Your German Shepherd is eating cat poop much to your disgust.
So you may be wondering,
Why does my German Shepherd eat cat poop? A German Shepherd may eat cat poop because it is a natural behavior observed in canines. Dogs like to eat anything that appeals to their sense of smell and taste and cat poop falls in this category. Eating cat poop is also a result of simple curious exploration by your dog or an underlying medical condition. In most cases it is harmless, however, it can result in a bad habit which can lead to health problems in your dog such as blocked bowel or constipation and should therefore be discouraged and stopped.
Eating cat poop is indeed a gross behavior but your German Shepherd seems to relish it. It does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with your German Shepherd but the habit is unhealthy. You need to keep an eye on it to help your dog stop it because it can potentially be harmful in the long run. This article explains further the effects of this and helps you to understand why your German Shepherd eats cat poop and how you can stop it.
Dogs in general are scavengers and can eat anything from garbage, compost, their own poop to even cat poop. This is a rather disgusting thing to us as humans but perfectly normal dog behavior. Therefore there is no cause for alarm, however, when continued and not discouraged it can turn out to be a nasty habit. We will delve into the reasons why this behavior happens.
Underlying Medical Condition
A German Shepherd with an underlying medical condition involving the digestive system may have this habit. A lack of digestive enzymes in your dog may limit its ability to digest food properly and can cause them to crave eating cat poop which normally appeals to their sense of smell, to gain extra nutrients.
Medical conditions such as Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus can also make your dog very hungry which will make them eat anything.
It is very important to have your dog examined by a vet to pinpoint the exact problem or lack of a medical condition.
Coprophagia: A Common Dog Behaviour
Coprophagia is a medical term for eating fecal matter. It is a common canine behavior. It is seen when canine mothers lick their puppies bottoms to encourage them to poop. The mother also ends up eating the poop.
Generally, dogs are also scavengers and may eat anything appealing. Cat poop which comes from cat food is usually high in protein and attracts dogs.
Although eating cat poop is a normal habit, it poses health risks therefore it is best to prevent and stop it.
Your German Shepherd simply loves to explore just like any other dog.
They will sniff around cat poop and because it smells nice due to the cat’s dietary food they will want to taste it. This is quite normal behavior for them to discover what something tastes like and if it is good.
So is cat poop harmful and what are the side effects?
Cat poop is not harmful to dogs and in most cases, a German Shepherd will be quite ok after eating it however, there may be a risk of having ingested bacteria or intestinal parasites that the cat may have had.
This leads to infection and sickness in your dog. Consumption of large amounts of cat poop can also lead to blockage of the bowel and constipation. This is why the habit should be discouraged and stopped.
If your dog happens to eat cat poop, keep a close eye on them, and monitor their bowel movement. If the bowel movement is normal, they will be okay but if you see signs of abnormal poop or constipation talk to your veterinarian.
German Shepherd Eating Cat Poop: What to Do About It
Consult Your Veterinarian
The very first step you should do when your German Shepherd regularly eats cat poop is to talk to your veterinarian about it and seek their advice on the underlying problem.
The vet can determine whether your dog has a medical condition that needs to be addressed or it being a not-to-worry situation.
In addition to this, if eating poop regularly happens in situations out of your control such as your dog eating cat poop found on the street, your vet can also recommend regular deworming of your dog to prevent the emergence of sickness.
Train your dog to be moving away from cat poop whenever they see it.
You can use direct commands that they can understand to direct them not to eat the poop.
Remember to always use positive reinforcement during training by rewarding your dog when they do the right action required of them. This will definitely motivate them to continue with good behavior and will minimize the behavior of eating poop.
You can also engage a dog trainer to help in this process of training.
Eliminate Access to Cat Litter
To prevent your German Shepherd from eating cat poop which can be potentially harmful to them, limit their access to cat litter.
You can either move the litter box to a room in the house your dog is limited to enter but only accessible to the cat, have an enclosed cat litter box, or install baby gates in your home that prevent access to the area with the litter box.
Also, clean the litter box every time your cat uses it so that your dog is not tempted to eat it. This will minimize the behavior.
Keep Your German Shepherd From Boredom
Sometimes when your German Shepherd is bored, they seek ways to amuse themselves and can just end up eating poop .
To prevent this from occurring, provide your German Shepherd with plenty of exercises and activities to occupy them to keep them off this unpleasant behavior.
Use Deterrents to Make Cat Poop Unpleasant
Make cat poop less appealing to your German Shepherd by making it unpleasant by putting products that make the poop taste bad.
Pepper has been used as a deterrent where it makes your dog sneeze and moves away from the poop. This is effective because normally a dog sniffs things first before they eat and the pepper will repel them even before they start eating the poop.
Eventually, with time your German shepherd will understand that it needs to keep away from cat poop thus minimizing and preventing the habit.
Conclusion: Why does my German Shepherd eat cat poop?
Eating cat poop is absolutely disgusting but normal dog behavior. It is also as a result of simple curious exploration by your dog or an underlying medical condition. However it should be stopped because of the risks involved when your dog eats it.
I hope this article helped you to know why a German Shepherd eats cat poop, the risks involved with it as well as how to prevent and stop the behavior.
By following the different methods provided, you should be able to train your dog to kick the habit and also prevent it. Remember never to punish your German shepherd for this because it is normal behavior. Approaching the situation with calm and understanding to teach them not to do it or create an environment where they are less likely to engage in it.
If you liked this article you may also like to learn more from the below resources on German Shepherds.