You’re walking near the lake with your dog and suddenly noticed that your pup is stopped to chew on something only to find out they picked up some goose poop!
Many dog owners can tell you the tales of their dogs trying to eat the strangest things. Whether it’s an animal’s poop (like a cow), sticks found on the ground, a piece of garbage, or even a live lizard your dog might try to eat anything it can find!
But, you can’t help but wonder, “Why does my dog eat goose poop?” and then, “How can I stop my dog from eating goose poop?”
There are various reasons why your dog might eat goose poop. Some of those reasons may include feeling curious, feeling hungry, or simply liking the taste. Your dog might also eat goose poop for nutrient-related reasons like having nutrient or enzyme deficiencies.
Your dog can eat goose poop for other reasons as well. Let’s take a deeper dive into the reasons mentioned before along with some other ones!
Reason 1: Your Dog Likes The Taste Or Smell
Your dog might eat goose poop because they like the taste. They might even just like the smell!
A dog’s sense of taste and smell is very different from a human’s. We can tell just by looking at and getting a small whiff of their food! While our dogs’ food might smell and taste great to them, humans would tend to disagree!
Dogs might eat goose poop because, to them, it can taste amazing! Think of it like how different people have different opinions on foods.
Our pups are also not aware that goose poop is goose poop! They might think that it’s just another tasty thing to eat and not realize that it’s another animal’s waste!
Reason 2: Your Dog Is Feeling Curious
Dogs often act like human babies and children. They have a lot of things in common like wanting attention and even strange things like grabbing your arm by their mouth, which veterinarians suggest is usually playful.
Your dog might eat goose poop because they are curious!
Dogs process the world around them often using their senses of taste and smell. Puppies, like babies, will put strange things in their mouths just to find out more about objects. If you recently got a four-legged baby member of the family, they are experiencing things for the first time and will often try to pick everything up to taste it.
Curiosity is normal for all dogs. Like humans, if they see something they haven’t seen before, they want to check it out!
The goose poop laying next to the sidewalk might not be a normal part of your daily routine, so your dog might be feeling curious as to what it is. That’s when they go in to sniff it or even get a little taste of it to find out whether they like it or not!
Check out this video of a curious pup using their senses of smell and taste to form their own thoughts on a lemon:
Reason 3: Your Dog Is Trying To Replace Nutrients Or Enzyme Deficiencies
Just like other animals and humans, dogs need certain amounts of certain nutrients. While they might not seem to realize it, dogs have different ways of making sure they get enough of those nutrients.
Your dog might eat goose poop because of nutrient or enzyme deficiencies.
Different dogs need different amounts of nutrients. However, there are different ways dogs can get those nutrients, including eating goose poop!
Goose poop contains enzymes and proteins that the goose might not have needed at the moment. Using their sense of smell and combining that with the taste of the goose poop, your dog will find the goose poop to gain those enzymes and other nutrients.
Dogs have other strange ways of trying to replace nutrients and fight enzyme deficiencies. If you notice that your dog is eating dirt as well, they are most likely nutrient deficient.
Reason 4: Your Dog Is Feeling Hungry
It’s normal to want a treat once in a while when going for walks around the block or near the lake. However, that snack isn’t always available to your dog when they want it!
Your dog might eat goose poop because they are hungry.
Goose poop isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about having a snack. However, it may be the only thing available to your dog when going around for a walk!
When just looking at it, goose poop can look like food to your dog and can be convincing to eat. They might look for anything that looks like food on their walk to feed their hunger before moving on. Similarly, you might find your dog eating rabbit poop for the same reason that it looks like kibble!
Check out this adorable pup getting “hangry” when their human won’t give them more food:
Reason 5: Your Dog Thinks It’s A Treat
While you might know it, your dog doesn’t understand that that thing on the ground is actually waste from another animal and not some food buffet left out for them! They might simply be eating goose poop because it looks like a treat! As mentioned before, your dog might do the same with rabbit poop for the same reason.
Treats are an owner’s way to show their dog how much they love them. However, how many treats is too many?
When thinking about how many treats to give to your dog, it is recommended that you follow the “10% rule.” That is, 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. You can read this article from the American Kennel Club for more information.
Reason 6: Your Dog Has The Instinct To Protect The Pack
Believe it or not, eating poop may be an instinct passed down to your dog from their wolf ancestors!
Your dog might eat goose poop because of their instinct to protect the rest of the pack.
According to Dr. Stanley Coren, a canine psychologist, an animal that eats poop is called coprophagic.
In this article also by Dr. Coren, a wolf would leave the den to poop so that the parasite eggs do not hatch in the den and spread to the others. However, a sick wolf or one that cannot leave the den will poop in the den and then eat it. This is because the parasite eggs have not hatched yet and are not dangerous.
If you notice that your dog is eating the poop of other animals besides geese, this may be the case. Your dog is instinctively protecting others!
Reason 7: Your Dog Has Parasites
Relating to the idea mentioned above, this may be a reason why your dog feels the need to take in more nutrients.
