German Shepherd (Or Puppy) Not Eating? 12 Reasons + Ways To Fix

Is your german shepherd not eating? If so, you may begin to worry, but you don’t need to worry just yet! This article is going to explain the different reasons your german shepherd may not be eating, and more importantly, how to get them started again!

So keep reading everything you need to know!

Before Anything, Check Your German Shepherd

Before anything you should check your german shepherd to see if there’s anything wrong with them. Doing this will make it easier to find out the exact cause of their loss of appetite, and will provide valuable information to you and your vet (when needed).

To check your german shepherd do the following.

Check Their Body Over

The first thing you should do is check them over. You should especially look for any problems in their mouth or with their teeth that could be causing them not to eat. (

As well as that, give their body a once over as well. You should be looking for parasites, injuries and lumps or bumps that could be causing them discomfort.

And remember, if you do find something that shouldn’t be there, take them to the vets right away.

Keep An Eye On Their Behavior

You should also make sure you’re keeping an eye on your pup’s behavior as well. If your German shepherd isn’t drinking either, then it’s a serious cause for concern which will need to be addressed immediately.

But also look for other things, do they still seem as energetic and active as usual, or are they lethargic? Are they going to the toilet normally or is there a problem?

All of these are indicators that something could be wrong with your pup!

Make Sure They Haven’t Eaten Anything

Lastly, you should make sure that your german shepherd hasn’t eaten anything in their environment either. German shepherds are big dogs, so it’s easy for them to completely swallow something they shouldn’t,

Check all their toys to make sure that a part of them hasn’t gone missing. And look at anything else in your house your german shepherd can get too which they may have eaten.

Why Is Your German Shepherd Not Eating?

Bearing that in mind, here are some of the most common reasons your german shepherd may not be eating. As well as solutions that can often help the problem and eliminate it altogether!

Illness And Disease

One reason your german shepherd may have stopped eating could be due to illness and disease. Just like us, when your pup is sick, the last thing they’re going to want to do is eat. As well as a lack of appetite you should look for other signs of illness or disease such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Some causes that could be making your dog sick include infections, cancer, liver problems, and kidney problems, so it’s important that you take your pup to the vet as soon as you think they’re suffering from something.


As previously mentioned, if you think that your german shepherd is sick then the first thing you should do is take them to the vets. However, here are some other solutions while you’re waiting for an appointment.

Make the meal more appealing to them by pouring warm water over it or meat broths that are going to give it more flavor.

Feed them new food that they’re not used to. For example, if they often eat dry food give them wet food, and if they eat wet food give them dry food.

Try feeding them food by hand to make them feel more comfortable.

If they’re not eating, then often an upset stomach can often be the case, and fortunately, it should pass.

And once again, if you notice that your german shepherd is sick, it’s important to make sure you’re contacting your vet as soon as possible!

Dental Problems

Another reason your german shepherd may not be eating is because of dental problems, however, believe it or not, this isn’t as common as you think. But just to make sure, you should check your dog’s mouth to see if there’s a problem.

Looked for cracked, loose or broken teeth which are quite common in bigger dogs. As well as this, you should also make sure you check them mouths for any cuts or objects which have pierced their gums, tongue or roof of their mouth.

Lastly, you should look for lumps which could signify cancer. You won’t always see them however, so you should always seek the help of a professional.

As well as not eating, when your german shepherd has something wrong with their mouth, you may also notice that they’re dribbling a lot for no reason.

(Find out some of the common reasons your german shepherd might have bad breath.)

What To Do

If you notice that there’s something wrong with your german shepherd’s mouth, or you think there is, then the best thing you can do is consult your vet.

They’ll be able to find out exactly what’s causing it as well as the best options moving forward. Fortunately, in a lot of cases, not much will need to be done.

An Upset Stomach

This is often the reason your german shepherd may not beating, and fortunately, there’s rarely anything sinister behind it. If your german shepherd has an upset stomach then they may simply not feel like eating.

As well as a loss of appetite, you may also notice that your german shepherd is vomiting as well as having diarrhea, flatulence and appearing nauseous.

You might also notice that they’re eating grass when you’re taking them on a walk. This is because they know it’s going to make them sick and they’re trying to clear their stomach.

There are a lot of reasons that your german shepherd can have an upset stomach, and it’s often due to something they’ve eaten.

