At the same time you start thinking: “Why Does My German Shepherd Eat His or Her Poop?”, you’re probably thinking about all the places your GSD sticks their mouth and tongue afterwards.
It’s not a pleasant habit, and it’s certainly not sanitary.
Safe to say….It’s something that needs fixing, and quick!
We’ve put together an informational article with potential reasons and fixes for the issue you might consider.
If you think the issue is serious enough, always seek a vet’s advice.
Why Does My German Shepherd Eat His Or Her Poop?
There are a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might eat its poop, also known as coprophagia.
These range from evolutionary reasons, to reasons within it’s immediate environment.
Breathe a sigh of relief though, because there are also a number of things you might consider to minimize this behavior and quick.
7 Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Dog or Puppy Eats Its Own Poop
1) It’s A Natural And Instinctive Behavior
Firstly, prior to domestication, dogs were scavengers. They would eat whatever they could to survive, including their own poop and the poop of other animals if they had to.
Secondly, dogs have a tendency to follow the leader of a pack. As part of the hierarchical behavior, a submissive dog may sometimes eat the poop of a dominant one .
Lastly, a big part of the way a puppy investigates the world around it is to sniff and taste everything around them…poop, is one of those things! Seeing as though dogs don’t have hands, they make use of their mouths instead!
2) Behavioral Problems, Nutritional Imbalances or Physical Illness
If your GSD is eating its own faeces, it may be a sign it is not absorbing enough nutrients from the food it is being fed, it may have parasites or it has issues with its pancreas.
There are a number of reasons your GSD may eat it’s own faeces due to physical illness.
3) Stress and Anxiety
If you leave your German Shepherd alone for long periods, and do this consistently, it will be susceptible to separation anxiety and stress. It is something that affects all breeds, but GSDs in particular.
In this instance, your GSD may engage in displacement behaviors such as barking, chewing furniture and eating its own poop.
In simple terms, it does this as a coping mechanism for feeling lonely.
German Shepherds are extremely intelligent, curious and active by nature.
Even if you are at home regularly, you still need to interact with your GSD and ensure it has outlets for its mental and physical requirements.
A bored GSD may eat its poop because it is lacking stimulation and has literally run out of things to do in its environment.
Some GSDs like the taste or smell of faeces. Dogs’ primary senses are their taste and smell, and faeces may provide a strong sense for them in this regard, especially as a puppy.
This is not as much an issue when your GSD is a puppy and still exploring the world, but if it continues to favor this behavior as it grows over say chewing on a bone, there is cause for concern.
6) Keeping I’ts Environment Clean
Some dogs, especially mothers, like to keep their environment clean and organized. Your GSD may be eating it’s poop because it feels its living environment is unclean and disorganised.
Alternatively, your GSD may recognize its owner gets angry when it makes a mess. Your GSD may eat its poop to clean up after itself and avoid your anger or discipline.
7) Copycat Behavior
From when they are puppies, GSD’s will learn what is acceptable habits in their environment.
If your GSD sees you picking up its poop, it may assume you want it to do the same.
5 Ways You Can Stop Your German Shepherd Dog or Puppy From Eating His or Her Poop
1) Clean your German Shepherd’s Poop Up Regularly
A weekly clean up of your GSD’s immediate living environment and outside yard should be sufficient.
2) A Nutritionally Balanced Diet
You want to ensure that you are meeting all of your German Shepherd’s nutritional requirements daily. Always check with your vet when it comes to your GSD’s health, but a good diet will involve among other things good animal protein sources.
3) Keep Your German Shepherd Stimulated
Spend time with your GSD, exercise him or her regularly and give it ways to keep stimulated while you are at work or out of the house.
Daily walks, toys and bones to chew on are great ways to do this.
4) Training and Obedience
Train your GSD to recognize and stay away from negative behaviors.
Proper potty training and positive re-enforcement are important. Don’t berate your GSD if you find him or her sniffing around their poop.
If you do find this happening, consider calmly but sternly ordering your GSD to a spot away from the poop with the help of a treat or toy. Clean up the poop immediately afterwards.
5) Regular Vet Checks
Ensure you take your GSD for regular vet checks to ensure it is healthy and free of illness or disease.
If you have noticed your GSD has been eating it’s poop or that of other animals, notify your vet so they can make the proper diagnosis and subscribe appropriate help.
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