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Why Do Dogs Eat Rabbit Poop? 5 Likely Reasons

It can feel like dogs are testing their owner’s stomachs by eating the most disgusting things they can find. This can sometimes include used tissues, cigarette butts, or poop, most specifically rabbit poop, in regards to this article. So, why do they do it?

We will examine the “why” and the “what happens next?” But don’t worry too much; it’s a common behavior that rarely leads to much more than an upset stomach and some discomfort.

The 5 Reasons the Dogs May Eat Rabbit Poop

1. Nutritional Deficiencies

Rabbit feces is generally rich in B-complex vitamins and fiber, so if your dog is nutritionally deficient, they might eat it in an attempt to gain the nutrients they are missing.

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2. Attention Seeking

If your dog has eaten rabbit poop in the past and you reacted dramatically to it, they might do it again to get a reaction from you. Any response, even a negative one, is sometimes better than nothing, and your dog might be demonstrating this attention-seeking behavior if they feel left out.

3. Curiosity

Dogs explore the world through their sense of smell and taste, so if they encounter something new they want to investigate, they’ll eat it to learn more about it. Rabbit poop will smell very interesting to your dog and is also the perfect size to snack on!

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4. Hunger

If your dog is hungry enough, they will eat anything that smells even vaguely like food. Some dogs might just really like the taste.

5. Pica

Pica is a condition where a dog will consistently eat something that isn’t food, like garbage, plastic, paper, rocks, feces, or dirt. Some dogs might eat anything they encounter, while others pick the same item each time. It’s generally considered an obsessive-compulsive habit but can also occur due to poor nutrition or a medical condition.

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People Also Ask (FAQ)

What Should You Do if Your Dog Just Ate Rabbit Poop?

If your dog has just ingested rabbit poop, you might immediately wonder what your next steps are.

  • Secure your dog: If your dog has been off the leash, secure them and move them away from the rabbit poop so they can’t eat more. If you believe it’s safe, remove the droppings from their mouth.
  • Take notes: This will ensure your vet has all the necessary information. If you know, note how much was eaten, when, and whether they are wild rabbit droppings or from a pet.
  • Call the veterinarian: Your vet might ask you to monitor your dog at home, but if they have a sensitive stomach or a pre-existing health condition, they might advise you to come in so they can check your dog over.
  • Watch for worrying signs: Your vet will advise how long to monitor your dog; if you’re worried, contact your vet again for more advice.

Can Eating Rabbit Poop Be Harmful?

Rabbit droppings are made up of vegetables, grass, green plants, bacteria, rabbit fur, and intestinal mucus, which isn’t very dangerous to your dog. This means if your dog has ingested a small amount, it shouldn’t cause them any problems.

The issue lies with the fact that rabbit feces can contain problematic germs that cause an upset stomach, but that’s more likely when the rabbit is wild. Feces have the potential to host parasites such as worms. You must also be warier about your dog eating rabbit poop if they have pre-existing health conditions or a sensitive stomach. Be advised that many parasites and germs from rabbits to dogs can also pass to you, so make sure you keep your hands clean!

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How Long Will Your Dog Feel Unwell For?

Some dogs will be fine, while others might experience inappetence, lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting in the week following the incident. This is most likely in dogs with sensitive stomachs or pre-existing conditions such as pancreatitis. If you notice any of these signs, contact your vet for advice.

Most dogs will be unwell for a few days and will recover quickly. However, the parasites in rabbit feces can rarely cause problems like chronic diarrhea that last for several weeks or longer. Contact your vet if you’re worried because they can treat your dog for nausea, stomach pain, and dehydration.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Rabbit Poop

Training might be helpful, and a “leave” command could stop your dog from eating something they shouldn’t. If wild droppings are the problem, plan a route that avoids areas with dense rabbit populations. You might also consider getting a muzzle in the meantime if another route is not an option.

If you live somewhere with wild rabbits living nearby, you might need to check the yard before letting your dog out and supervise them while they are outside. And if you have a pet rabbit, it might be wise to keep your dog and rabbit’s living spaces separate to keep rabbit poop away from your dog.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from PICA, contact your vet to check that they aren’t suffering from medical problems, and contact an animal behaviorist who can help you tackle this behavior.

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Final Thoughts

Eating rabbit poop is pretty disgusting but an entirely normal behavior for a dog. There are various reasons behind this behavior, and generally, there is no harm in it unless your dog has a sensitive stomach or has preexisting health conditions. In most cases, dogs will be fine in a few days, but if your dog is one of the unlucky ones with a more severe tummy upset, they might require veterinary care. Many parasites that can be passed onto your dog can also be passed to you, so ensure you are keeping on top of your hygiene.

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