As well as this, motion sickness can cause them to lose their appetite, however, this shouldn’t last long.

What To Do

If you think that your german shepherd only has an upset stomach (and they’ve been sick) then you should fast them for 12 hours.

Once they’ve fasted try feeding them rice and chicken to help settle their stomach, and hopefully, give them something they can keep down.

If they still don’t want to eat after 12 hours, make sure you consult a vet as it could be a sign of something more serious.

(Find out why your german shepherd is so skinny and what to do or what to do with an overweight german shepherd.)


Sometimes your german shepherd’s medication can also cause them to stop eating. You’ll be able to figure out if it’s there medication if they stop eating shortly after starting it.

Some medicine will make your german shepherd feel nauseous whereas other medications may cause their stomach to hurt.

And it doesn’t just have to be pills that cause them to lose their appetite. Things like chemotherapy can also affect your pup’s willingness to eat.

What To Do

If you think that medication is making your german shepherd stop eating then you need to talk to your vet ASAP. In some cases, they’ll say that this will pass with time, however, in other cases, they may swap the medication your german shepherd is on, or change the treatment they’re being given altogether!

After all, you don’t want to fix one problem by causing another one.


Some vaccinations can temporarily affect your german shepherd’s appetite and could be the reason they’ve stopped eating. However, of course, it’s a small price to pay to make sure that your German shepherd is safe and healthy.

What To Do

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do for this one. If you think that your german shepherd has lost their appetite longer then you should have then consult your vet. However, apart from that you just have to wait it out.

Owner Absence/Separation Anxiety

A lot of german shepherds won’t eat when their owners aren’t around. It’s important to remember that dogs are social animals, and they like to do things with their pack. If you’re not around then it may put them off eating.

In more severe cases, you not being around can even cause anxiety which is known as separation anxiety. As well as not eating you may notice that they chew things up when you’re away, or your neighbors may complain that they’re barking and whining while you’re gone.

What To Do

If you think that your german shepherd isn’t eating when you’re not around, then the simplest solution is to feed them when you’re home. This way you know they’re going to eat and you don’t have to worry.

However, if you think they have separation anxiety then you should work on fixing the problem. Not only will it reduce the chances of you coming home to a destroyed house, but it will also make your german shepherd a lot happier as well!

In most cases, your best bet is to talk to a behavior specialist who can teach you how to solve their separation anxiety effectively!

(One great way to stop your dog from feeling anxious is to use an Adaptil Pheremone Diffuser designed to keep dogs calm.)

The Time Of Day

Sometimes your dog may not like eating at certain times of the day. For example, in the morning if they’ve just woken up they may not feel hungry. Or if it’s too late in the night they may not feel hungry either.

What To Do

The simplest way to fix this is to feed them at a different time in the day. If you notice that they’re eating fine later or earlier in the day, then you’ve effectively fixed the issue. Just make sure you’re not leaving their food down for them all day.

If they learn to graze instead of eating two big meals, then they may become fussy eaters.

Their Food Has Spoiled

In some cases, your german shepherd may not want to eat because their food has spoiled. While most dog food has a long shelf life, in some cases, it may have passed its expiration date.

What To Do

The solution here is simple, check the expiration date of the food and see if it’s passed its expiration date. As well as this you should also check that the food doesn’t have any mold on it and that it’s not starting to smell.

Both are signs that it’s gone bad, even if it hasn’t passed its expiration date.

Stress And Emotional Issues

Your pup may also be suffering from stress or emotional issues. There can be so many causes behind this as well. For example, you may have moved house, or perhaps you’ve gotten a new pet. Maybe you’ve recently got your german shepherd from a rescue home or someone who couldn’t look after them anymore.

Whatever the case they may be, it could stop them from eating. Just like humans, emotional distress can either cause them to stop eating altogether, or start eating a lot more.

What To Do

If your German shepherd is suffering from stress or emotional issues, then you’ll need to do whatever you can to help make them feel comfortable again. I like to feed them by hand to let them know it’s okay. But it could also include giving them more attention during the day and playing with them

Stress and emotional issues caused by new changes should clear up fairly quickly.

They’re Picky

And lastly, your german shepherd could just be a picky eater. It could be something to do with the environment around them, for example, they may not like eating near other dogs that can be aggressive or try to take their food.

