Why Dogs Love Eating Rabbit Poop and How to Stop Them

Dogs eating rabbit poop is a common and repulsive problem for many pet owners. Learn what causes this behavior and how to prevent it with these easy and helpful tips.

Why Dogs Love Eating Rabbit Poop and How to Stop Them
Eating rabbit poop can be tempting for dogs, but also harmful and disgusting. So how can you stop them?

Image by Jeannette1980 from Pixabay

Possible Reasons for Dogs Eating Rabbit Poop

Rabbit poop seems to be a delicacy for some dogs, but why? You might feel disgusted and confused by your dog's behavior. Rest assured, dogs eating rabbit poop is a common occurrence. Many animals I’ve cared for over the years were obsessed with bunny droppings.

But are there any positive reasons for this doing this, or is it just a nasty habit? This article will answer your questions and share helpful ways to curb this behavior.

Dogs love eating rabbit poop for various reasons, such as:

1. Curiosity

Dogs are curious creatures who like to explore their environment with their mouths. They may try anything that smells interesting, including rabbit poop. Why? Your dog's nose is his window to the world. He can smell things that you can't even imagine. That's why he sniffs everything around him, to learn and explore. Dogs have a sense of smell that is much stronger than ours.

Dogs can detect some smells in parts per trillion and distinguish different components of a complex odor. Smelling is like seeing, and rabbit poop is like a colorful painting for them.

2. Instinct

Dogs share a common ancestry with wolves, who hunt rabbits for food. By eating rabbit poop, dogs may mask their smell and elude their prey's senses. This instinct also explains why some animals enjoy rolling in poop or other odorous substances; it may be a way to

  • Override another animal's scent
  • Intentionally leave their scent as a warning
  • Camouflage themselves and hunt better by hiding their smell

3. Coprophagia

Coprophagia is the scientific term for eating feces. Some dogs may develop this habit due to stress, boredom, anxiety, or attention-seeking. They may also learn it from other dogs or animals who do the same. PetMD states that coprophagia is normal for

  • Nursing females who clean their den by eating their young's poop
  • Puppies who experiment with poop out of curiosity or playfulness

But for adult dogs, it's abnormal to consume their own or other dogs' feces.

4. Nutrition

Rabbit poop contains fiber and good bacteria that can benefit dogs' digestion and gut health. Some dogs may eat rabbit poop to enhance their diet or to deal with digestive issues. But this doesn't mean they have a health problem or need more food. Most dogs who eat rabbit poop are in good shape and well-nourished.

Instinct and nutrition? Learn the possible reasons behind dogs eating rabbit poop.

Photo by Alexander Nadrilyanski:

The Good and the Bad of Dogs Eating Rabbit Poop

For dogs, there may be some appealing benefits to eating rabbit poop, but with this behavior also come some risks.

The Good

As mentioned above, rabbit poop can provide some fiber and probiotics for dogs, which can improve their bowel movements and immune system.

  • Fiber is a carbohydrate that feeds the good bacteria in the gut.
  • Probiotics are living microorganisms that benefit the host's health.

A diet high in fiber and probiotics can help dogs maintain balanced gut flora and prevent digestive issues. Also, some dogs crave the taste or texture of rabbit poop, which can satisfy their chewing needs and relieve boredom.

The Bad

Dogs eating rabbit poop may develop bad breath, dental problems, or behavioral issues. But it goes beyond that: Rabbit feces may contain harmful parasites, bacteria, viruses, or toxins that cause infections, diseases, or poisoning in dogs. Don't ignore these signs in your pet. They may need a vet's help. Please take them for a check-up as soon as possible.

A dog sniffs out some fresh rabbit poop to snack on. But is it good or bad for him?

Photo by Anna Roberts on Unsplash

How to Keep Dogs from Eating Rabbit Poop

To break your dog's habit of eating rabbit poop, you need to find out why he does it and give him other options.

1. Limit Your Dog's Access to Rabbit Poop

The most straightforward way to prevent your dog from eating rabbit poop is to limit their access to it by:

  • Walking your dog on a leash outside
  • Fencing off your backyard or garden
  • Cleaning up any rabbit droppings regularly
  • Keeping your rabbit in a secure cage or enclosure

2. Teach Your Dog to Leave It

Teaching your pup a command such as "leave it" or "drop it" is another effective way to put an end to this behavior. You can carry out this training by using positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, or toys, as a reward for ignoring or dropping the feces. A deterrent spray or device, such as a water bottle or a noise maker, can also be an effective discouragement tool.

3. Make Sure Your Dog Has a Balanced Diet

Ensure that your dog gets enough nutrition from his food so that he doesn't have to eat bunny droppings. Select a high-quality dog food that suits their age, size, breed, and activity level. Also, ask your vet for any dietary supplements or changes your dog may need.

4. Provide Your Dog With More Stimulation

If boredom or stress drives your dog to eat rabbit poop, you can curb this behavior by providing more mental and physical stimulation. Make your pup's life more fun and busy with exercise, play, friends, training, toys, puzzles, or games. They'll be happier and less bored. Also, ensure your pet has a cozy, safe space to relax and unwind.

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Final Thoughts

This article has helped you understand why dogs are obsessed with eating rabbit poop and how to stop them from doing so. With some patience and persistence, you can train your dog to leave the bunny droppings alone and enjoy other things instead.

Remember, your dog isn't acting this way to annoy or upset you. They are just acting on their instincts or dealing with something. You can help your pup break this habit by following these tips and showing love, care, and guidance.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2023 Louise Fiolek