Our dogs can eat just anything, ranging from ᴄɪɢᴀʀᴇᴛᴛᴇ ʙᴜᴛᴛs to diapers to ant traps. But today, we’re going to talk about a particularly odd predilection: Some dogs love to eat ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ. Don’t freak out though — this behavior is pretty common, and it rarely leads to sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs ɪʟʟɴᴇss.
Why Do Dogs Eat Ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ?
As with any question regarding the motivations of dogs, we can’t ever know for sure why they do the things they do. But we can be reasonably sure that ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ-ᴘ.ᴏ ᴏ.ᴘ-eating behavior often occurs because of one of the following reasons:
- Nutritional ᴅᴇꜰɪᴄɪᴇɴᴄɪᴇs. Some nutritional ᴅᴇꜰɪᴄɪᴇɴᴄɪᴇs can trigger dogs to consume strange items in an attempt to obtain the nutrients they require. For example, ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ꜰᴇᴄᴇs is often rich in fiber and B-complex vitamins.
- Hᴜɴɢᴇʀ. A hungry dog may try just about anything that smells vaguely food-like, and some dogs appear to simply like the taste.
- Pɪᴄᴀ. Pɪᴄᴀ is a condition in which dogs consume inedible (or mostly inedible) items. This problem can be caused by ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs, but it can also result from ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜʟsɪᴠᴇ ᴅɪsᴏʀᴅᴇʀs.
- Humans tend to explore our world via our sense of sight, but dogs tend to use their senses of taste and smell instead. So, when they encounter a small pile of ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ, they give it a taste.
Of course, while it isn’t a very satisfying answer, it is always important to remember that dogs do weird things – just like their owners (although, hopefully, your weird behaviors don’t include scavenging ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ from the yard).
Is Eating Ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ Dᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs for Dogs?
Ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ꜰᴇᴄᴇs is generally not dᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs for dogs. However, we should do what we can to prevent them from eating it.
If nothing else, ꜰᴇᴄᴇs can conceivably serve as a food source for bacteria and other ᴍɪᴄʀᴏsᴄᴏᴘɪᴄ ᴘᴀᴛʜᴏɢᴇɴs, which may make your dog sɪᴄᴋ.
For that matter, your dog’s slobber ends up all over you and everything you own during the course of daily life, so it just seems prudent to keep ᴘ.ᴏ ᴏ.ᴘ out of his mouth.
But with all that said, ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ isn’t terribly likely to make your dog sɪᴄᴋ. Most parasites and ᴘᴀᴛʜᴏɢᴇɴs found in ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ are relatively species-specific and not capable of ɪɴꜰᴇᴄᴛing dogs.
Despite the fact that ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ is tyPɪᴄᴀlly harmless to dogs, you should always contact your vet if:
- Your dog eats ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ and starts experiencing ᴅɪᴀʀʀʜᴇᴀ
- Your dog eats ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ and begins ᴛʜʀᴏᴡɪɴɢ ᴜᴘ
How to Stop a Dog from Eating Ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ?
Unfortunately, there aren’t many easy and effective ways to curtail your canine’s ᴘ.ᴏ ᴏ.ᴘ-eating behavior. But the following strategies may prove helpful:
Teach your dog a “drop it” or “leave it” command. Even if you supervise your dog in the backyard, you’ll need to be able to stop him from eating ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ if he’s not within arm’s reach. So, be sure he learns a “leave it” or “drop it” command and practice it frequently.
Supervise your dog when he’s outside. I know it can be a hassle to accompany your dog every time he goes in the backyard to play or answer nature’s call, but it will help reduce the chances of your dog consuming ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ ᴘ.ᴏ.ᴏ.ᴘ (or anything else that may be dᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs in the backyard).
Use a muzzle. If you’re unable to accompany your ᴘ.ᴏ ᴏ.ᴘ-eating dog every time he goes outside, you may simply need to fit him with a muzzle. There are a number of great dog muzzles on the market, and you can also make a DIY muzzle of your own.
Try to exclude the ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs from your yard. It isn’t always easy to exclude ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs from your land, but you can do things like removing preferred food sources and placing solid barriers around the perimeter of your property. Also, try to eliminate brush piles and other hiding places ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs will use.
Work with a canine behaviorist if you suspect that your dog is suffering from Pɪᴄᴀ. If your dog’s ᴘ.ᴏ ᴏ.ᴘ-eating habits seem to be caused by Pɪᴄᴀ, make an appointment with your vet to ensure he isn’t suffering from any ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs and contact a canine behaviorist to address the issue.