Or it can be something even simpler. Maybe they struggle to eat from the bowl (this is especially common in older dogs). Perhaps, the food they normally get has had the formula changed (or new and improved, as they like to call it) and your pup doesn’t like it. And if you’ve been feeding your german shepherd the same food for years, then maybe they’ve just gotten bored of it.

What To Do

If your german shepherd is a picky eater then there are a few things you can do to help them get their appetite back.

First of all, stop feeding them treats. If you’re giving your german shepherd treats throughout the day, then they won’t want to eat when it comes to dinner time.

You can also try feeding them at the same time every day. For example, I feed my dogs at 7 AM & 7 PM every day. It doesn’t have to be this exact time, but you get the idea. This way they’ll know when dinner time is and anticipate it!

If you have been giving the same food for a long time then you may also want to change it up for them. For example, you could heat it up, add dry or wet food, add other healthy snacks (find out which ones here), heating their food up, or adding water to it as well.

Why Is Your German Shepherd Puppy Not Eating?

As well as the reasons listed above, there may be some additional reasons your german shepherd puppy isn’t eating. Here are the reasons, they may have lost their appetite.


One of the biggest reasons your german shepherd puppy may not be eating is because they’re teething. Teething can be a painful time for your poor little pup, and the last thing they’re going to want to do is to eat solid food.

(Here are some great things you can do to help your soothe your puppies teething, as well as some of the best chew toys.)

What To Do

If your German shepherd puppy is teething, then it may be worth giving them softer food that’s easier for them to eat. You could also try putting food in the fridge, as cooler food will soothe their gums.

They May Not Be Old Enough To Eat Dry Puppy Food

There’s also the possibility that you’ve given your puppy dry puppy food too early. If this is the case, then they’re going to have a tough time eating it and may avoid it altogether. Of course, the simplest thing to do here is to switch back to wet food until they’re old enough.

Fortunately, in most cases, they’ll be weaned off puppy food before they’re sold to you, but if they’ve been sold to you too early (such as when they’re 3 weeks old) then this is maybe why they’re not eating.

What Else Can You Try When Your German Shepherd & German Shepherd Puppy Aren’t Eating

Fortunately, as well as everything listed above, there’s, even more, you can do to get your dog’s appetite going again!

Here are some more things you can try!

Give Them More Exercise

Giving your german shepherd more exercise is going to make them hungrier (especially if you’re taking them for runs). If you take them for an extra-long walk an hour before dinner, then the chances are they’re going to be hungry when dinner time comes.

Just be careful when you’re doing this with your puppy. German shepherd puppies can’t be walked as long as adults. As a rule of thumb, you should be walking them for 5 minutes per month old they are. For example, a 4-month-old could walk for 20 minutes.

(Find out more about exercising your german shepherd & german shepherd pup.)

Stop Feeding Them Throughout The Day

We all do it, but if your german shepherd isn’t eating at mealtimes, then it may be time to stop giving them the odd little snack throughout the day.

This means if you have any chicken leftover after eating, for example, you throw it away instead of giving it to them. Or in my case stop giving them little bits of cheese when you’re preparing it for yourself.

It can be hard to deny them when they’re waiting for a treat, but if they’re not eating enough it could affect their health in the long run. So sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

Monitor How Much Water They’re Drinking

Lastly, you should monitor how much water your german shepherd is drinking when they’re not eating, as it could give you more clues if somethings wrong.

If they’re still drinking water when they’re not eating, then it could mean they have an upset stomach. This means you can wait a little bit to see if they’re going to get better, but if their condition doesn’t improve then ring a vet.

If your german shepherd is eating but not drinking, then it can often be the sign of a more serious condition such as diabetes or a kidney problem. So it’s best to take them to the vets to find out what’s wrong.

And if your dog isn’t eating or drinking then that can often be a serious cause for concern. You shouldn’ t wait around, but instead, take them to the vets as soon as possible. If they seem to be vomiting or have diarrhea as well, then it’s probably a very serious issue that will need to be dealt with immediately.

Interested In Training Your German Shepherd The Right Way?

If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your German Shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


As you can see, there is a whole range of reasons that your german shepherd may not be eating. But fortunately a lot of solutions as well! In a lot of cases, it’s not something you’ll need to worry about too much and you should be able to sort it. However, remember if you’re ever concerned for any reason, it’s ALWAYS best to take them to the vets just to be safe.

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website. Otherwise have a great day!