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Eww, why does my German Shepherd eat poop?

Help me, PupVine… this is disgusting!

PupVine to the rescue!

To ease your thoughts immediately, let’s just say it’s a behavioral issue that can be curbed. But, how exactly do you do it?

Stay with me until the end to figure out this messy situation.

Why Does My German Shepherd Eat Poop?

dog breed German shepherd sniffing the grass tracksdog breed German shepherd sniffing the grass tracks

There are several reasons why your German Shepherd might eat poop, and we’ll explain them all in the following couple of paragraphs. When you’re done with reading, come back here to check how to deal with eating poop. 

He’s Bored

A lot of behavioral problems and quirks happen because a dog is bored. Oh, if only there was something to do about that boredom…

It’s not uncommon for dogs to eat poop. While we might find it gross, dogs that do this see nothing wrong in this behavior. But, it really is wrong.

If a dog eats his or any other animal’s feces out of pure boredom, something must be done. Believe it or not, this reason is one of the simplest ones, and it has a pretty simple solution. 

Play with your dog! Give him toys, mental stimulation puzzles, take him on daily walks… get him to lose that energy. When a dog has other things to focus on, he won’t be eating poop anymore. Also, make sure he’s not able to find any poop, especially if it’s in your own back yard.

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It’s A Cry For Attention

A woman with a dog are sitting on a self-isolation walk on the background of an autumn forestA woman with a dog are sitting on a self-isolation walk on the background of an autumn forest

German Shepherds are pretty loyal dogs, tightly connected with their owner. They enjoy cuddling and affection as much as any other lap dog, despite their size and tough looks. Every dog is a social creature. They need human interaction. What happens if they lack it?

Chances are, your German Shepherd will become desperate and search for ways to get your attention. Eating poop is one of them. I mean, if that doesn’t work out, nothing will!

Dogs tend to push our limits. They will do things they’re not supposed to just to see our reactions. But, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a natural behavior.

Your dog is expecting you to react somehow… yell at him, or scold him. However, that’s the wrong thing to do. Reaction will only cause more of this behavior. Ignore eating poop like… like it’s not eating poop, okay? Make it meaningless and your dog will drop this quirk soon.

He’s Hungry

Seriously… are you feeding your pup regularly? Do you know the proper feeding charts for a German Shepherd? Then, why is he still hungry after feeding?

German Shepherds might eat poop after meals if they’re hungry. This simply means you haven’t given your dog enough kibble. You should either increase the amount or change the brand because the current one obviously isn’t providing enough nutrients.

Unfortunately, there are cases where dogs starve, and they have to eat unusual things like poop, rocks, tree bark, etc. All we can do is pray for them.

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He’s Still Hungry

The reason why your dog STILL eats poop after feeding is because he’s STILL hungry. Why is that so? This mostly happens because the food you’re giving your German Shepherd is too high in fat content and too low in proper nutrients.

What your dog is trying to do is make up for the missing nutrients. It’s the same case as when kids eat walls or dirt. Their body is trying to make up for missing minerals and vitamins.

So, if you don’t notice any other reasons why your dog is eating poop, maybe a change of the diet would be helpful. I hear a GSD raw diet is super beneficial.

He’s Stressed Out

german shepherd lying downgerman shepherd lying down

Stress causes dogs to do a lot of uncommon things, including eating poop. What is worse, it causes dogs to do unexplainable things! 

Stressed out dogs are often fearful. Maybe your GSD did #2 inside and wants to hide the evidence by eating it. Maybe he’s covering for the other animals in the house because they’re such good boys.

The bottom line is watch how you react when your dog does something bad. Your reactions might be the reason for this behavior. If you’re truly a good dog owner, then look for other stress triggers.

He’s Hiding The Crime

Is your German Shepherd potty trained? Not completely? Maybe he’s experiencing potty training regression? Either way, your dog could be eating poop because he did #2 in the house and wants to hide the evidence.

