Dogs Eating Deer Poop: Understanding the Behavior and Addressing Concerns


When it comes to our furry friends, dogs, we often encounter perplexing behaviors, one of which is their inclination to eat deer poop. As dog owners, it is essential to understand the reasons behind this behavior and its potential implications for our pets’ health. In this article, we will delve into the topic of dogs eating deer poop, exploring the underlying reasons, addressing frequently asked questions, and providing guidance on how to discourage this behavior. Let’s explore why dogs exhibit this behavior and how we can ensure the well-being of our beloved companions.

Reasons Why Dogs Eat Deer Poop

A curious dog explores the scent of deer droppings in the wild.
A curious dog explores the scent of deer droppings in the wild.

Instinctual Behavior and Ancestral Roots

Dogs are descendants of wolves, and their instinctual behavior can still shine through, even in domesticated settings. One such behavior is the consumption of feces, including deer droppings. This instinctual inclination can be traced back to their ancestral roots, where wolves would consume feces to eliminate any trace of their presence, preventing potential predators from detecting their presence. While domesticated dogs may not face the same threats, this instinctual behavior can still persist.

Nutritional Deficiencies and Dietary Inadequacies

Another reason dogs may indulge in deer poop is the presence of certain nutrients that their diet may lack. Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell and are attracted to the scent of feces due to its high protein content. If their regular diet is deficient in certain nutrients, dogs may seek alternative sources, including deer droppings, to fulfill their nutritional requirements. It is crucial to ensure that your dog’s diet is well-balanced and meets all their nutritional needs to prevent them from seeking out feces as a supplementary source of nutrients.

Scent and Taste Appeal for Dogs

To dogs, the scent and taste of deer poop can be highly appealing. Canines have an incredible sense of smell, and the strong odor of deer feces can pique their curiosity. Additionally, the taste of deer droppings may be enticing to dogs, further reinforcing this behavior. It is essential to understand that dogs explore the world through their senses, and while eating feces may seem unappetizing to us, it may hold a different appeal for our furry companions.

Coprophagia as a Behavioral Issue

In some cases, dogs may develop a behavioral issue known as coprophagia, where they exhibit an excessive desire to consume feces. This behavior can stem from various factors, including boredom, anxiety, or even attention-seeking. Coprophagia should be addressed promptly, as it can pose health risks to your dog and may indicate an underlying issue that needs attention.

FAQ about Dogs Eating Deer Poop

Is it safe for dogs to eat deer poop?

While it may be a natural behavior for dogs, consuming deer poop is not entirely safe. Deer droppings can contain parasites, bacteria, and other harmful substances that can lead to gastrointestinal issues in dogs. It is important to discourage this behavior to safeguard your dog’s health.

Can dogs become sick from consuming deer droppings?

Yes, dogs can become sick from eating deer poop. As mentioned earlier, deer droppings may harbor parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens that can cause digestive problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and even more serious health issues. It is crucial to prevent your dog from consuming deer droppings to minimize the risk of illness.

How to discourage dogs from eating deer poop?

To discourage dogs from eating deer poop, several strategies can be employed. Firstly, ensuring your dog has a well-balanced and nutritious diet can help reduce the chances of them seeking out alternative food sources. Additionally, keeping your dog on a leash and closely supervising them during walks in areas frequented by deer can prevent them from accessing deer droppings. Training your dog with commands like “leave it” can also be effective in redirecting their attention away from feces.

Are there any health risks associated with this behavior?

Yes, there are potential health risks associated with dogs eating deer poop. As mentioned earlier, deer droppings can carry parasites and bacteria that can cause digestive issues and even more severe illnesses. It is crucial to consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has consumed deer droppings or exhibits any signs of illness after such ingestion.


Understanding why dogs eat deer poop is essential for dog owners to ensure the well-being of their pets. While this behavior may be instinctual or driven by nutritional deficiencies, it is crucial to discourage dogs from consuming deer droppings due to the potential health risks involved. By providing a well-balanced diet, supervising your dog during walks, and implementing effective training techniques, you can reduce the likelihood of this behavior. Remember, your veterinarian is an excellent resource for guidance and advice specific to your dog’s needs. Let’s continue to care for our furry companions and promote their overall health and happiness.

The Nerdy Dog, a trusted platform dedicated to dog behavior research and assistance, offers valuable insights and professional guidance on various dog-related topics. Visit The Nerdy Dog to explore more informative content and enhance your understanding of your canine companion’s behavior.

(The Nerdy Dog is here to help you with professional research, study, and practice.)

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