If your German Shepherd eats its poop then you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it could be happening and what you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd eat its poop? Possible causes are that it’s trying to satisfy nutritional deficiencies, it’s bored, it’s doing it for attention, it’s trying to make itself throw up or that it is stressed.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to understand why it does it. Depending on the cause there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd eats its poop
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd eats its poop will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why it might be doing it and the signs to look for.
German Shepherds would work with their owners on a daily basis doing intensive tasks. This means that they are supposed to get a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated.
If your German Shepherd isn’t getting much exercise then it could be causing it to get bored. If that is the case then it might start to look for ways to stimulate itself and one of those ways could involve eating its poop.
Generally, it is recommended that an adult German Shepherd get at least an hour of exercise per day. If you think that your German Shepherd might not be getting enough exercise then you should make sure that it does. You can look in the section below to see some ways that you can do so.
Worms and other parasites can cause nutrients to leach from a dog’s system (source). The reason that your German Shepherd does it might be to satisfy nutritional deficiencies this would be more likely if you have noticed that it tends to eat dirt as well.
If it has been getting hungry a lot more than usual then it would help to take it to a vet to make sure that worms are not the cause.
It could be that it has an illness that is causing it to eat unusual things to soothe its stomach. This would be more likely if it has been showing other signs of illness and it started to eat poop suddenly.
If illness does appear to be the cause then taking it to the vet would likely be the best option.
It likes the taste
It could just be that your German Shepherd likes the taste of poop. It could be that it wants to chew on something and poop is there available for it to eat and it’s not poisonous so it chooses to chew on that. This will be particularly pronounced if it’s in the teething phase.
It might be the case that stress is causing your German Shepherd to do things that it normally wouldn’t. This would be more likely if it has been showing other signs of being stressed such as pacing or whining a lot. It would also be more likely if it started doing it after something happened that could have caused it to become stressed.
It might be the case that it does it because it knows that it will get attention from you. This would be more likely if it seems to eat its poop when you have not been giving it much attention. It would also be more likely if your method to get it to stop doing it is to give it things that it wants such as treats.
To make itself throw up
It’s not uncommon for German Shepherds (and other dogs) to throw up after eating poop. This leads some people to think that they eat it due to having a stomach upset that they want to alleviate by throwing up.
However, some people disagree with this saying that dogs aren’t smart enough to do that and that most dogs don’t actually throw up when they eat poop.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop eating its poop it would help to have a good idea of what might be the cause. Below, I’ll mention a couple of particularly helpful things to consider.
When your German Shepherd first started to eat its poop
It would help to consider when it first started doing it. If your German Shepherd didn’t always do it and it started suddenly then it would make it more likely to be due to things such as illness, stress or boredom. It would help to consider what else happened at around that time as well.
If it has always done it then it would be more likely to be in its nature to do it. In this case, making an effort to keep it away from the poop would likely help the most.
When it does it
It would also help to consider the timing of when it eats its poop. For example, if it seems to only do it when you have not given it much attention then it would make it more likely that it does it due to boredom or wanting attention.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop eating poop
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to do it less.
By giving your German Shepherd lots of exercise you will be able to wear it out and reduce its curiosity in the taste of poop. You’ll also be able to keep your German Shepherd healthy and to reduce other unwanted behaviors such as destruction or attention-seeking.
You can give it exercise by walking it for an hour, by teaching it to play fetch or by getting a dog walker to do it for you.
Make sure that its diet is right
Since a poor diet might have something to do with it eating its poop it would help to make sure that it is eating the right foods. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your German Shepherd.
If you are unsure of what food to get for your German Shepherd, consider getting dog food designed specifically for German Shepherds. You can get a GSD specific dog food on Amazon here and one for GSD puppies on Chewy here.
Give it other things to chew on
Another option you have is to divert its attention away from eating poop. You can do this by giving it lots of toys that it can chew on. This will be especially helpful if your German Shepherd is in the teething phase where it naturally will want to chew on things.
Take it to a vet
If your German Shepherd is being sick regularly when it’s eating poop then you should consider taking it to the vet to make sure nothing is wrong. This behavior isn’t that uncommon so it’s not something to be overly concerned about if it is an otherwise healthy dog but it is worthwhile to double-check with a vet.
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