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Why Are Dog Poo Bags Dangerous To Horses?

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The law requires dog owners to pick up their dogs’ waste and dispose of it correctly, but some people don’t care and are happy to flout the law. If everyone were aware of the potential consequences of their laziness, they might feel more inclined to act responsibly. But then again, they might not!
In Warlingham recently, two horses died due to passers-by throwing dog poo bags into their field. As horses are grazers, they eat throughout the day and can sometimes, unfortunately, eat things that are harmful to them.

What Happens if a Horse Eats a Dog Poo Bag?

An autopsy taken from a horse which died after ingesting poo bags revealed that its stomach was full of them. Clearly, dog walkers had irresponsibly discarded many such bags. The problem with poo bags is that both the plastic and the contents are potentially hazardous.

The Dangers of Plastic

Plastic poo bags are not biodegradable and so any of these bags that people throw into fields present a danger to wildlife. The plastic is toxic to many animals and any small creatures which find their way into the bags can easily suffocate.

Plastic isn’t digestible either and so the bags linger in horses' guts and will eventually lead to impactions and blockages. Horses are unable to vomit and so cannot expel indigestible material from their bodies. They could also simply choke on the plastic.

The Dangers of Dog Poo

Many people are not aware of how hazardous to health faeces really are. For example, just 1 gram of dog faeces contains around 23 million faecal bacteria, most of which are harmful to all other animals. The poo immediately begins to decompose causing the bacteria to prosper and pathogens to develop. These are then ingested by the horse when they eat the bags and enter their digestive system.

Horses can die after eating poo bags, not just because the bags block their digestive tracts but because they are essentially being poisoned.

Why do Horses Eat Poo Bags?

Horses are herbivores and are attracted to a potential source of food by the scent. Dog faeces have a high cereal content due to the cereals in many dog foods and so may smell appealing to horses. Unfortunately, the horses would not recognise the smell of the plastic and will not understand that it isn’t part of the poo!

Responsible Dog Walking

Dog owners really do need to be responsible about disposing of waste. Nobody enjoys picking up poop but it goes with the territory. Dog walkers should always carry poo bags in their pockets, then dispose of the used poo bags in the next available bin or take them home.

There are also many different accessories you can invest in nowadays to help transport poo bags. For example, there are dog poo bag holders that attach to leads to make the used bags harder to leave behind.

Dog owners you have no excuse!


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