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My Great Dane Eats His Poop – Should I Worry?

Dogs can have strange habits, but catching your Great Dane eating their own poop might be one of the weirdest! Dogs can be a delight to have in your home. They become actual members of the family. Great Danes are large dogs with personalities that many people love, but it can be quite disgusting to see them engaging in certain habits, such as eating their own poop…

Should I worry if my Great Dane eats his poop? Eating poop, or coprophagia, is a normal behavior in dogs, including Great Danes. However, there are situations where this behavior may indicate a health problem in your dog.  If you find this behavior unpleasant, there are ways to stop it.

The truth is that if you observe your Great Dane eating poop, you don’t necessarily need to worry.

However, you should make sure to observe his behavior so that you can take the necessary action if it turns out that your dog is doing this as a result of health problems.

What Drives Dogs to Eat Poop?

Eating poop, also known as coprophagia, is a common behavior for approximately 20% of dogs. There are several reasons why your dog may be doing it, but the truth is that the behavior itself stems from his ancestors.

Even though you may think of your dog as your child, the truth is that a lot of what drives him is what drove the wolves that gave rise to him. Dogs are scavengers. Even their ancestors lived off the trash and leftovers of humans thousands of years ago.

The relationship between dogs and humans originated in the fact that wild dogs would clean up campsites after humans would leave so that there was no evidence of them being there after the fact.

The dogs would eat everything that the humans left behind. Dogs will eat pretty much anything most of the time, including prey, grass, eggs, garbage, human food, and even their poop.

Even though you may find it disgusting, this is normal behavior for about 20% of dogs.

What Are Some Acceptable Reasons Why Your Dog Might Eat Poop?

You know that your dog’s coprophagia has roots in his lineage. However, there are different reasons why dogs may do this today. Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about and is completely normal behavior for dogs.

Let’s take a look at 6 different reasons that might explain why your Great Dane is eating poop.

1. They Enjoy the Taste

Believe it or not, your dog may enjoy the taste of his poop or that of other animals! In some cases, this could be because he is overeating human food.

It’s no secret that dogs like people food, and if you are feeding him from the table, his poop will smell and taste somewhat like it as well.

As disgusting as this might seem to you, it is likely because humans have been socialized to see poop as a bad thing. This is not the case with dogs, who just see poop as another taste that they can enjoy.

2. Boredom and Anxiety

In some cases, dogs will eat their poop when they don’t have anything else to do. Dogs who are lacking mental stimulation are occasionally more likely to engage in this behavior.

In this situation, you can try buying your dog a stimulating toy to occupy his time and energy and see if the coprophagia subsides.

We’ve got a great list of toys for Great Danes here to help get you started if you’re lacking in this department.

It’s also possible for a dog to develop anxiety when he has nothing to do. This can trigger coprophagia, as well. Again, a potential solution could be finding him a toy or other activity to occupy his time and mental power.

3. Cleaning Up

If you have a backyard full of dog poop, and your dog spends a lot of time there, it could be that your dog just feels the need to clean up the area.

As you already know, primitive dogs would clean up after humans when they left an area.

They might feel the same need to clean up their own backyard, leading them to consume their poop.

4. Attention Seeking

If your dog has realized that he will get a reaction from you when you see him eating his poop, he is more likely to repeat the behavior.

In your dog’s mind, there is no such thing as negative attention from you.

Be mindful that your obsession with this funky habit may actually be a contributing factor in it continuing.

5. Getting Rid of the Evidence

Some dogs will eat poop after pooping in places where they know they weren’t supposed to go.

In this case, they know that they weren’t supposed to poop in that area and are just trying to get rid of the evidence.

Naturally, this is more likely for non-potty trained dogs. If you haven’t started potty training yet, I’d recommend taking a look at our full guide here.

6. Imitation

If your dog has seen other dogs eating their own poop, this could be the reason for his behavior. Learned behavior is a common thing among pack animals.

They observe their parents, littermates, and playmates when figuring out how to live.

If you’ve recently brought your dog home, then there’s a very good chance that they could “grow out of” this behavior now that they’re removed from their littermates.

“My Great Dane Eats His Poop – Should I Worry?”

While the above reasons are generally innocuous, there are some situations where coprophagia could signal an underlying health problem. In these cases, you should take it seriously and address the issue.

Your dog may be eating his poop because he isn’t getting the right vitamins and minerals in the food that you are giving him. He may be seeking that nutrition in his own poop.

It’s also possible that your dog is eating his poop because he has a parasitic infection, gastrointestinal problem, or diabetes. In these cases, you’ll probably observe other symptoms.

These can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, and excessive thirst. If you observe any of these symptoms, you should take your dog to the vet and see what he or she has to say.

How Can One Stop a Dog from Eating Poop?

If you see that your dog is eating his poop, there are things that you can do to stop this behavior. Make sure that you’re giving him high-quality dog food and keeping him on a consistent feeding schedule.

Also, make sure that he has plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

It would also be useful to keep the yard free of poop.

If your dog has this problem, it might be better to walk your dog on a leash and clean up after him as soon as he does his business, rather than letting him do his business in your yard and leaving it behind.

There are certain coprophagia deterrent products that you can add to your dog’s food as well, although you should check with your vet before putting them in your dog’s food. Pineapple and pumpkin will also be likely to make his poop less appealing to him.

If you have a cat, dogs often enjoy eating cat poop as well because cat food has proteins that your dog usually doesn’t get in his own food. In this case, you should put your litter box in a place that only your cat can get to.

Final Thoughts

You may be very concerned that your Great Dane is eating his poop, but the truth is that it likely means nothing. This is a behavior that dogs have been engaging in since they descended from wolves.

For about 20% of dogs, it’s completely normal, and your dog might be one of the 20%.  

However, it doesn’t mean your dog has to eat his poop.  If you want your dog to stop, make sure you are providing proper nutrition, and take him to the vet if you suspect a medical problem. 

And if the dog is healthy, maybe it’s time to take preventative measures, change the diet, or look for products that could stop this behavior.

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