My Dog Ate Goose Poop and Seems Fine – What Should I Do?

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Key takeaways: 

  • Goose poop often contains bacterial pathogens and protozoan parasites that can infect dogs.
  • Small quantities of goose poop may cause an upset stomach and vomiting.
  • If your dog eats goose poop and has more than mild digestive upset, call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment.
  • When dogs eat lots of goose poop or snack on it repeatedly, they’re more vulnerable to bacterial or protozoal infection.

You’ve probably had your dog snarf up some strange things when you walk her. Canines explore the environment with their mouths, and they’re scavengers. But what happens when your pooch finds goose poop and eats it?

Many times, your dog will be fine if he eats goose poop. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The feces from these birds can contain protozoan parasites or bacteria that may make your furbaby terribly sick. 

If your dog eats goose poop, monitor him closely for the next few days. Don’t panic if he has an upset stomach and vomits a little bit, But if you observe additional signs like loss of appetite, lethargy, or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian. 

How Much Goose Poop is Harmful to Dogs?

In most cases, a little goose poop won’t harm your dog or may only make him mildly sick. But, feces from these birds can contain bacterial pathogens Salmonella along with protozoal parasites like Cryptosporidium and Giardia. For healthy adult canines, small quantities of these pathogens are killed by stomach acid.

If your dog is immune compromised, regularly snacks on droppings, or eats a pile of goose poop, the pathogens can make him extremely sick. Depending on which microbes affect your pooch, he may show symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy/fatigue
  • Fever

Any time you discover your pup is munching goose poop and starts showing signs like diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy, call your veterinarian and schedule an exam.

Usually, a little goose poop will not hurt healthy dogs. But when dogs have weak immune systems or eat lots of goose feces, they can get very sick because the poop often contains bacteria and protozoan parasites that are pathogenic to dogs.  

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Goose Poop?

If you have a healthy adult dog that ate some goose poop, watch him for signs of illness. While it’s normal for some dogs to vomit a few times after ingesting the feces, continual vomiting or other symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and diarrhea may be signs of an infection. Contact your veterinarian if you see any concerning symptoms.

Because dogs usually encounter goose poop when they’re on a walk or outside, you should also take measures to prevent your pup from eating any feces. If geese are going to the bathroom in your yard, clean up the droppings regularly. Consider changing your walking route to avoid areas that geese frequent. You should also teach your dog the “leave it” command to distract him when he comes across goose droppings. 

If your dog ate goose poop, observe him for signs of illness. When there are symptoms beyond mild vomiting, call your veterinarian. In the future, take measures to prevent your dog from eating more goose poop. Consider changing your walking route, cleaning the yard of any goose feces, and teaching your pup to “leave it.”

What Should I Do Immediately If My Dog Becomes Ill After Eating Goose Poop?

If you catch your dog eating goose poop, immediately remove him from the area to prevent access. As long as your dog only has a mildly upset stomach and some vomiting after eating goose poop, it’s not time to panic. However, you should watch him to see if any other signs emerge. 

When your pooch has a fever, appears lethargic, stops eating, or develops diarrhea after eating goose poop, call your veterinarian and schedule an exam. The doctor can run fecal cultures and check for parasites. Once he makes a diagnosis, he’ll be able to treat your dog appropriately. 

If your dog has a mild upset stomach and some vomiting after eating goose poop, don’t panic. Watch him for other symptoms of illness. When you observe signs like loss of appetite and lethargy, you should schedule a veterinary exam to diagnose the problem and start treatment.

What If My Dog Ate Plenty of Goose Poop But Seems Fine?

Your dog stumbled on a field full of goose poop and had a feast, but he’s acting normally. Are you out of the woods? Not necessarily. 

Dogs may not exhibit signs of illness immediately after eating goose poop. In the case of bacteria, the incubation period can take 12-72 hours before infection sets in. Infections from protozoan parasites may not manifest for 10 days to 3 weeks. 

The best thing you can do is monitor your furbaby for signs of fatigue, lethargy, diarrhea, and anorexia. Meanwhile, take steps to prevent your pup from eating any more goose poop.

Dogs don’t always show signs of illness from eating goose poop right away. Bacterial infections can take over 12 hours to develop and infections from protozoan parasites may not emerge for 10 days to 3 weeks. Monitor your dog for symptoms of illness and stop him from eating any more poop.

Signs of Illness After Eating Goose Poop

The signs of illness your dog exhibits after he eats goose poop vary depending on the type of infection he develops. Most of the symptoms are associated with the gastrointestinal tract.

Signs of Salmonella Infection

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Mucus in stool
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Elevated heart rate

Signs of Protozoan Parasites in Dogs

Signs that your pooch picked up Giardia or Cryptosporidium include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Foul-smelling gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Fever

The signs of illness your dog manifests after eating goose poop will vary depending on the type of disease he contracts. Most of the symptoms relate to the gastrointestinal system and include diarrhea, loss of appetite, and vomiting.

What Happens When Dogs Eat Goose Poop?

Usually, the acid in your dog’s stomach will kill the pathogens found in goose poop. Even when that happens, the foreign material in the gut can trigger mild digestive upset. Your dog may vomit to try to eliminate the strange substance.

If your pooch is immune-compromised or eats enough feces, the bacteria or protozoa can overwhelm the acid and infect the gut lining. When this happens, the microbes will multiply and proliferate causing illness.

When dogs eat goose poop, their stomach acid will usually kill the pathogens. However, if your pooch has a weakened immune system or eats a lot of feces, the bacteria or protozoa can survive the digestive juices and infect the gastrointestinal lining. 

Why Is Goose Poop Dangerous to Dogs?

Goose poop is notorious for containing a variety of pathogenic organisms that can affect your dog and make him quite sick. The contents of the feces can trigger severe stomach and intestinal cramps and cause your pooch to vomit. If the bacteria or protozoa parasites that poop often carries survive your pup’s stomach acid and digestive enzymes, they can cause severe illness. When this happens, dogs usually stop eating, become lethargic, have protracted vomiting/diarrhea, and are at risk for severe dehydration. If your pup does not receive treatment and supportive care, he may die.

Goose poop carries pathogenic organisms that can infect dogs. The feces can cause digestive upset leading to vomiting. If the organisms infect your pooch, the symptoms can be severe enough to cause death.

 How Will My Vet Treat My Dog If He Eats Goose Poop?

If you notice your dog has vomiting, diarrhea, and other concerning symptoms after eating goose poop, you should take him to the vet. The doctor will start with a physical examination and run diagnostic tests including blood tests and fecal screening to find a diagnosis. Depending on your veterinarian’s findings, he will treat your pooch by:

  • IV fluids to treat/prevent dehydration
  • Corticosteroids to treat shock and inflammation
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Antiprotozoal or anthelmintic drugs for protozoan parasites
  • Antidiarrheal medications
  • Feeding a bland diet such as boiled rice and hamburger or chicken breast

When you take your dog to the vet, he will perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests. Depending on his findings, treatment may include antibiotics or antiprotozoal drugs, supportive care, and a bland diet.

How long is the recovery?

The recovery period for dogs that get sick from eating goose poop will depend on the type of infection or illness. If the feces trigger mild digestive upset, the symptoms should resolve in a day or two. Bacterial infections usually require at least 10 days to 2 weeks but may be more protracted in the case of Salmonella. With protozoan parasites, the recovery is generally about a week to 10 days depending on the severity of the infection. Dogs should be retested 2-4 weeks after the treatment to ensure the parasites are eradicated.

The recovery period for dogs varies depending on the type and severity of the infection. With bacteria, it usually takes at least 10 days to 2 weeks. Recovery from protozoan parasite infection generally takes a week to 10 days, but dogs should be retested about 2-4 weeks after the end of the treatment period.

The Final Woof

Fortunately, goose poop is not toxic to dogs, but it can contain dangerous pathogens. Most of the time, the canine digestive system kills bacteria and protozoan parasites found in goose feces, so the materials only cause mild digestive upset. But if your dog eats a lot of goose poop or regularly munches on the droppings, he can become very ill.

When dogs become infected with pathogenic bacteria or protozoan parasites found in goose poop, they may experience severe cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and other concerning symptoms. When this happens, you need to take your pup to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. The treatment varies depending on the type of infection your pup gets. Recover may take 1-2 weeks in most cases but may be more protracted with severe illness.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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