Your dog might eat goose poop because they have parasites.
Parasites can be scary things. They latch onto your pup for their own nutrients, leaving your dog deficient in them. Parasites are often the reason people don’t want their pets near when on walks and are one of the reasons why picking up your dog’s poop is important.
How could your dog get parasites?
If your dog is coprophagic, they may have eaten the poop of another animal, such as a goose, that contained parasite eggs.
Different parasites can have different effects on your pup. Most of the parasites that many dogs face are different types of worms such as hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. They are often found in the waste of animals such as goose poop.
Each has its own similar and different effects on your dog so it is a good idea to do some research. If you suspect or are worried that your dog has parasites, contact your veterinarian.
Is This Behavior Something To Worry About?
Your dog eating goose poop can be a nasty thing, but it can also be dangerous for your pup. They can ingest parasites or other unwanted diseases that could be found in the poop.
Eating goose poop can also be a sign of missing nutrients which could either be a sign of the parasites mentioned before or that your dog needs a change in diet.
Overall, having your dog eat goose poop is not something you want them to do. One second they’re eating poop, the next, they’re liking your face! It isn’t a pleasant thought and it’s a good idea to find a way to stop them from eating more goose poop in the future!
How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Goose Poop
While it is normal for our dogs to want to eat strange things, we do not always want them to actually eat them! Goose poop can have some negative effects on your dog or it might be a sign that your dog needs something as previously mentioned.
Your dog probably doesn’t care about it, but you might find yourself thinking, “How can I stop my dog from eating goose poop?”
Here are a couple of options on how to stop your pup from eating that nasty poop.
Visit Your Veterinarian
If you have any comments, questions, or concerns about your pup, the best person to go to is your veterinarian! After many years of learning about our pets, they can tell you possible reasons why your dog is eating goose poop and what the cause could be, especially if you suspect the reason to be a parasite.
The vet will ask questions, check up on your dog, and possibly even run some tests. Gaining a positive relationship with your veterinarian can ensure that your dog is in good hands. There are many great vets out there!
Contact A Nutritionist
If you or your veterinarian has suspected a nutrient or enzyme deficiency, it may be beneficial to contact an animal nutritionist. They are experts in how to feed your animals and can give advice as to what and how much to feed your dog.
They may recommend switching dog food or suggest certain supplements that can help your pup.
Interestingly, different diets have their own pros and cons for animals as certain diets do for humans. Here’s a research study done on different “home-prepared diets” for both dogs and cats to show that each one has a different deficiency and that it really depends on the individual on what diet is best suited for them.
Use Positive Reinforcement And Training
Your dog might eat goose poop for no serious reason, but you want to stop this nasty behavior! Training is a great place to start!
Positive reinforcement is the method of using a reward to encourage a behavior. It is used by many dog trainers. An example of positive reinforcement is teaching a puppy how to sit on command. The wanted behavior is sitting and the command is, “sit.” Every time the puppy sits on command, they are given a treat as a reward. Eventually, the puppy will sit on command because they know you’ll give a reward.
Using positive reinforcement and patience can teach your dog a lot! Teaching your dog to “leave it” can be very useful the next time your dog decides to eat goose poop!
Walk After Eating
If you walk your dog before their feeding time, your dog will most likely be hungry as well. When hungry, your dog might go for anything that resembles food, including goose poop. In a way, it is similar to people going grocery shopping when hungry; they’ll buy more food than they should!
Feeding your dog before going for walks or walking your dog at times farther from their feeding time can help prevent your dog from eating goose poop.
If changing the feeding time or walking time doesn’t fit your schedule, you can also try to bring some treats in a small treat pouch on your walks. Not only will this help your dog’s hunger, but you can also use those treats for working on some training like leash walking or heel!
Take A Different Route
The most common place to find geese and goose poop is near a lake. While it can be a beautiful view, the idea of your dog eating goose poop isn’t as pretty.
The easiest fix is to avoid the goose poop!
Every once in a while, try to change your route. Your dog might be expecting the poop on the side of the sidewalk and reach for it before you can even stop them.
You can also completely avoid that area where the goose poop is found and prevent it from happening there! However, this does not stop your dog from eating goose poop in a different area.
Keep Your Dog On A Leash
Leashes are not only mandatory in many places, but they are also a great way to monitor your dog from picking up unwanted things!
Using a leash can help you guide your dog around or away from the goose poop that they might find to be appetizing! There are leashes of different sizes, materials, colors, and lengths. They don’t have to restrict your dog, they are an accessory to help your pup from straying away.
Eating goose poop might seem like just another strange thing your dog does, but it can mean a lot more. Dogs can’t use words and tell us what’s wrong or what they are thinking. However, they use their action and body language to communicate with us. Understanding why our dogs do what they do can tell us a lot about what they need and what they are trying to tell us.
Better understanding between you and your dog can lead to a stronger relationship and a healthy life together!