You are on a nice stroll with Fido and he stops to smell the grass. The next thing you see is him chewing, nom nom. Great, he found some irresistible rabbit poo.
Wild rabbits live everywhere, and leave a trail of “treats” for dogs. Almost all dogs have encountered or eaten rabbit poop at some point. What is it in those droppings that dogs cannot resist?
Rabbits are herbivores and eat mostly grass. They are grazing animals, so they are constantly eating and then pooping. They leave piles in the grass as they graze, and in the perfect spot for Fido to find them. Although the droppings do resemble a kibble in shape and size, they do not taste the same.
Why Dogs Cannot Resist
The round and dark brown droppings are mostly undigested grass. They are high in fiber and low in odor. Some simply enjoy the taste, and the excitement of finding “treats” in the grass.
Some dogs may be missing something in their diet that they try to find in poo. Rabbit poo is high in digestive enzymes and in B vitamins. B vitamins have many benefits for Fido including improved heart, skin, and digestive health.
Dr. Karen Becker posted on her blog Healthy Pets, “Feeding your pet a diet containing human-grade protein, probiotics and supplemental digestive enzymes can sometimes curb the urge to find gross sources of free enzymes around the yard.”
Is It Safe?
While it is a dirty habit, eating rabbit droppings will not cause serious harm. They may get an upset stomach, depending on the amount they eat. If your dog vomits, or refuses to eat or drink, call your vet. However, you should try and eliminate it from your dog’s diet.
The danger lies in eating the rabbit. If your dog has consumed a wild rabbit, you should bring him to the vet. Rabbits can cary tapeworm, fleas, and ticks. All of these can have a serious effect on Fido. A vet will be able to assist in detecting any disease.
Veterinarians have found that some parasites are “species specific”. “Rabbit form of coccidia is not the same type of coccidia that can affect dogs, and it just simply passes through the dogs body,” explains veterinarian Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic on Pet Helpful.
Change The Behavior
If the behavior is due to diet, a change with added fresh foods will reduce the desire to eat the droppings.
Teaching your dog to leave the rabbit droppings will take some training and a keen eye. You will need to teach your dog “leave it”, and reward with an appropriate tasty treat. As long as you keep an eye out for the droppings, and are prepared with the new command, Fido should listen. Key word is “should”. On the bright side, you will keep up with brushing your dogs teeth.
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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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