German Shorthaired Pointer doubles as an agile hunter and a sweet companion with an inexhaustible stream of energy.
Finding your German Pointer feeding on its feces may evoke a certain amount of irritation and a cause of worry but do not dwell on it. The habit of eating feces is a relatively common phenomenon in almost all breeds of dogs. This behavioral defect is called Coprophagia.
The important question to be asked is, “Is it harmless, or should I be putting a stop to it?”. Follow us through this article to find your answers! Don’t wait, take action now to ensure a healthy and happy pet.
The Whys and Wherefores
Your dog eating its poop or the poop of other animals can be a purely innate thing. It can also be a symptom of certain health issues or a behavioral trigger caused by psychological strains. These strains are imposed on your dog by a particular environment.
Let’s take a close look at these causes.
The Sixth Sense
The predominant cause of this behavior is a primal instinct. Through centuries, dogs have been natural scavengers; they search and pick up anything as food from the ground and dump piles. The habit of eating poop can be a natural phase that most dogs pass through in their lifetime.
The mother dog has been found to lick her puppies to encourage bowel movements, teaching them to clean up by eating up their feces. Puppies are like toddlers. They want to explore and familiarize themselves with the world around them and, to do so, use their mouths and unmatched senses of smell and taste.
So it doesn’t come as a surprise when they instinctively copy their mother’s behavior of eating feces. This motherly instinct saves the babies in the wild from predators who may be drawn to the smell of excrement.
Puppies eating poop may also be fueled by the fecal odors they pick up on their mother’s breath. They may also be enticed by the remnants of feces mixed up with the food which their mother regurgitates to them.
The good news is, after a few months, the mother dog stops cleaning up after the babies, which will likely help the puppies grow out of the habit of eating poop.
After you notice your adult German Pointer eats poop, the first action is to consult a vet. Eating poop could be an indicator of dietary deficiencies and adverse medications.
It is important that you take the necessary steps to rule out health issues as a probable cause.
Some medical conditions which would make your dog more prone to consuming feces include:
- Conditions leading to an unusual increase in appetite, such as diabetes, thyroid, and Cushing’s diseases
- Digestive system disorders such as constipation, bloating, colitis, and gastrointestinal ulcers
- Dementia and other brain conditions
- Viral and bacterial infections; these will cause a change in the texture and smell of your dog’s poop.
- Certain medications like steroids also play a part in causing this behavior.
- Diets that are deficient in nutrients and calories
Coprophagia, in some cases, may be a response to the environment. A German Shorthaired Pointer is an active dog with a social personality. A bored GSP may turn to the habit of eating its feces for fun.
Isolating your dog by keeping it alone in a kennel for lengthy periods will only encourage this behavior.
You should draw out schedules to take your dog on a walk. If you do not have the time, make arrangements for a company to provide the needed physical stimulation.
Another problem is the issue of anxiety. Your dog may experience stress being away from you, and in such instances, they start eating their feces. It is a psychological trigger. Also, harsh punishments and house training methods may cause a shift in its emotional response; fear and anxiety is the by-product.
So if your dog excretes, it may feel the need to eat up the excrement to conceal evidence so that it won’t get punished again. As a good dog owner, you should break this pattern.
Generally, dogs love attention, especially from their owners. If your dog is eating poop, it may simply intend to get a reaction from you! Try to be patient with it.
Conclusively, behavioral triggers center around paying attention to your dog’s emotional and psychological needs.
How Do I Stop My German Pointer From Eating Poop?
The truth is, once a dog adopts the habit of eating feces, it becomes relatively difficult to stop completely. A more appropriate, yet latent question would be, “how do I manage my dog’s coprophagia?”
Here are a few tips:
- A study has shown that a good ‘leave it’ command is an effective instruction to help your dog to keep away from its excrement when you’re out.
Constant affirmations and praises will also encourage it to drop the habit entirely.
- You can also get it to stop by supervising its toilet routines and cleaning it up as soon as possible.
- Keep your dog’s living space clean. Your personal space is not excluded. This will prevent access to piles of poop left unattended.
- Again, this habit may be induced by being poorly fed. It is necessary for you to provide regular nutritious foods to your pet so it would not feel the urge to eat up anything on sight.
You could also try a diet that stuffs it. However, this should be done under the supervision of your vet.
- Give enough attention to your dog. Take it on walks, and play games that enhance physical and mental stimulation. Remember, it is a German Pointer, a natural hunter, and a multitasker.
- There is now the availability of nutritional supplements and other products that can help stop your dog from turning to its poop for these missing vitamins and enzymes.
Study and research have pointed out Vitamin B deficiency as a leading defect.
Always ensure that your vet is aware of any major change you make to your dog’s diet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How do I disinfect my dog’s mouth after eating poop?
Here’s a breakdown of how you should go about cleaning your dog’s mouth after it has eaten feces.
- First, choose a good time. A German Pointer is full of energy, so you need to calm it down. Get a good spot with sufficient light and little to no distractions.
- Wipe its mouth with a clean and damp piece of cloth.
- Giving your dog some water to drink will help freshen its mouth a bit.
- Proceed to brush its teeth using a vet-approved dog toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Dental wipes are also good for eliminating bacteria and microbes.
- Dental chewsticks will freshen your dog’s breath and dislodge stuck particles.
- Herbs like mint and parsley are good for your dog. Chewing them will help get rid of the poop smell, remove bacteria and prevent indigestion.
2. Can eating poop kill a dog?
Generally, eating poop will not cause serious harm to your dog, particularly if it is its own poop. However, if it consumes a sick animal’s poop, it’s exposed to diseases and parasites. Observe when this habit begins and consult your vet as soon as possible.
Remember, your dog’s health may also reflect on your health and that of other living members of the household.
3. Do German Shorthair have sensitive stomachs?
German Shorthair have narrow chests so they struggle with digestion. Your German Shorthair will likely get bloated or gassy after a meal. It is a good thing that he is an active dog. In fact, this gives more reason why you should regularly exercise your dog.
As a good pet owner, you should endeavor to watch the kind of meal you serve to your German Shorthair. He is not picky about his choice food. However, you should not feed him just anything. You do not want him to develop gastric issues as he already has a sensitive stomach.
Check in with your vet for professional advice on what food will benefit his health.