Expert: Why Dogs Eat Poop

Excrement, poop, whatever you call it, we can all agree it stinks, and it’s gross– so why do dogs eat it? Dog cognition researcher Dr. Alexandra Horowitz explains, “Smell is just information for them. The same way that we open our eyes and we see the world — it’s visual information. We’re not making judgments about everything we see. ‘Is that good? Is that bad? Is that good? Is that bad?’ We’re just like, ‘That’s a plant. That’s what that is.'” Additionally, in addition to the nose itself, dogs have an olfactory organ that humans lack: the “vomeronasal” organ. This organ is capable of detecting pheromones and other chemical messages communicated within a particular animal species. In order to get that information, dogs must absorb some of the molecules, which Horowitz says they might get by consuming some of the excrement. She adds, “If you were doing it like a scientist, you would just get a very small amount [of poop], put it on the roof your mouth, allow it to be absorbed into the vomeronasal organ, and then get the information about the hormones and so forth, but dogs don’t have that equipment.” (Business Insider