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Your German Shepherd does not eat? What can you do!

You can do that!

If your German Shepherd suddenly refuses his dog food , this usually has two causes:

  • Cause 1 : There is an acute medical reason
  • Cause 2 : There is a growth-related or psychological reason – you can usually solve these problems yourself


In our guide we help you and your four-legged friend to find the reason and solve the problem.

If your German Shepherd suddenly eats nothing – checklist for acute cases:


Please carefully check the dog’s teeth

Your  GSD looks at you with wide eyes and suddenly refuses to eat? This behavior may indicate an injury. Please carefully open the mouth and look at the teeth and gums well.

  • Does your four-legged friend have a foreign body in its mouth?
  • Did he break off a tooth?
  • Is her quadruped injured on the palate or on the gums?
  • Is his gum on fire?
  • Does he have worms
  • Is there an gastrointestinal issues,


If you can answer yes to any of these questions, please schedule a vet visit. 


There is no acute medical reason?

You have already ruled out that an acute medical reason is to blame for the loss of appetite? Now you can consider other, not so urgent causes.
For us humans the dog is nowadays often child or partner replacement. Accordingly, we humanize more and more our GSD. This strong bond means that we only want the best for our sweetheart and pamper him. German Shepherds  are very intelligent and like to test you as a mistress and master.
Mostly we humans are the authors of the problem. We train our GSD to be a picky eater feeding , by spoiling it too much.

Other possible causes why your dog does not eat:

  • If You Change Food Frequently If you change your food frequently, your dog may refuse to eat the food. Read more
  • Tooth change of your puppy (about 3rd to 5th month of life may vary)
    Approximately in the third to fifth month of life is your fur nose begins to change teeth .Here it is particularly important to pay attention to the food. Read more
  • The flea phase – the pubescent young dog
    The flea phase is similar to human puberty. Here your dog likes to test its limits. Read more
  • Change in the social environment
    Changes in the dog’s social environment can have a direct impact on their behavior. Even with a short duration. Read more
  • Hormonal Frustration
    You have a bitch in heat, or a male who smells bitches in the neighborhood?
    Both the bitch herself and the males suffer from this hormonal stress. Read more
  • Is your dog just tired? 
    Too many treats and snacks can make your dog tired. Read more
  • Unwilling the usual food
    The summer heat as well as the change to a completely different type of feeding can explain this feeding behavior. Read more
  • Checklist to avoid a picky feeding behavior
    With our checklist we help you to establish a stress-free eating habits with your dog. Read more

[sta_anchor id=”type-of-food” unsan=”Type of food”]If you frequently change the type of food[/sta_anchor]

You as the German Shepherd owner are responsible for the optimal nutrition and feeding behavior of your dog.
Surely you will ask yourself one time or another, if your four-legged friend does not long for change. You will hear from other dog owners that they do not want the same food every day ?! Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not designed for a varied diet. 
Dogs have a very sensitive gastrointestinal tract and can respond with indigestion like diarrhea at each feed change and mixed feeding.

This should be considered when choosing the dog food:

To find the right dog food for your dog, you should choose a dog food that is adapted to the age, the activity and the health of your dog.


Unfortunately, many feeding-related problems are homemade. Dog owners tend to want to do something good for the dog. Ultimately, this good-natured behavior quickly avenges. You educate your dog smugly, if you maintain the following feeding culture:

  • Don’t feed treats all day. Feed treats in between meals.
  • Varied feeding according to age or nutritional needs.
  • Remove leftovers from the table


The dog nutrition is fundamentally different from the human diet: If you offer your dog too much food and he  gets to know too much, determines your four-legged friend his feeding behavior. It can quickly happen that your dog no longer takes its dry food without wet food. Or you have to go out every week and buy a new type of food. Because the current food leaves your four-legged friend again, because he wants variety. Furthermore, it can happen that your dog only consumes the calorie-containing treats and refuses the main meal. This unbalanced feeding can quickly lead to deficiency symptoms.
All this you can avoid by teaching your fur nose from the beginning of a good feeding behavior.


[sta_anchor id=”tooth” unsan=”Tooth”]Tooth change of your [/sta_anchor]puppy (about 3 to 5 months of age)

Checking German Shepherd teeth

Chewing helps your dog to change teeth

Like us children, your dog also has a change of teeth. Between the 3rd and 5th month of life, there is a change from the milk teeth dentition to the permanent teeth. Depending on your dog this time may vary.
If the permanent tooth grows, this pressure exerts on the deciduous tooth and the root of the deciduous tooth dies. If the deciduous tooth fails, the permanent tooth has free path to grow. The change of teeth goes unnoticed by many four-legged friends, so that you as the owner will not notice.
However, it comes to discomfort when changing teeth, causing severe pain. During the change of teeth, there may be accompanying symptoms such as eating loss. Imagine that you have a toothache – do you eat with relish? Hardly, because if you have a toothache, you are not looking for food. You should also offer your dog a chew toy. Often you will then find loose baby teeth in the toy or on the floor. Offer your dog his usual meals and pamper him with pampering.

Feeding tip for the tooth change:

To make it easier for your four-legged friend to change your teeth, you can moisten the dry food with lukewarm water. This will make the dog food easier to chew. Generally, chewing helps your dog to change his teeth.



