may cause various diseases and health problems on your pet.