Dog Eating Poop: if your dog develops an upset stomach after eating poop, consider that this is not an unusual occurrence. Poop eating in dogs, medically known as "coprophagia" can cause a bout of upset stomach and vomiting shortly after eating the feces, especially in dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Other causes of illness due to eating poop typically manifest days to weeks later. Whether your dog eats his own feces, the feces of wild animals or the feces of your cat, you may be interested in learning why eating feces can make your dog sick.
About Dogs Vomiting Feces
Often dog owners assume their dogs ate poop simply because their dog have vomited material that looks or smells like feces. However, not always what they see are actually proof of ingesting feces. A dog owner who notices dog vomit that looks or smells like feces should keep in mind the possibility of an intestinal obstruction, better known as a blockage.
If you suspect your dog may have swallowed bones, rocks or any other foreign items, read about dog blockages. If the dog vomit doesn't smell like feces but looks like feces, such as appears brown like coffee grounds, consider that this can be a sign of bleeding from the upper digestive tract (stomach, small intestines) as digested blood appears brown. Possible causes include ulcers, blockages and exposure to rat poison. If you are absolutely certain your dog ate poop and is now vomiting, read on for possible causes.
Rule Out Underlying Conditions
An important consideration when dealing with a dog with stomach upset from eating feces is evaluating if the poop eating behavior is actually connected with a condition known for causing upset stomach in the first place. Medical conditions such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and malabsorption are known for causing an interest in eating feces along with gastrointestinal involvement. A dog with a history of eating feces and developing stomach upset, should therefore be evaluated by a vet to rule out these conditions.
Beware of Intestinal Worms
The habit of dog eating feces can backfire as dogs can get parasites this way. Several intestinal parasites can cause a dull coat, weight loss and gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. However, it takes some time for the feces to contain infective eggs and it takes some time for the dog to develop symptoms after ingesting feces. For instance, fresh racoon feces may contain millions of roundworm eggs, but the eggs aren't immediately infective. In order for the eggs to become infective they must stay in the soil for some time, generally, about 2 to 4 weeks, explains J. Scott Weese, a veterinarian specializing in internal medicine.
Don't expect your dog though to eat feces for the first time and get sick right after because of parasites. When the dog ingests infective larvated eggs, they will first need to hatch in the dog's small intestine and mature before causing gastrointestinal signs. Affected dogs may develop enteritis and mild diarrhea as a result, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council. Further, raccoon roundworms may sometimes also migrate and cause complications. Dogs who eat poop should have stool testing done and may need to be dewormed on a more frequent basis. Managing the environment is important to prevent access to feces that, once ingested, can cause roundworm and whipworm infestations.
Presence of Protozoans
Generally, eating the feces of herbivore animals (horses, cows, goats) will not cause parasites in dogs because these species have parasites that are species specific, meaning only capable of causing illness among themselves. Much more troublesome is consuming feces from other dogs and cats, according to Dr. Foster and Smith. However, protozoans, microscopic single-celled parasites can cause problems at times. For instance, the consumption of rabbit droppings may contain protozoans such as Cryptosporidia and Giardia which may cause no symptoms at all or may cause illness derived from damaging the dog’s digestive system, explains veterinarian Francine K. Rattner.
[adinserter block="5"]It appears though that protozoans such as giardia or coccidia are more common in the feces of dogs and cats. As with intestinal parasites, dogs do not develop digestive symptoms right away. For instance, symptoms of giardia generally develop 1 to 3 weeks, after becoming infected, while symptoms of coccidia generally appear after about 13 days. Another risky protozoan is toxoplasmosis which can result from eating infected cat feces.
Transmission though is mostly seen in young dogs or dogs with a compromised immune system. Among the various symptoms involving the digestive system includes loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
Presence of Bacteria/Viruses
Last, but not least, eating feces can cause an upset stomach due to the potential of ingesting bacteria or viruses found in the ingested stool. For instance, an unvaccinated puppy or dog can contract parvo, a life threatening condition known for causing vomiting and diarrhea from ingesting contaminated feces within 3 to 7 days.
Abrupt Dietary Changes
If your dog ate poop and has an upset stomach within a few hours, it's most likely this is happening because of dietary changes. It's a known fact that when dogs ingest something new, such as a new food or new treats, they are predisposed to an upset stomach from these sudden dietary changes. This can also happen if the dog ingests animal feces. After all, feces are not (hopefully) on a dog's daily diet. For instance, eating too many pellets of rabbit poop may trigger a bout of gastritis/enteritis as commonly seen when there's a dietary change, explains veterinarian Dr. Marie.
So as seen, the behavior of eating feces puts a dog at risk for illness. It's best to limit access to poop so the dog is protected from continuously infesting himself with worms and protozoans and developing annoying dog upset stomach from eating feces.
Did you know?
When we smell poop we smell something revolting, when dogs smell poop, courtesy of their wonderful sense of smell, they smell all the ingredients within the food the animal has actually eaten.