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Hey Matt:

My friend Ian thinks that ingesting a chunk of human dookie will kill you and that half of dookie content is bacteria. Is this true?! I don�t believe it!

-- Snuggles, the net

Hi Matt:

I'm Ian, and I think that eating human poo will be fatal b/c of e. coliintake. What do you think?

-- Ian, with Snuggles

I think that dish of doodoo could be your last meal, and over dinner you can ask Snuggles why she thinks crap can't kill. Is it because it's stuff that's already been through our bodies, so how bad could it be? What a shame Jackass has been cancelled. Feces are mostly water. Maybe 25% of it is fats, mucus and liver secretions, dead cells, undigestables like tomato skins, celery strings, fingernails. Bacteria that gave their lives digesting the junk we eat. And bacteria that are still alive. There's the problem. Even if we don't order out-- even if we decide to dig into our own poo-- that stuff should be in our intestines, not our stomachs. E. coli is good and necessary, but not for lunch. So even if there's no giardia or hepatitis or other mean wildlife in there, doodoo is dangerous. There's actually no guarantee that you'd get deathly ill. Poo has been eaten; lives have not been lost. But it's just not worth the risk. Besides, what wine goes with poop?

Heymatt:

Recently you discussed the hazards of humans eating their own poo. Well, what about dogs? Do dogs have more durable digestive tracts than you or I, or do they just ignore the danger?

-- Jeff, Tierrasanta

Hmmmm. Yes, dogs are smart-- but I'm trying to imagine Rex contemplating a turd and wondering, "Should I? Shouldn't I? Bacteria? Worms? What are the risks?" Dogs love eating poop, and they run the same risks people would. Their digestive systems aren't especially pooproof. Vets aren't positively positive why dogs eat poop, but they're willing to speculate. Mother dogs commonly consume their pups' excretions, perhaps a holdover from the days when doing that would protect them from predators. So they might learn it very early. Mom also has to lick their butts to get them to urinate and defecate, maybe the origin of another doggie habit that people don't like. One vet suggested that if the dog that left the deposit had a very tasty diet, he'd have irresistibly tasty poo. Or some nutritional deficiency could encourage a doodoo diet. To a dog, poop, apparently, is just another snack on the big green lawn of life.

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