Why Does My German Shepherd Lay Down To Eat? (Reasons Why)

  • By: Justin
  • Date: November 5, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

A German Shepherd may lay down to eat to protect its food. This instinct comes from their wild ancestors, who had to be very careful about protecting their food from other animals. 

If you are still wondering, Why does my German Shepherd lay down to eat?. And you find this quite puzzling. 

I will discuss more helpful topics and help you understand more reasons that can answer your question in this blog post.

Why Does My German Shepherd Lay Down to Eat?

5 Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Lays Down To Eat

1. It Is A Natural Behavior:

Canines in the wild often have to eat on the run and would consume their food quickly to avoid being caught by other canines or bigger carnivores. Laying down while eating protects their food and ensures they get to eat it all.

2. Your GSD is tired:

Another reason your GSD may lay down to eat is because it is tired. After a long day of playing or working, your GSD may want to relax while it eats dinner.

It’s the same thing you would do after a long day’s work. And for your German Shepherd, laying down while eating is the most comfortable way to do it.

Perhaps, your GSD will like to enjoy its food the same way you would. 

3. Your GSD Is Sick Or In Pain:

If your German Shepherd suddenly starts lying down to eat, and it has never done it before. Could be a sign that something is wrong.

And just like anyone who is not feeling well it may not feel like standing up to eat. And it will opt for a more comfortable position.

Furthermore, if you notice that your GSD is suddenly lying down to eat, it may be in pain. So, it’s best to take it to the vet to be sure. Better safe than sorry. 

4. Your GSD Is Getting Old:

Everything may be excellent with your dog, but it could be just getting old. As dogs age, they often experience joint pain and other health problems.

If your German Shepherd is starting to lie down more often, it could signify that it’s getting older and isn’t as spry as it used to be.

So, it’s normal, and there is nothing to worry about if it lays down to rest more often and may not want to stand up to eat as much. Just make sure you give your dog plenty of love and attention.

5. The Height Of Their Food Bowl:

If you notice your German Shepherd lying down to eat, try adjusting the height of his food bowl and see if that helps.

If your German Shepherd is a puppy, You may notice it taking food from its bowl and then moving to the ground to eat. When they are young, their bowl is usually too high for them, and it’s easier for them to eat if they have the food on the ground.

Also, the bowl may be too low for an adult German Shepherd. And can cause neck and back pain, so your GSD may prefer to lie down while eating. 

Related post: If you are wondering if German shepherds are allowed on planes then check out this post.

Underlying Health Issues That Can Make Your German Shepherd Lie Down To Eat Include:

  • Arthritis: Arthritis is a common health problem in older German Shepherds. If your GSD is starting to lie down more often, it could be a sign that is experiencing pain from arthritis.
  • Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is another common health problem in German Shepherds. It is a condition that causes the hip joint to develop abnormally, which can lead to pain and lameness. If your German Shepherd is lying down more often, it could be a sign that is experiencing pain from hip dysplasia.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: If your German Shepherd is lying down to eat; and has other gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. It could indicate an underlying gastrointestinal issue.
  • Obesity: This may seem like a problem only humans have to deal with, but dogs can be obese too. If your German Shepherd carries extra weight, it may be harder to stand up and eat. Laying down to eat may be more comfortable in this case.

Is It Normal For A GSD To Eat Lying Down?

Although it is not likely for every dog to lay down to eat, it is normal behavior for some dogs. 

As explained earlier, most dogs will naturally lay down to eat as it is a behavior they have inherited from their wild ancestors.

So, suppose you notice your German Shepherd is always lying down to eat, and it is something it will do that it likes. In that case, there is no need to worry as it is perfectly normal behavior. 

Just ensure that your GSD is doing it for the reasons mentioned above and not because it is sick or in pain.

If you are ever unsure, always consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to give you the best advice on what to do. 

Especially if you notice your dog is starting to do this and has never done it before.

Will My GSD Get Sick If It Eats Laying Down?

Whether or not your German Shepherd gets sick from eating lying down depends on why it is doing it.

Suppose your GSD is merely following its natural instincts. In that case, there is no need to worry, as this is perfectly normal behavior. 

However, suppose your dog is doing it because an underlying issue is developing. In that case, it could be a sign of sickness.

It is always essential to consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s health. They will be able to give you the best advice on what to do.

Also, the cleanliness of your dog’s food bowl is vital. If your GSD is eating from a dirty bowl, this could make them sick regardless of whether they are standing up or lying down.

So, always keep their food bowl clean and free from dirt, debris, or bacteria; this will help ensure your dog stays healthy and doesn’t get sick from eating.

Check out this related post: Why Your GSD Puts Its Paws On You

What Is The Best Position For A German Shepherd To Eat?

While it is okay to let your dog eat in any comfortable position, you should ensure they are eating in the best way possible.

One thing you can do is to invest in an elevated food bowl. It will help to reduce any neck or back pain your German Shepherd may be experiencing. 

It will also make it easier for them to eat as they won’t have to stoop down as low.

An elevated bowl will also help them develop and maintain a good posture, which is very important for German Shepherds and any other dog breed.

Another thing you can do is to place a non-slip mat under their food bowl. It will help to keep the bowl in place and prevent your dog from accidentally tipping it over.

If your German Shepherd is a messy eater, a non-slip mat will also help to keep their eating area clean, as it will catch any food or water that gets spilled. 

What to Do About Your German Shepherd If It Lays Down To Eat

If you have no problem with your German Shepherd laying down to eat, then there is no need to do anything about it. 

However, if you are concerned about your dog’s health or the cleanliness of their food bowl, then there are a few things you can do.

As mentioned earlier, one thing you can do is to invest in an elevated food bowl. It will help train your GSD to eat in a standing position.

Suppose you are concerned that they may be lying down to eat because of an injury or discomfort.

 In that case, it is best to consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to give you the best advice on what to do and whether or not there is a cause for concern.

Overall, there is no need to worry if your German Shepherd lays down to eat. It is something perfectly normal behavior that most dogs do.

Final Thoughts

Dogs, including German Shepherds, often lay down to eat for various reasons. In most cases, it is normal behavior, and there is no need to worry.

However, if you are concerned about your dog’s health, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian.

Hopefully, this article has helped to answer the question, “Why does my German Shepherd lay down to eat?” If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us. 

We would be happy to help in any way we can.

Justin- Writer & Chief Editor of Bestwatchdogs.com

(Author)

Justin is a protection dog enthusiast. He has years of experience teaching and training dogs. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned. Learn more About US

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