It’s very common to take your dog for a walk in the woods only to see your pup run up to a pile of deer dung and start gobbling it up like a tasty treat. Your puppy may think that poop is nothing more than a tasty treat. While your pet will most likely not be harmed by eating poop, unfortunately, eating deer poop does put your dog at risk of infection.

Let’s learn more about deer poop and its ability to transmit disease, identify why your dog is eating deer poop, and how developing a prevention plan is critical to keeping your dog healthy, safe, and healthy.

Why Do Dogs Eat Deer Poop?

A dog with deer horns

If your dog is eating deer poop, chances are they don’t have a good sense of the poop’s taste. In other words, your dog may just be a poop eater. A 2012 study of animal behavior by the American Veterinary College reported that 16 percent of dogs regularly eat poop (the habit of eating poop).

Dogs can also develop fecal phagocytosis if their siblings do this. Some dogs are imitators, and if the temptation to eat poop isn’t strong enough, seeing another dog in the house eating poop will make your dog want to gobble it up even more.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Your dog may eat deer poop for a variety of reasons, but they usually revolve around one problem: malnutrition. In other words, if your dog is not receiving the proper nutrients or ingredients from his food, he may be eating deer poop. The following factors might be to blame for this:

Poor Diet

Your dog may be receiving the incorrect foods, resulting in an unbalanced diet. A few of the ingredients in your dog’s food may be difficult for him to digest. He might be hungry as a result of his body’s inability to properly absorb the nutrients it requires. He might be influenced to eat deer poop by all of these things taken together.


Your dog might not be receiving the proper amount of food for his size, weight, or level of activity. If this is the case, when he gets hungry, he might have to eat deer poop.

Lack Of Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes can be found in the droppings of herbivorous animals like deer. Additionally, if your dog does not produce enough digestive enzymes to digest and absorb other essential nutrients for his body, he might consume deer feces as a supplement.

In fact, this explains why the majority of dogs consume recent (less than two days old) deer poop: fresh deer stools not only contain digestive enzymes but are also rich in microbes that may be vital for the regeneration of beneficial bacteria in a dog’s gut.

Intestinal Parasites

The nutrients your dog consumes from food may be shared by intestinal parasites that are hiding in his digestive system. Your dog might not receive the proper amount of nutrients as a result, which could make him more peckish and tempt him to consume deer feces.

Other Diseases

Your dog may start consuming deer poop if they have any of the illnesses that increase canine appetites, such as diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome, thyroid issues, pancreatitis, and intestinal infections.

Behavioral Issues

Your dog may consume deer poop in addition to the medical reasons mentioned above for behavioral or environmental reasons, such as:


To get your attention, your dog may act in an unusual way, such as coprophagia, if he is stressed, anxious, or doesn’t receive the attention he needs.

Incorrect Training

Dogs trained using cruel methods may eat their own waste or any other feces they come across in an effort to please their owners or escape punishment.

Your dog may try to hide the fact that he came across feces by eating it if you like to punish him for inappropriate elimination, for example, because he may come to believe that all poop is bad if you do this.

When their dogs relieve themselves in inappropriate locations, some dog parents also use the age-old tactic of rubbing the dog’s nose in the waste. A dog may receive conflicting instructions from this regarding how to handle feces.


Your dog might curiously eat deer poop, especially puppies. Puppies often want to explore everything they come across with their mouths because everything is new to them, including deer droppings.

Learned Behavior

Additionally, your dog might pick up coprophagia from other dogs and develop it into a bad habit. For instance, if you have older dogs who have the habit, they might influence younger dogs in your home.

Additionally, some dogs may try to imitate your cleaning of their kennel waste when they see you doing it. This is the reason why some trainers advise against picking up your dog’s poop while he is watching.

While poop eating is common in dogs, it can be caused by one or more health or environmental factors. Consultation with a veterinarian should always be the first line of defense when diagnosing potential problems in your pet.

Is It Ok If My Dog Ate Deer Poop?

Lots of diseases, viruses, bacteria, and parasites are spread in poo. That’s why it’s so important that you pick up your dog’s poop! However, are there any diseases that can spread from deer to dogs by eating poop?

Do Deer Feces Carry Diseases?

Yes, deer poop can spread disease. Fortunately, the diseases your dog gets from eating deer poop are treatable, and the most serious diseases spread through deer poop won’t affect dogs. Deer feces can contain any of the following:


  • Coccidia (roundworms) and whipworms can be found in deer feces.
  • Symptoms of parasites include diarrhea and weight loss.
  • Veterinarians can detect intestinal parasites by examining stool samples.
  • A veterinarian will prescribe an antiparasitic medication as treatment, and your dog will likely recover quickly.

