How come my dog can eat poop and not get sick

…but when I do it, I throw up all over the place and have to go to the hospital?

Okay, I don’t really eat poop, but what is so different about a dog’s and a human’s immune system that allows them to eat poop and garbage and rotting dead animals and not get sick?

dogs evolved as opportunistic carnivores; if you happen to find some animal originated substance then you eat it. they have short digestive systems so the food doesn’t stay long to cause danger and re-eating is useful.

people are omnivores and have a long digestive system. what you eat stays in there for a much longer time in order to digest it.

I wonder if the OP is correct. Would it actually necessarily make a healthy person sick, if they got over the revulsion factor? It seems there is a fetishistic niche for this sort of thing - I can’t believe that would be the case if it necessitated a long hurlathon in hospital.

(Yes I am replying to this thread while eating my lunch…)

One of their least endearing features is the ability to throw it all up and select the “good” bits to eat again…

Cats, too - they walk in the litterbox, then lick their feet clean. And, like dogs, they also lick their butts clean.

Well, there are all the warnings about the dangers of fecal bacteria. I’ve been thinking of starting a thread on this myself - why is it that human fecal bacteria are supposed to be so dangerous, when dogs and cats don’t seem to have any problems with ingesting theirs?

This is the Straight Dope, we must eradicate ignorance.

Alright, who is going to volunteer?

To take a rather extreme example, fecal transplants are used to fight persistent GI infections following antibiotic use by repopulating the gut with “good” bacteria. All it takes is a small stool sample from a healthy relative, which is introduced to the stomach by feeding tube. Really, most gut bacteria are harmless or even helpful. Some are opportunistic, and will cause nasty infections if they are not kept in check by your immune system. Serious pathogens are rare, thanks to modern sanitation and hygiene.

Extending this to straight up eating poo… if it’s from a healthy person, all you’re doing is smearing opportunistic bacteria to your mouth and gut. If you have cuts or a weak immune system that’s a recipe for nasty infections. Otherwise though, you might be OK.

There’s astraight dope column on the topic.

Stop reading now, if you’ve a weak stomach. Wait, if you did, how did you get this far?

At the zoo over the weekend, we witnessed one African Hunting Dog with extremely liquid diarrhea spray out a nice little pool, while the other dogs promptly ate it up off the ground.

Nothing like another’s partially digested meal, eh?

Didn’t make the other dogs sick, but I’m surprised that none of the visitors who saw it lost their cookies.

The Japanese have TV shows where they eat poop. Someone eats a large quantity of something and the person eating it has to guess what they ate. They don’t seem to have a problem with it.

No they fucking don’t. Do they? :eek:

Not sure if this applies to dogs, but vultures have additional adaptations allowing them to eat carrion more safely, among them stronger stomach acid:

Rummaging around, it looks like I might be onto something.

The Dog’s Digestive System [Warning: .pdf]

I think it’s kind of funny that the thing in this thread you think needs a WARNING is the fact that the link is a .pdf.

The human stomach has a pH of only 5? Not according to Wikipedia (and other online sources) which says it is around two, and it has to be that low in order for digestive enzymes to work (a pH of two is still significantly more acidic, by a factor of ten, than a pH of one because the scale is logarithmic).

Also here is a post from a similar thread in 2004 which says that scavengers do in fact get sick and even die from food poisoning but it is less common because they are more sensitive to really bad food. It also mentions the more acidic stomach in animals like vultures, but more significant is that many bacteria are not pathogenic or produce toxins:

(to amend the last sentence, think of all of the other “rotten” foods people eat every day; cheese and yogurt are rotten milk; alcoholic drinks are rotten fruits and grains; bread is inoculated with yeast, and so on)

As for eating feces, that is how tapeworms and other intestinal parasites spread, and I’m sure that a human eating their own feces wouldn’t get any disease that wasn’t already present.

I find it amazing that my dog can eat rabbit poo in the park and cat shit out of the litter box, yet she spent 48 hours at the vet’s on a drip last weekend for eating 5 mince pies. Raisins are poisonous but shit is not? The mind boggles.

Yeah, that can’t possibly be true. I’m sure not going to Google it at work though…

I think you meant pH 1 is more acidic.

This thread is doing nothing to improve my opinion of dogs as a group.

It also reminds me of the awesome diner scene from Pulp Fiction.

Hey, great post/username combo! :slight_smile:

Hey, whatever, a dog’s stomach is still considerably more acidic than a human’s, and able to kill bugs that we can’t.

I’ll say no, it’s not. Unless someone proves otherwise. Not to say that it may be some sort of scat porn, for which I won’t google even at home.

I have found two female subjects - all we need now is a suitable test receptacle.