You have seen your German Shepherd puppy eat their own poop. Much to your disgust!
Why do German Shepherd puppies eat their poop? German Shepherd puppies eat their poop because this is a natural canine behavior. Other reasons for this also include simple curiosity, mimicking of their mother’s behavior, poor digestion, poor quality diet, stress, boredom, attention-seeking, fear of being punished for making a mess, and simply poop tastes good to them. Although puppies grow out of this behavior, it needs to be prevented and stopped because if continued, it may develop into a nasty habit as adults.
Eating poop is a gross habit and to be able to implement the appropriate action to prevent and stop it, it’s important to understand the specific cause of it in your puppy. In this article, we will look in detail at these reasons and how you minimize the occurrence and stop it.
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Reasons Why German Shepherd Puppies Eat Their Poop
Eating poop is a primal natural behavior of dogs. The scientific word for it being coprophagia.
Recommended Reading: Why does my German Shepherd eat cat poop?
Puppies eating their own poop is harmless and most outgrow the behavior before they reach 9 months old but if not stopped, they can continue this into adulthood. This can graduate to eating other animals’ poop which can cause health problems if the poop has toxins, intestinal parasites, or viruses.
Below are the reasons why your German Shepherd puppy eats their poop.
They Are Copying Their Mother
It is common to see canine mothers licking their babies’ behind which encourages them to poop, then eating the waste and licking them to clean them up. This happens during the early months of the puppies’ lives.
This is a natural instinctive behavior to clean the puppies and also to clean the area where they sleep. Having seen this done by their mother, puppies pick up this habit and eat their own poop.
This comes naturally to them as they learn from the world around them and do what their mother does.
Puppies are basically new to the world and explore the world with their nose and mouth.
Their own feces also includes one of those things that they will just have the curiosity to want to know what it tastes like or what it is and this will lead them to eat it.
Because the poop will taste nice, they can continue to do so for some time.
Stress can also lead to puppies eating their own poop.
Stress may come when their environment changes, for example by being separated from their mother, introduced into a new home with pets and people.
This causes a lot of anxiety and stress in a puppy and you will find them resorting to eating their poop.
German Shepherd puppies can get bored easily especially when they’re not engaged physically or mentally.
To entertain themselves, they may direct their attention to exploration and if their poop is there, it is a good outlet for them to try it out and eat it. This can lead to a habit they engage in every time they are bored.
The German Shepherd puppy is a high-energy dog that needs to utilize its energy in play and small exercises.
So when they are not provided with adequate outlets of energy they get bored and result in directing the energy on distasteful behavior such as eating their poop.
When a puppy has poor digestion, the food they eat comes out more or less the way they ate it, and because they smell it and it still tastes good, they eat the poop.
Intestinal parasites can also deprive a puppy the nutrition from the food they eat. Therefore to supplement what their body is deprived of, the puppy may turn to eat their own poop.
Poor Quality Diet
Eating of feces has also been linked to a puppy missing some nutrients in their diet.
This nutrient deficiency leads them to still turn to their poop and eat it.
In other cases, when a puppy is not provided adequate food when left alone, they can also turn to eat their own poop due to hunger.
Sometimes eating poop is a call of attention from your puppy.
Your German Shepherd puppy may just want to spend more time with you and to communicate that they may resonate with unsavory behavior knowing that you will have to address it by directing attention to them.
Identify if this is the reason for the behavior to rectify it.
Fear of punishment
In some cases where a puppy has been treated harshly because of making a mess through having their poop around the home, they might develop a fear of punishment that they usually receive.
Therefore to prevent being punished for making a mess, they might clean up after themselves by eating their poop before their owner finds the mess they have made. This action through fear is not good and should be minimized.
Remember to avoid yelling or punishing your puppy for helping themselves around the home. This will only increase anxiety and stress making them clean up after themselves to avoid harsh consequences.
For the love of it
German Shepherd puppies and all dogs in general like the taste of poop.
This might be disgusting to us humans but for them, the taste is not that bad.
This is basically behavior that comes out of the enjoyment of just loving to eat nice tasting things, poop included.
How Do I Get My German Shepherd Puppy To Stop Eating poop?: What To Do About It
There are different ways to discourage a German Shepherd puppy to stop eating their poop. The first step is to determine the specific reason for the behavior to implement the appropriate method to stop it.
Clean Up After Your Puppy
To make sure that your puppy does not have access to poop that they can indulge in, make sure to always clean up after they have relieved themselves.
This can be outside in the yard or when you take a walk with him or her. This will prevent them from having a chance to eat their poop.
Provide Enough Exercise And Playtime
Puppies are very playful and energetic and need activities that will engage them to prevent boredom.
Provide toys that they can play with when you’re away from them so that they will have something that will keep them busy and not concentrated on exploring the taste of their poop.
Feed Quality Food
A well-fed puppy will have all the beneficial nutrients they need from its food and will be less likely to turn to their poop as a meal.
Vitamin supplementation can also be introduced in the form of dog vitamins that provide wholesome nutrients.
The introduction of this to a puppy’s diet will also show improvement in minimizing and stopping the behavior.
Therefore provide more nutritious food that is specifically made for puppies so that your puppy is well nourished and does not need to eat their poop as supplementation to their food.
You can also use deterrents on poop that will discourage your puppy from eating their poop. Deterrents have a bitter taste and when your puppy tries to eat the poop this is it.
Deterrents such as distaste chewables are normally used. In time your puppy will learn that their waste is distasteful and they will not be approaching it to eat it.
Keep Him or Her On A Leash
During walks outside your home, have your puppy on a leash.
Whenever they poop during these walks, you can tug gently at their leash to direct them not to eat their poop as you then clean up after them.
This will prevent this behavior when you are taking walks.
Have Frequent Vet Visits
Visit your vet regularly so that your puppy can be checked for any intestinal parasites that they might have picked up from their poop eating behavior, not from their own poop but from other things that they may have eaten around their environment.
This will help in the early treatment of intestinal parasites that may be depriving your puppy of nutrients which leads them to supplement their diet with their poop. Regular vet visits are helpful in this way.
Avoid Harsh Punishments
Puppies are young and still learning what and what not to do in their environment. Avoid harsh punishments to them or yelling when they make mistakes around the home.
Harsh punishments or yelling worsens the situation by developing stress and anxiety which results in the continuation of the habit as well as other behavioral problems.
Conclusion: Why Do German Shepherd puppies eat their poop?
Eating poop is a common puppy behavior problem that needs to be addressed. It is important to know the causes of this behavior to apply the right action to tame the habit.
Remember to be patient with your puppy because your German Shepherd puppy is still learning what they should and should not do and can have slip-ups where they will naturally eat their poop. Do not punish them because this will only increase their anxiety and stress which will not help discourage them from the behavior.
I hope this article helped you know the reasons why German Shepherd puppies eat their poop and also how to prevent and to stop it.
By following the different solutions, you should be able to curb this behavior and prevent your puppy from indulging further in their poop. With time, your German shepherd puppy will learn not to participate in the behavior and will outgrow the habit.
If you liked this article you may also like to learn more from the below resources on German Shepherds.