Why do dogs eat horse poop?

In this brief discussion, we will answer the question “Why do dogs eat horse poop?” We will also talk about whether it is dangerous for dogs and how to train a dog to not eat horse poop.

Why do dogs eat horse poop?

There are several reasons why dogs are attracted to manure. We have pointed out some of the usual explanations for your dog’s behaviour as follows:

Dogs like the taste of horse poop

Horse excrement may not smell good to you, but dogs are attracted to it by its strong odour, so your dog will aggressively seek it out.

This is especially true when you consider the types of foods that horses enjoy eating, which include grass, hay, fruit, vegetables, seeds, grains, bulbs, and berries—all of which you’ve definitely seen your dog consume before.

To serve their curiosity

As a part of exploring their environment, pups and young dogs will consume horse faeces. Puppies are extremely similar to human newborns in that they both like to put objects in their mouths to see what they are.

Puppies who worry about where their next meal is coming from will frequently try to consume everything in sight before it is taken away, which is another aspect of scavenging behaviour. 

Dogs might even engage in such behaviour to get their owner’s attention.

For nutrition

Dogs enjoy eating horse manure and excrement because their diets are deficient in certain nutrients. This may involve things like an enzyme or nutritional deficiency.

The nutrient deficiencies force them to consume horse dung. Because of what they graze on, the horses consume a diet that is high in enzymes and partially digested proteins. Since not all canines consume these substances, their bodies will look for them elsewhere.

For self-medication

As a form of self-medication, dogs will also consume horse dung.

For instance, parasitic dogs frequently turn to excrement as a form of self-medication. Your dog may lose nutrients due to parasites, and your dog may mistakenly believe that horse excrement, which is frequently rich in it, will provide those nutrients.

Your dog might just be hungry.

Finally, it could just be that your dog is hungry. Make sure your dog has eaten a meal or that you have some alternate food on hand before taking them to a place where there is a high likelihood that they will ingest horse manure.

Is it safe for dogs to eat horse poop?

No, it is not safe for dogs to eat horse poop for a number of reasons. The digestive system of dogs can benefit from the enzymes and partially digested protein found in the faeces of herbivores, including horses, cows, and other animals that eat, well, herbs or grasses. 

Nature may be telling your dog to give their upset stomach some horse probiotics to calm them down. However, this does not mean that you should encourage dogs to eat horse poop. 

A small amount would not cause much harm but there is a chance of toxicity from chemicals in worming drugs that are excreted in the faeces, therefore dog owners should avoid giving it to their animals. 

Keeping your dog healthy and happy requires a variety of different actions. And although there are a few concerns associated with horse faeces, it is usually best to keep your dog away from their just discovered brown treat.

Why is horse manure dangerous for dogs?

A substance called ivermectin, which is effective against a wide variety of parasites across a range of species, is frequently used in horse deworming medications. Additionally, it is used to deworm sheep and cattle. 

Some dog deworming treatments available outside of the UK contain the chemical, but only in extremely low dosages that are safely administered under a veterinarian’s supervision. Horse and livestock worming medications include a much higher quantity of ivermectin, which can persist in excrement for days after the animal has taken the medication. 

Dogs that consume it run the risk of becoming toxic, however, the risk varies depending on the breed, the time the animals were treated, and the amount consumed.

How can one train dogs not to eat dog manure?

Dogs are exposed to and consume horse dung because of their environment, thus controlling this tendency will require careful work and supervision.

It will be necessary to take firm command of your dog with voice instructions in order to implement the “leave it,” “look at me,” and “down-stay” orders to regulate their behaviour when consuming horse excrement. 

To teach these alternative habits, you will require rewards. To associate anything bad with the behaviour, you can also employ a training collar or a noise-making device. When using an electric collar, exercise caution and utilise the least amount of stimulation necessary to elicit a response from your dog. 

In case of any confusion or advice, get in touch with your veterinarian or a dog trainer for expert advice.


We answered the question “Why do dogs eat horse poop?” We also talked about whether it is dangerous for dogs and how to train a dog to not eat horse poop.