Tooth Decay Bacteria

  • While tooth decay in dogs is rare, deer feces may contain bacteria that can cause tooth decay in dogs.
  • Since cavities usually appear on the occlusal surfaces of molars, they can be difficult to spot.
  • Just as a dentist can fill a cavity in a person, canine cavities caused by tooth decay can also be filled by a veterinarian.


  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through the urine of infected animals.
  • Feces are likely to be adjacent to or contaminated with urine.

The condition can be treated with antibiotics, dialysis, or hydration therapy; your veterinarian will advise which treatment is right for your dog.

Fortunately, the most serious diseases spread through deer feces don’t affect dogs or people. Chronic wasting disease is common in deer herds, and while it can be fatal to deer, luckily your dog won’t get the chronic wasting disease from eating deer poop.

While your dog may feel ill after contracting any of the above, all of the above can be treated by a veterinarian.

Can Dogs Catch Viruses From Deer Poop?

Whilst there are lots of viruses that can spread from deer to other animals, I couldn’t see any that would pose a risk to a dog. Most viral diseases that can be passed in deer poop are of risk to other ruminants, such as livestock.

What To Do If My Dog Ate Deer Poop

Dog Ate Deer PoopDog Ate Deer Poop

It’s wise to avoid eating shit whenever possible. While the risk of your dog eating deer poop and contracting the disease may seem small, there are still risks. There’s also a potential risk that your dog can spread the disease to people in the household, especially if your dog lives with children or the elderly.

If your dog does come into contact with deer poop, try to stop it from eating it. As long as your dog seems smart, you don’t have to contact your veterinarian. The most common side effect of dogs eating deer poop is mild abdominal discomfort. Any vomiting and diarrhea should subside after 24-48 hours. Don’t skip food, but eat less and more, and be prepared to call your veterinarian if your dog becomes lethargic, dehydrated, or unable to control food.

How To Prevent Dogs From Eating Deer Poop?

Fortunately, there are training methods that can prevent dogs from eating poop in the future. Prevention is the best medicine, and keeping dogs out of the kennel is ideal for keeping them healthy.

Reduce Attention-Seeking Behavior

Some dogs may eat poop to improve their human status. If you notice your dog is eating poop, react calmly to emphasize that the behavior is not having the effect your dog wants.

If your dog has attention-seeking behaviors in general (jumping, barking, or constantly scratching at you), make sure their environment (especially if they are confined to a crate or bedroom) is rich and stimulating. Set a routine for your dog, let them know what time of day they will get the most attention, and stick to it consistently.

Improve The “Leave” Command

This may be a good time to refine or retrain your dog’s compliance with “leave it” and “come” commands. Placing toys for your dog in the home or yard, walking the dog under temptation, and sticking to commands, rewarding success is a great way to retrain “let go” commands. Keeping this command fresh in your dog’s mind will help guide them away from the feces you can see.

The success of the “leave” command is highly correlated with the value of what the command refers to; in other words, if your dog absolutely loves poop, the “leave it” command may not be as effective for deer poop as it is for sticks.

However, a strong “leave it” command is one of the most useful obedience behaviors in a dog owner’s arsenal and is well worth improving or retraining.

Consistent Leash

If your dog is used to being off-leash in their own backyard, they may protest the leash at home first. However, keeping your dog on a leash allows you to steer them away from any feces you may find in your yard when you take them out. As with all training, if a leash toilet break is successful and no feces are eaten or confirmed, intensive treatment should be rewarded.

If you frequently let your dog loose on a leash in large, open, secluded spaces (like the woods, the beach, or hiking), re-leash them to keep them away from any feces in their surroundings.

When your dog runs into a lush patch of tall grass to chase a bird or get a ball, you’re not following them to monitor their exploration. Keeping them on a leash while exploring will prevent them from discovering a new pile of droppings.

Vigilance, Treatment, And Prevention 

If you discover that your dog has eaten deer poop, you have mastered the first step in your prevention and treatment plan: vigilance. Being vigilant with your dog (especially a puppy) will help you strengthen your training strategy and help your veterinarian identify any potential physical or behavioral abnormalities. Be vigilant when eating poop!

If you suspect that it is important for your dog to eat deer poop, contact your veterinarian immediately. While all the ailments your dog may contract from deer feces are treatable, timing is of the essence. Early detection leads to faster treatment.

Offer Nutritious Food

The most frequent cause of coprophagia is probably malnutrition. Whether you’re underfeeding your pet or the food is deficient in the necessary nutrients Your dog might try to eat poop in either situation to try to satisfy his needs. To fix this problem, you can give your dog more food or more frequently.

If the issue still exists, you might want to think about switching the food you are providing. The ideal situation is to speak with a veterinarian to determine the diet that is suggested for your pet.

Final Words

Finally, make this a learning experience for you and your pet. Refine your training, revisit the basics, reward good behavior, and get your dog back on track. A mixture of vigilance, treatment, and prevention will ensure your dog lives a happy and healthy life.

You may be interested in: