You brought home your German Shepherd pup and everything is going well. You’re already pretty sure that you’ve got a dog who is going to be loyal, loving, and an excellent family member. It’s not just the adorable face, it’s his behavior too. Then, one day when you least expect it, you walk into the living room and find your German Shepherd eating poop.
Doesn’t it make them really disgusting animals?
Dogs are scavengers by nature. Anything that they can get into their mouths is fair game, including feces. If your dog regularly ingests its own or another animal’s feces, it can be a sign of an underlying health condition known as coprophagia. Consumption of one’s own or others’ poo may develop into a serious health problem and an entrenched habit.
What is Coprophagia?
Coprophagia is classified as a type of pica, which is the consumption of substances that have no nutritional value. In addition to feces, dogs might also ingest paper, plastic, and grass among other things. The behavior can often be attributed to micronutrient deficiency or some kind of mental illness if the dog only ingests his own feces.
Why Does This Behavior Exist Anyway?
The answer is that nobody really knows for sure. There are a few theories, but no one has been able to say for certain which one is correct.
Some experts believe that the behavior is learned by observing the mother dog eating her puppies’ feces. This could be an instinctual way of keeping their den clean.
Others believe that the taste of poop is appealing to the dog because of the nutrients that they can get from it. They’re not likely to consume too much, but some dogs might. If this is the case, then changing their diet should help with training them out of this habit.
Your dog may be very smart, but if he or she learns bad habits from other dogs, it could end up being a big problem. You should train your dog to stop picking up poops from other dogs.
It is theorized that this behavior is an emulation of the behaviors of wolves’ ancient wolf ancestors. Older or injured wolves attempt to clean up their communal den areas by eating their feces. Because they are intuitively aware that the feces contain parasites, this is because they are aware that the feces contain parasite eggs.
In the wild, these animals live in packs and stick together. When there is nothing to eat, they eat whatever they find. Their instinctual behavior is now controlled by their owners. They are fed regularly and given plenty of nutrition. As a result, they do not need to scavenge for food. Instead, they eat what their owners give them.
If your dog is eating feces, it could be because he or she has a nutritional deficiency. Dogs do not possess the enzymes to digest many essential nutrients found in plant-based foods, which include fiber, carbohydrates, and certain vitamins and minerals. Although dogs may get some of these nutrients from their food, they can’t get all of them. In that case, adding the right supplement could help.
Most puppies eat poop because they’re hungry. A hungry dog, a dog that does not eat regularly, or a dog that is starving will be more likely to eat poop. Your dog may start eating poo if he’s malnourished. Signs include dull hair, bad breath, weakness or lethargy, changes in appearance, hair loss, or excessive shedding.
Feeding your dog a balanced and healthy diet will help him stay active and energetic. He needs plenty of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Dogs don’t have a genetic nutritional need for their feces. However, they might eat their feces if their diet is chronically deficient.
Stress is a common reason for behavioral problems in dogs. A dog under a lot of stress may eat his poop. In some cases, it could be a kind of soothing mechanism. Moreover, if someone punishes him for pooping, he may associate the punishments with the presence of poop. He might eat his own poop to remove the evidence.
A bored dog may try to relieve the monotony by eating poop. This breed is an energetic pup that is prone to separation anxieties if left alone too often, making it prone to picking up undesirable habits. These larger-sized dogs require more physical activity than smaller dogs do. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise and socialization throughout the day.
Your dog loves you very much, but he also needs your attention and love. He craves human affection and wants to make sure that he gets what he needs. If you’re giving your dog more attention when he eats poop, then that can actually reinforce the habit. This kind of behavior is often seen in young puppies and adolescents.
Should You Be Worried? Does Eating Poop Harm Dogs?
The short answer is no.
Many people who have this problem are very embarrassed by it because they feel that the behavior makes their pet seem dirty or disgusting. While the behavior isn’t very appetizing, it’s not likely to harm your dog. It just means you will want to keep a closer eye on them in the future and be sure that their diet is balanced.
However, there are some risks associated with consuming fecal matter. If a dog ingests too much feces, he can develop an infection in his stomach called gastroenteritis. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The best way to prevent this is by making sure your dog only eats what he should be eating.
Most dogs won’t get sick from eating their own poop. Some dogs do, though, and their owners should watch closely to see if there’s any change in behavior or appetite. Eating the feces of another animal is something you want to avoid, since it may contain bacteria and even parasites.
When To Take Your Dog To The Veterinarian Right Away
There are many different types of medical problems that could arise if your dog is eating poop. These include stomach ulcers, colitis, and even cancer. You should call your vet immediately if you notice any signs of diarrhea. Your dog may be suffering from some kind of intestinal disease or parasite.
In order to help your dog overcome this behavior, you should first try to understand what is causing it. You can then take steps to reduce the frequency of the problem. If you can determine why your dog is chewing on his or her own feces, you’ll know what steps to take to get him or her back on track.
How To Stop A German Shepherd Puppy Eating Poop!