Seriously, your German Shepherd is a super intelligent dog. He knows when he does something wrong. Pooping inside the house is completely wrong. To avoid being punished, your dog might eat his doo-doo. 

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I see a huge potential issue here. Ask yourself: why is your dog so frightened to receive punishment from you for pooping in the house? What did you do earlier to make him scared of you?

If you’re using physical punishments and scolding, look where it has led you: your dog is so scared that he poops in the house and then eats it!

He’s Imitating You

No, I really don’t think your GSD pup is imitating you because you eat poop, too. No, that’s gross. But, you do collect after your dog, don’t you?

Well, that’s what your dog imitates: you collecting the poop. And, that’s what your dog does! Your German Shepherd might not enjoy eating the poop: he’s just picking it up with his mouth. 

While it may be sweet that your GSD wants to help, this is no situation for needing help. Your dog could catch many bacteria that could lead to numerous infections and intoxications.

Separation Anxiety

Shot of an adorable german shepherd being trained by his owner in the park.Shot of an adorable german shepherd being trained by his owner in the park.

Ugh, separation anxiety… So many problems are caused by it! Unfortunately, so many dogs are experiencing this, maybe even your German Shepherd.

Problems with separation anxiety occur when a dog isn’t completely socialized or trained to stay at home alone. 

So, the moment you walk out of the door, your German Shepherd will be doing all kinds of weird things, including chewing, howling, barking, pacing around the house, going potty inside, and even eating his own poop.

Separation anxiety is an issue that must be addressed before it turns into depression or, not to mention, aggressive behavior. German Shepherds aren’t naturally aggressive, but a lot of factors, including anxiety, could lead to it.

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He Needs Space

Dogs really need their space, especially dogs like German Shepherds. They’re big and strong, and normally don’t fit into small apartments. The ideal living situation for a German Shepherd would be a house with a back yard.

It’s not uncommon for these dogs to exhibit the behavior of eating poop, especially if they’re rescue dogs. Unfortunately, such dogs are often stuck in tiny cages, and thanks to all the stress and boredom, they will begin eating their own feces. 

Normally, not every dog will do this, but still… Better to have it in mind.

Medical Reasons 

German Shepherd dog laying downGerman Shepherd dog laying down

Believe it or not, there are medical reasons behind your GSD eating the forbidden stuff, and we’re about to go through the most common ones!

Diabetes

Canine diabetes is a condition that occurs when a dog’s body can’t produce enough insulin. Blood sugar levels increase and cause dysfunction.

Dogs with diabetes often exhibit excessive hunger; thus, they try to eat poop to make themselves satisfied, and try to find out what their body is missing. 

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency is a condition that usually strikes German Shepherds. This disease is characterized by the lack of digestive enzymes. Your dog can’t digest food properly nor take the necessary nutrients from it.

You can notice the first signs of this condition if your dog starts having loose stools and you see undigested food in them.

While eating poop is normally a behavioral problem, if your GSD is eating poop and having exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, then he’s trying to make up for the lost nutrients.

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The Scientific Terms Behind Eating Poop

german shepherd in a forestgerman shepherd in a forest

There’s actually a scientific term that describes poop-eating behavior. In fact, there are three terms that will help you describe it:

  • Autocoprophagia (when a dog eats his own feces)
  • Interspecific coprophagia (when a dog eats human or other animals’ poop)
  • Intraspecific coprophagia (when a dog eats another dog’s poop)

To Sum Up…

Hey, now you don’t have to wonder why my German Shepherd eats poop anymore! Now you have to wonder how to stop it. 

The poop-eating behavior is nothing uncommon for dogs. All breeds do it, even our GSD buddies. In fact, wolves do it sometimes, too!

Eating poop is either a sign of stress, anxiety, boredom, or even hunger. But, as you could see, it can also be a sign of potential health problems.

So, before you scold your GSD for doing it, try to figure out what causes him to eat poop. Maybe it’s health-related! In that case, visiting the vet is in order.

By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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