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…)
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?
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.
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.