Determine the cause of your dog’s behavior.
Some breeds, such as German shepherds and Siberian huskies, are more likely to be predisposed to coprophagia than others. You should watch your dog carefully to figure out the cause of this behavior so you can stop it before it becomes a serious problem.
Visit Your Veterinarian for a Complete Checkup
The first step you should take is to make an appointment with your vet to see if there is a medical reason for the dog’s behavior. Your vet will do a physical exam and may order some tests to determine if there is an underlying medical problem.
If your dog suffers from coprophagia due to a medical condition or disease, it is important to treat this externally. If you try and treat the problem without addressing the underlying cause, you’ll never be able to stop your dog from eating poop.
It is important to establish whether or not your dog’s behavior has a cause in illness or if it is just another bad habit he has fallen into. If your dog is found to have a medical condition, the vet can treat it and stop your dog from eating his own feces. If your vet cannot find any medical reason for your dog’s behavior, then you will need to try some of the methods listed below to correct it.
Keep Your Dog Entertained With Plenty Of Toys And Activities
To keep your dog out of trouble while you are away, it is a good idea to give him plenty of toys and activities that will keep him busy. This means leaving chew toys for him to play with so he doesn’t resort to eating poop as a way to entertain himself. It also means leaving bones or safe chew toys to keep his teeth clean. Interactive games, like hide and seek, can also help to keep your dog occupied.
Make Sure They’re Getting Enough Exercise and Socialization
Dogs that are not exercised enough are more likely to eat feces. They often resort to this behavior when they’re bored and have no other way of relieving their stress or having fun. Make sure your dog gets at least an hour of exercise every day, taking him out for walks or runs so he doesn’t get restless.
Dogs that are not properly socialized tend to be more anxious and nervous. You can avoid this by making sure your dog is well socialized at an early age so he learns how to act around other dogs. Take your dog to a park or other public place where he can meet and interact with other dogs.
Feed Him a Well-balanced Diet
If you’re not sure whether your dog is getting all the nutrients he needs, you can have his nutritional status tested. This will help to rule out any deficiencies that may be causing your dog to eat his own stool. You can have this test done through a vet or at a special lab that tests pets’ diets.
Give Him Supplements If He’s Not Getting All The Nutrients He Needs
If you opt to feed your dog a homemade diet, you need to make sure that he is getting all the nutrients he needs. You may want to supplement your dog’s diet with a vitamin and mineral supplement.
Vitamin deficiencies have been known to cause coprophagia in dogs. By providing him with extra nutrients, you can stop the problem. If you decide to give supplements, do so in consultation with your vet or canine nutritionist.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in your dog’s digestive system. They are available as supplements you can give to your dog, both orally and added to his food. Probiotics’ benefits include supporting digestion, immunity, and weight loss. Adding probiotic supplements to your German Shepherd’s diet may help him feel better overall.
By supplementing your dog’s diet with omega 3 fatty acids, you will help ensure that he gets enough to support his health and well-being. This is whether or not he eats feces. Omega 3 supplements can be easily found at most pet stores or online if you cannot find them at your local store.
Teach Him “No” and “Leave it” Cues
Dogs that are not trained properly may resort to eating their own feces as a way of trying to get attention or because they are unsure of what else to do. Make sure you are using positive reinforcement methods when training your dog. Learn how to teach him the “leave it” cue, as well as how to use treats and praise.
Dogs learn what is right and wrong if you use ‘no’ in training. Make sure to correct your German Shepherd every time he tries to eat his own stool by saying “no” firmly. You can also spray water on him or pick up his poop so he learns the difference between having the behavior rewarded and discouraged.
Do not give him attention when he is eating poop. This may only serve to reinforce the bad habit.
Clean Up Any Feces Immediately So The Dog Doesn’t Have Access To It
For a dog training program to succeed, it is important to control all of the dog’s environment. This means keeping their living space clean and feces-free. Make sure to clean up any feces immediately so the dog doesn’t have access to it.
You can also try using bitter apple spray to discourage your dog from eating feces. This is a safe and non-toxic product that can be found at most pet stores.
Keep Your Yard Clean To Discourage Your Dog From Eating Poop There
If you can’t keep your dog from eating feces, the least you can do is make sure your yard is poop-free. Clean up after your dog every time he goes outside, and make sure to pick up any feces he may have missed. You can also try to fence in your yard so that your dog cannot get to the other dogs’ feces.
If you have a cat, make sure the litter box is in a closed area that he cannot reach. Try to remove any particularly stinky areas where other dogs may have pooped as well. You can also use natural lawn treatments to make your yard less appetizing to your dogs, such as adding vinegar or peppermint oil.
You can also try using a fence or other barrier around the yard to keep your dog from getting to the other dogs’ feces.
There are many potential reasons why a German Shepherd may eat his own feces. By trying some of the methods suggested in this article, you may be able to stop your dog from engaging in this unpleasant behavior. Remember that it will take time and patience to train your dog properly, but it is worth it in the end!