[sta_anchor id=”flea” unsan=”Flea”]The flea phase – pubescent[/sta_anchor] young dog

Adolescents go through puberty – your four-legged friends the so-called flea phase. Between the 23rd to 26th month of life your fur nose is in this difficult age. A time that often brings you as an owner to your limits. At one time or another, you’ll probably wonder why you actually have a dog. In this flea phase, your dog may suddenly stop sitting, seated and listening.

What is the flea phase?

Similar to adolescent adolescents, your four-legged friend also tests his limits and shows a “stubborn” behavior. Your four-legged friends will be happy to test these limits with their meals. He just does not eat, or very little, in the hope that you as a mistress or master have compassion. If you give in and give him something off the table or the fridge for once, your pubescent dog has reached his destination.



Patience, consistency and love are required for you to survive this nerve-racking time. Be consistent, but cordial ! Give him his usual meal and give your dog 15 minutes to eat. If the meal is not accepted within 15 minutes, the bowl comes away. Very important: Then there are no treats or sausages or peanut butter! Otherwise you are inconsistent. Even if your German Shepherd is standing in front of you with big big eyes, you should not give him anything. Repeat this feeding ritual in the evening. If the problem still persists, you can repeat this process in a healthy dog ??a few days. If your four-legged friend is hungry, he will eat.There is no dog starving in front of a full bowl .
Of course, you should first clarify that there are no medical reasons for his loss of appetite. There are German Shepherds who are very persistent in this, and this “power game” for several days to go through. With such dominant dogs you should still have the upper hand. You should be the boss and not leave this role to your dog . Otherwise, unwanted behavioral problems may result.

[sta_anchor id=”environment” unsan=”Environment”]Change in the social[/sta_anchor] environment

Your German Shepherd is more than a pet today: he is a family member. That’s why your dog will quickly notice if there are changes in your social environment. You should not underestimate how sensitive and sociable your four-legged friend is. Dogs react very emotionally when you, your partner, or another important caregiver is on vacation or away. Many dogs mourn during this time – quite a lot of howling, no appetite, and in the worst case, both.


Dogs have a high emotional and social connection to their usual environment and their caregivers. A sudden change can affect the normal and feeding behavior of the dog.


Imagine, your beloved friend is away for several days and you do not know where or if he comes back again. Such emotional symptoms develop in your Shepherd, for example, if he loses his best friend by moving or death. Other options would be the separation from the partner or the move to a new home. The separation from the siblings and the mother. Sensitive dogs sometimes eat their meal only when all family members are at home.

[sta_anchor id=”hormone”]Hormonal conditional loss[/sta_anchor] of appetite

Is your bitch in heat or pseudo pregnant? Do you have a German Shepherd who is just beginning to smell a bitch in the neighborhood? Bitches are in heat once or twice a year. The heat is divided into three different phases and lasts about 21 days. During the second phase – the high phase, you should be very careful. The willingness to cover is enormous, both in males, as well as in the bitch. Both the bitch herself and the male are prone to frugality during their hormonal cycle.

[sta_anchor id=”tired”]Is your dog just tired[/sta_anchor]?

We humans generally tend to have to feed animals! Especially when our beloved four-legged friend looks at us with wide eyes and begs. Mum and owner are often weak: ” .Spread through out the day, a larger number of treats and delicacies can come to it .Some pet owners exaggerate it really, so that the four-legged already has no hunger for his usual food.The sausage, the cheese and the many treats are much tastier than his regular food.

[sta_anchor id=”unwilling” unsan=”Unwilling”]Unwilling to eat the usual food[/sta_anchor]

Your beloved German Shepherd does not eats his usual meal , he is not so happy and seems listless? Seeing this behavior, many dog ??owners think their dog needs variety.
Often, pet owners then make a mistake and buy a new type of feed. However, the dog food is usually not the problem, but possibly the heat in the summer, the many treats, grief or quite often the food change .
A food change from natural raw diet, or very juicy wet food with preservatives and sugar, to a high quality dry food for dogs, can lead to frustration. Also, this problem can occur if your German Shepherd is used to another feed from the grower and you decide against this usual feeding. Most four-legged friends get used to the new form of feeding very quickly and only need a little time.

[sta_anchor id=”checklist” unsan=”Checklist”]Checklist to avoid  slow feeding behavior[/sta_anchor]

Establish the following feeding rules together with your family:

  1. Try to stick to fixed feeding times – this promotes the formation of important digestive enzymes.
  2. Your German Shepherd is allowed to eat his meals in peace.
  3. If your four-legged friend does not eat his meal within 15 minutes, the bowl will come back. You should not pay much attention to him.
  4. If your pet refuses one or more meals, please do not reward it with treats. That would be counterproductive.
  5. The dog is not fed from the table and gets no food leftovers – this can lead to indigestion.
  6. Treats only in moderation – it is best to remove some of the feeding ration daily and place in a storage tin. Because if you give too many treats, your dog will increase and it can lead to developmental disorders and medical damages especially in growing German Shepherd.
  7. You should avoid frequent food changes and variety in the bowl, because this can also lead to slow  feeding behavior.



Why your German Shepherd is eats nothing, can have various causes. It is important that you distinguish between very acute medical and behavioral frugality. In case of injury, a visit to a vet is usually unavoidable. If you have a puppy or a young dog, the likelihood of having a meal-free appetite is high. Most likely, your dog will not eat anything because he is in the toothing or flea phase. Often the problem is unfortunately also self-educated. It is important that you teach your dog the right feeding culture. We recommend setting up feeding rules together with your family. Change the type of food only if your dog needs a different variety because of its age, activity or state of health.

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