Why Do Dogs Eat Horse Poop? A Natural Snack Or Toxic Treat?

Why do dogs eat horse poop? There are various reasons why your dog may eat other animal poop, including that of horses. Horses poop may have traces of undigested corn that your dog will scent and help himself to what could be classed as an extra meal or treat. Some dogs will enjoy the taste as it has high levels of protein.
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Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Horse Poop?


Having our dogs listen to us all the time would make life far too easy, wouldn't it? When out on walks, it is not uncommon for our dogs to pick up or find something that they shouldn't have, one of these being horse/livestock poop. Sometimes the temptation to eat it is far more exciting than any treats we can offer. However, a dog owner needs to know that horse manure can contain Ivermectin, a toxin that is poisonous to dogs. 

What is Ivermectin? 

Cattle, Sheep and Horse worming treatments contain the toxin; Ivermectin. Most livestock worming treatments contain Ivermectin. This toxin is passed through their manure for several days after the treatment. The consumption of Ivermectin in large doses can be dangerous to dogs, and their behavior must be closely monitored for 24-48 hours. Surprisingly, some dog worming treatments also contain the toxin. However, this treatment is always followed and administered by a professional veterinarian. 

Symptoms of Ivermectin toxicosis 

If you think your dog has consumed too much Ivermectin you should take precautionary measures. Ensure your dog's behavior is carefully monitored for 24 hours, if they show signs of the things below, seek help from your vet straight away.
  • Lack of spatial awareness (bumping into things)
  • Minimal/lack of movement 
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Vomiting 
  • Shivering or Tremors
  • Seizures

Treatment for Ivermectin toxicosis

If you believe your dog has developed Ivermectin toxicosis, then you should seek medical assistance from your veterinarian straight away. Although there is no medication to cure the toxicosis, seeking expert assistance with proper care tends to provide positive results. If your dog has consumed large doses of Ivermectin they may be hospitalized for 5-7 days. In some sporadic cases, dogs are put to sleep. 

What Is The Maximum Amount Of Ivermectin My Dog Can Consume Before It Causes A Toxic Reaction?


Of course, the ultimate goal would be for your dog to not consume any levels of unprescribed Ivermectin. However, we know our little furry friends can get up to mischief on their walks and sniff out the manure. There are some breeds of dogs that are more sensitive to Ivermectin than others due to a mutation in their multidrug resistance gene (ABCB1). Below is a table showing these susceptible breeds and the recommended prescription of Ivermectin. 

Breed of Dog

Maximum Level of Ivermectin to be Consumed

Border Collie
100micrograms per kilo of dogs weight
Australian Shepard
100micrograms per kilo of dogs weight
Long-Haired Whippet
100micrograms per kilo of dogs weight
Silken Windhound
100micrograms per kilo of dogs weight
Rough + Smooth Coated Collies
100micrograms per kilo of dogs weight
Mixed Breeds Including one of the above
100micrograms per kilo of dogs weight
All other breeds (non ABCB1 breeds)
200micrograms per kilo of dogs weight

How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Horse Poop? 


The two most successful training techniques I've found work best are the "leave it" command and positive reinforcement training techniques. 

The leave it command 

Follow these step by step instructions to help teach your dog the leave it method. 
  1. Introduce the leave it command - Start by holding a treat in your hand when your dog goes to take it, close your hand, and say, "leave it." 
  2. Rewarding - When your dog stops investigating, licking, or sniffing your hand, open your hand from its clenched fist position and reward your dog with praise and positivity. If they then try to get close to the treat again, stop praising and close hand. 
  3. From hand to the floor - Now, this is where the real fun begins. Move the treat to the floor; command your dog to "leave it." I find this works best when your dog is sitting. If your dog goes for the treat when not instructed to, place your foot over the treat and ask your dog to sit and leave it. 
  4. Outside environment - Your dog should be mastering the leave it method inside before going out—this step if following the same procedure as number 3 and applying it to an outside environment. 
  5. Apply the leave it method to manure - If you're out walking your dog and you approach a pile of manure, use the leave it command. If your dog responds, reward them with plenty of praise and a treat. If your dog does not respond, place them on the lead, followed by a loud "NO!". 

Rewarding positivity

This technique goes hand in hand with the leave it method. When your dog is leaving something (not just manure), you should follow this with plenty of praise and rewards. I found my retriever would love to pick up sticks and begin chomping on them, and we used this habit to teach him the leave it command. 



Why do dogs eat grass? 
Reasons for your dog eating grass include improving their digestion, treating any worm infections, or covering some unmet nutritional deficiencies, for example, fiber. Find out more information on why dogs eat grass!
Does pineapple stop dogs from eating poop?
Some people suggest that feeding your dog pineapple will make other animals poop become unappetizing and stop your dog from eating it. However, this is not true as some dogs will continue to eat it, even after being fed pineapple. 
Can dogs eat bananas? 
You may ask, are bananas good for dogs? They are, in fact, a very healthy treat and are rich in potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Bananas are a healthy alternative to a high fat, salty shop-bought treat. 
Can dogs eat Zucchini?
Yes, dogs can eat Zucchini. This healthy snack provides dogs with high levels of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Find out more about Zucchini, dogs and other healthy treat information!



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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.


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