If there is one thing you learn quickly when raising chickens it is that they poop often and everywhere, especially if you are letting the flock roam freely around the yard. There is also a chance that you have other pets, such as cats and dogs, and children running around. It’s no surprise to see your dog sniffing around the yard, often seeking out things to eat, just like the chickens, but what if they start eating the flock’s droppings? Is chicken poop bad for dogs? The answer is yes, chicken poop poses a number of health risks. Today, you are going to learn why chicken poop should never be on your dog’s dinner menu.
What is in Chicken Poop?
Chicken poop is much like regular poop, as it contains a watery mixture of urine, feces, and other materials. Often, chicken poop contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. While chicken poop may be considered an adequate fertilizer for plants, it is not something you should be handling or letting other animals — like your dog — consume. Chicken poop also contains harmful bacteria and parasites, including Salmonella, E. coli, and various types of worms. These pathogens can pose health risks to humans and animals if the chicken poop is not properly handled and disposed of.
What Are The Health Risks Involved With a Dog Eating Chicken Poop?
Now that you know what chicken poop contains, let’s go into detail about some of the health risks your dog faces if they snack on it.
Salmonella is one of the most common bacterial pathogens present in chicken waste. You may have heard about salmonella outbreaks on the news or have experienced the gastrointestinal distress yourself. Well, your dogs are not immune to salmonella either. This bacteria can cause a range of symptoms in dogs, including vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and dehydration.
In severe cases, it can lead to sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition that can cause organ failure and death. Young puppies, elderly dogs, and dogs with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of salmonella.
Salmonella infection in dogs is treatable with appropriate veterinary care, which may include antibiotics, supportive care, and management of symptoms. However, treatment options may depend on the severity of the infection, the dog’s overall health, and other factors. It’s important to seek veterinary care promptly if you suspect your dog has been exposed to salmonella.
E. coli stands for Escherichia coli, which is a type of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals. While most strains of E. coli are harmless, some can cause serious foodborne illnesses and other infections.
One harmful strain of E.coli is another type of bacteria commonly found in chicken feces that can cause symptoms similar to salmonella in dogs, including diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. In severe cases, it can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and even death.
The treatment of E. coli infection in dogs typically involves a course of antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian, based on the severity of the infection and the health status of the dog. In addition to antibiotics, supportive care may be necessary, such as fluid therapy to treat dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and other complications of infection. If you suspect that your dog has been infected by E. coli, it is important to seek veterinarian care immediately.
Worms and Other Parasites
In addition to dangerous bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, chicken poop may also contain parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms, which can cause a range of health problems in dogs. Usually, the eggs of these worms are present in chicken poop. Even other chickens can catch worms from the excrement of their friends, which is why routine deworming is so important.
Roundworms are a type of intestinal parasite that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and even blockages in the intestines if left untreated. Tapeworms are another type of intestinal parasite that can cause weight loss, anemia, and other health problems in dogs.
Some common symptoms of roundworm infection in dogs include:
- Pot-bellied appearance
- Weight loss
- Abdominal discomfort
- Coughing (in severe cases)
- Worms visible in feces or vomit
On the other hand, tapeworms in dogs may cause the following symptoms:
- Intense itching or irritation around their bottom
- Scooting or dragging their bottom on the ground
- Visible white, rice-like segments of the tapeworm in the feces or around the anus
- Weight loss (in severe cases)
Most of the time, internal parasites are treated with deworming medications, such as pyrantel pamoate, praziquantel, or fenbendazole. These help by eliminating the worms from the dog’s body.
It is crucial that, if your dogs and other animals end up with worms, to treat every animal you have, because you never know where the infection started.
Other Worms and Parasites That Infect Dogs
Roundworm and tapeworm are most common, but here are some other internal parasites that may be acquired when a dog eats chicken poop:
- Hookworms: These worms are small, thin worms that can attach to the intestinal lining and cause anemia, lethargy, and poor growth in puppies.
- Whipworms: Thin, whip-like worms that can cause chronic diarrhea and weight loss in dogs.
- Coccidia: Single-celled parasites that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite in dogs.
- Eimeria: Eimeria is a type of coccidia that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration in dogs.
- Giardia: Giardia is a microscopic parasite that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss in dogs.
- Cryptosporidium: A protozoan parasite that can cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs.
- Toxoplasma gondii: This is a protozoan parasite that can cause fever, lethargy, and neurological symptoms in dogs. Yes, this is the same bacteria that causes toxoplasmosis.
It’s important to note that some of these parasites can also be transmitted to humans, so it’s essential to practice good hygiene and follow proper sanitation practices when handling dog feces or interacting with infected animals.
Are There Any Benefits to a Dog Eating Chicken Poop?
Sometimes in nature an animal may consume its own excrement or that of another animal to receive any undigested nutrients. It’s called coprophagia, and many species do it. However, there are no known benefits to a dog eating chicken poop.
Just because your dog is attracted to another animal’s poop does not mean they should be consuming it. Dogs may be attracted to chicken poop for a variety of reasons, such as the smell or taste, or simply out of curiosity. However, eating chicken poop is not a natural behavior for dogs and can potentially be harmful to their health.
It should also be noted that dogs have very different dietary needs when compared to chickens, and their digestive systems are not attuned to the parasites and bacteria found in chicken poop. That is why there are far more health risks involved and zero benefits.
Here is a visual video that will tell you more about the phenomenon of coprophagia in dogs:
Preventing Dogs From Eating Chicken Poop
As a pet owner, it’s essential to take precautions to prevent your dog from eating chicken poop to reduce their risk of developing health problems. Some of the steps you can take to prevent dogs from eating chicken poop include:
- Keeping your dog away from areas where chicken poop may be present, such as chicken coops or areas where free-range chickens roam.
- Training your dog to avoid eating chicken poop.
- Providing your dog with a balanced and nutritious diet to reduce their urge to eat non-food items such as feces.
- Monitoring your dog when outside to ensure they don’t ingest any chicken poop or other harmful substances.
- Cleaning up chicken poop promptly and disposing of it properly to reduce the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria and parasites.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested chicken poop or is showing any signs of illness, it’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately. A veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests and provide treatment to help your dog recover from any health problems caused by ingesting chicken poop.
Final Thoughts on Dogs Eating Chicken Poop
Is your dog sneaking into the coop and eating the chicken poop? Keep them away. There are several potential health risks associated with a dog eating chicken poop, including bacterial infections, parasitic infections, and other health problems. As a pet owner, it’s essential to take precautions to prevent your dog from ingesting chicken poop, such as the tips listed in this article. Doing so will ensure that your pets and flock stay happy and healthy.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.