Why do dogs eat rabbit poop? Well as a dog mom who actually had 2 outdoor bunnies, I can attest that some dogs are attracted to dog poop as much as a turkey dinner.
My Riley was honestly a pain in the ass with this! No matter when I let her out in the yard, it was a beeline straight to the bunny hutch. After all there was gold under that hutch you know!
So, with all this said – let’s talk about dog’s eating rabbit poop, why they do it, and what you can try to stop it.
Why Do Dogs Eat Rabbit Poop?
There can be several reasons a dog eats rabbit poop. Taste, nutritional deficiency, or they are just plain hungry. Each of these are outlined in more detail below.
So, if you take them outside and they dart over to a pile of rabbit poop, you should consider why! Not only is it just a gross habit, it can signal something is wrong.
So, let’s dig a little deeper into why your dog keeps eating rabbit poop!
Bunny Poop Can Be Tasty!
The best way to understand why your dog is eating rabbit poop is to understand what rabbit poop is. Despite popular belief, rabbit poop can be far different from the feces of other wild animals.
In fact, some isn’t even poop at all!
Rabbits produce two unique types of solid waste. Their regular fecal pellets are small and round, sort of like your dog’s kibble.
Regular rabbit poop barely has any smell to it, and it’s made of mostly grass and other plants that the rabbit consumed.
The second type of waste that rabbits produce is called cecotropes, which aren’t really poop at all. Cecotropes look like a bunch of small pieces of poop bunched together, like grapes.
They’re bundles of nutrients and healthy bacteria that a bunny’s body produces.
As unsettling as it may sound, bunnies eat cecotropes as a part of their balanced diet. While these bunches come out the same way that feces does, they’re actually food instead of poop.
Most rabbits eat their cecotropes not long after producing them, but dogs can’t resist picking up the ones left behind.
They’re Not Getting Proper Nutrition
Poop eating can be a normal behavior for canines, but it doesn’t mean it’s a good behavior. If your dog is eating rabbit poop often, it’s possible that there’s something wrong with their health. Oftentimes, it just means they’re not being fed enough or that their food doesn’t have as many nutrients as your dog’s body requires.
In extreme cases, your dog could experience other unusual behaviors along with eating rabbit poop. If your dog shows any weight loss, discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhea along with this gross habit, it might be an indicator that there’s something more seriously wrong.
If your dog constantly eats bunny poop or any other unusual substance (check out our article on what dogs can and cannot eat), it’s a good idea to visit your vet to rule out any severe symptoms first. But luckily, in many cases, your dog just needs better food or tastier treats.
Rabbit poop tends to be rich in fiber and B-complex vitamins, so it has some items that your dog should be getting in their regular diet.
They’re Curious and Hungry
Some dogs that eat rabbit poop are just curious, hungry, or bored. New objects with peculiar smells are always more attractive to dogs than anything else. So, if they can find rabbit poop in your yard or on a walk, it will likely be a thrilling experience for them.
Many dogs eat rabbit poop simply because it’s there and they enjoy it. Even if they know they’re not supposed to have it, they just can’t help themselves. It’s a situation that humans will never fully comprehend, but luckily, we can learn how to deter these bizarre actions.
Is Rabbit Poop Bad For Dogs?
Both types of rabbit poop mentioned earlier can seem tasty and nutritious to dogs, which is why they might eat them every chance they get.
While small bits of both types won’t harm your dog, eating bunny waste too often could easily cause digestive problems like diarrhea or vomiting.
How to Stop My Dog From Eating Rabbit Poop
If your dog won’t stop eating rabbit poop, or any type of poop for that matter, it can be frustrating. Our dogs might not understand why we’re so disgusted by their favorite snack.
So, they might keep trying to sneak some rabbit poop even when you tell them no.
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to ensure that these behaviors stop.
Supervise Your Dog Outside
Even if you improve your dog’s diet, it might take some time for them to adjust to it, which means more rabbit poop in the meantime. Your dog probably knows they’re not supposed to eat anything outside, especially if you always tell them not to. So, they will mostly likely eat it whenever they think you’re not watching.
So, instead of letting them loose in your fenced-in yard or letting them do their own thing at the dog park, keep a close eye on them outside (leash training might help).
They might not have the best self-control, but you can still encourage them to pursue good behaviors. Stay near them and rush to stop them before they gulp down too much feces. It will be safer for them, and will hopefully make training easier.
Teach Them to “Leave it”
The best way to correct any bad behavior is with consistent training. Take your dog out in the yard with a bunch of low calorie treats in your pocket. Keep a close eye on them, and if they try to eat anything, give them a command. “Leave it” is a common option, but you can choose whatever you want, as long as it’s always consistent.
It’s a good idea to start with the basics before practicing in the yard though. When in your home, take a treat and place it near your dog. Place your hand over it so your dog cannot eat it.
At first, your dog will probably try to grab the treat, but they will eventually give up. When they stop trying to get to the treat, say your command and reward them. Repeat this until your dog learns to not eat the treat unless told to.
Next, you can practice the command outside. Rabbit poop is the ultimate test for many dogs since it’s more desirable than a small treat. Monitor your dog and say the command when they near any type of feces. If they don’t rush to eat it, make sure you reward them. This process will require a lot of patience, but with enough consistency, your dog should soon get the hang of it.
Improve Their Diet
Dogs often try to eat objects outside because they’re lacking something in their diet. Vitamin-B deficiency is common in dogs who snack on rabbit poop, whether it’s the actual poop or cecotropes. Veterinarians will often recommend a healthy vitamin or supplement if your dog is eating rabbit poop too often.
However, if you feed your dog a low-quality food, adding supplements won’t improve the food itself. Most popular dog food brands are far from beneficial and are actually the equivalent of fast food for humans.
That’s because kibble is very processed, and it’s often cheaper for companies to pack dry dog food with carbs instead of healthier ingredients, like meats and nutrients.
It’s actually suspected that dogs don’t need any carbs in their diet at all, so if you’re able to switch your dog to a wet food or fresh dog food diet based on low carbs instead, that will be the most beneficial for them. If you can’t afford a higher end food, you can try adding a nutritional topper to your dog’s kibble for the time being.
Visit Your Vet
It’s always good to turn to a professional if you’re stuck and don’t know what else to do. While a change in diet and some proper training is a great way to fix a bad habit, not all bad habits can be fixed so easily. In rare cases, dogs start eating poop because of a more serious health concern. Eating too much feces could lead to gastrointestinal upset, infections, or parasites.
So, if nothing else seems to be fixing your dog’s behaviors, it can’t hurt to visit the vet for a checkup. Let them know your concerns and see if they have any advice. Sometimes, they might be able to discover a problem just by looking at your dog.
Related: Talk to a virtual vet!
They might also be able to recommend specific vitamins and supplements for them to try. Visiting the vet can be pricey, but your dog’s health should always be a priority.
Dogs eat all kinds of things they shouldn’t, which is why it’s so important for you to learn how to stop a dog from eating rabbit poop.
Most dogs aren’t doing it to be annoying, but something is making them feel compelled to eat it. So, find the root of the problem so you can end these peculiar actions once and for all.