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What should I do if my kid eats dog poop?

Asked by Ellie, Iowa

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My 10-month-old child was crawling outside a friend's house and got some dog poop in his mouth. I don't know how much he ate. What should I do?

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Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu Pediatrician,
Children's Medical Group

Expert answer

Thanks for your question. We hear similar reports not infrequently at my office. You would think that kids would avoid eating something if it smelled or tasted bad, but it's not necessarily the case.

The good news is, although it sounds bad, in my experience kids do fine after this sort of exposure. The first thing I would suggest is to wash your child's hands and face with soap and water and then rinse out his mouth thoroughly.

At my practice, we generally wouldn't recommend any other interventions at this point (such as preventive antibiotics) but instead suggest that you keep an eye on your child to see if he develops any sort of gastrointestinal symptoms like fever, diarrhea or stomach pain

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If any of these symptoms develop in the days or weeks that follow you might talk to your doctor about having your child's stool evaluated for an infection since dog poop may contain bacteria and sometimes parasites (such as roundworms, or Toxocara canis) that can cause illness in humans.

Finally, any time your child ingests something that is not food, it can be helpful to contact the poison center that serves your area by calling 1-800-222-1222 (a nationwide number in the U.S. that routes your call based on your area code) for guidance.

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