If your dog eats everything he can find this can be a dangerous habit but luckily most dogs eventually outgrow eating everything that crosses their path.
Why Do Dogs Eat Everything?
Especially young dogs and puppies tend to explore their surroundings with their mouths. They lick and chew on everything to figure out if it’s edible and ideally what is not edible.
Usually, dogs eventually outgrow this habit and stop licking, chewing and swallowing foreign objects. With the help of training, you can help your dog to give up this bad habit.
You don’t want to constantly have to watch your dog, pick stuff out of his mouth or put him in his crate.
Chewing and eating everything can become dangerous when your dog starts nibbling on and eating poisonous plants outside.
Dogs Eating Grass
Some dogs enjoy eating grass for one of two purposes.
They either like the taste of grass and eat it out of an urge because they are missing some vitamins or they eat it to vomit something up that is causing their stomach to be upset.
Either way, chewing on and eating grass from time to time can be completely normal behavior and shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
My dogs also eat grass from now and then when we are out on walks or from the yard and after more than 10 years they never had any health issues connected to eating grass.
Lots of dogs (including mine) also enjoy eating veggies like carrots or paprika as a healthy treat.
If your dog is obsessively eating grass multiple times a day over weeks and/or vomiting it’s time to give your vet a call and check in with him.
Dogs Eating Poop
Eating other dog’s or cat’s poop is very common in young dogs as well. We all find this pretty disgusting but dogs have a reason for this behavior.
Other poop can often have undigested minerals or vitamins that your dog might crave to eat. If this is all they were doing it wouldn’t be such a big problem but the poop can contain parasites that your dog would eat and infect himself with.
Make sure to discourage your dog from eating poop from other animals and he should also usually outgrow this behavior.
Eating Everything On Walks
If your dog eats everything that crosses his path when you go for a walk it can be stressful for you to keep having a close eye on him as well as fidgeting things out of his mouth all the time.
Training is very important so that your dog doesn’t eat anything that he definitely shouldn’t.
Take lots of treats for your dog and try bringing a toy for your dog to carry as well. If he has a toy in his mouth he won’t be able to much on anything else and you’ll immediately know because he’ll have dropped the toy.
Precautions You Can Take
- Don’t leave your dog unsupervised. If you are watching your dog at all times you can make sure that he doesn’t munch on anything that falls to the ground or may already be on the floor like furniture, cables, and plants.
- Remove everything from the floor that your dog could munch on this includes cables, human food, any bags, socks or other laundry and low hanging plants. If your dog can reach it he’ll most likely try to grab it and much on it.
- Set up a room that is completely puppy-proof meaning that there is nothing he could destroy or reach in there. Every time that you can’t watch your dog put him in there and you can be sure that he won’t eat anything that he shouldn’t.
- Alternatively, you can put your pup on a leash and attach it to something close to you. You can sit and work in peace (like me right now) and your dog will be just fine sleeping under the table. Your dog can still move around somewhat freely but won’t be able to run off and do nonsense.
- Lastly, the “harshest” precaution you can take is put your dog in a crate when you can’t watch him and he can sleep in there or you can give him something to chew on. Just make sure that the crate is big enough for your dog so that he can move around and won’t feel claustrophobic.
You can try these training methods on their own but they best work if all applied together. You might already be doing some of them which makes teaching the rest easier.
You’re out and about on a walk and your dog starts eating something off of the floor BUT you have something even better to offer him. Whatever your dog has in its mouth he’ll surely trade you for a yummy treat.
Always having something that your dog loves will ensure that he will drop whatever he’s eating.
This also works great for when he’s chewing on things that he shouldn’t be. At the same time, he’ll spit whatever he’s chewing on out and you can take it away from him.
You can issue a command at the same time like “drop it” and once you’ve successfully taught your dog this command you won’t have to start digging around in his mouth to get whatever he’s eating out.
Teach your dog to trade you up and going on walks as well as time at home will be a lot more peaceful for you.
Teaching your dog not to touch something is helpful when something falls off the table or you’re out on a walk and there’s something on the ground.
Before the pup has the chance to munch on something that they shouldn’t eat quickly get their attention by calling him or her name.
Then he should be distracted from the food and you can call him to you and give him a treat.
I already trained my puppy to look at me before I placed his food bowl in front of him. This teaches him patience as well as connect and check-in with you before eating something.
When you have placed down his food bowl make sure that he doesn’t eat it right away but rather quietly waits for your command to let him eat. The way I achieved this is by raising the bowl above his head, waiting till he sits and placing it down slowly BUT if he tried to eat it lift it back up.
Continue doing this until your pup is sitting and waiting and you were able to place the bowl on the floor without your pup getting up. You can then relieve him and tell him to “go”, “eat” or whatever you want your command to be.
After your pup has mastered this you can go ahead and train the “leave it” command.
Drain His Energy
Another way to help prevent your dog from munching down on everything is by playing a lot of games with him. Try not to only drain him physically but he also needs mentally challenging activities which could be training him the other methods (if you haven’t already).
Potentially draining games can be:
- Agility training (mentally & physically)
- Tug of war (physically)
- Find the treat (mentally)
- Frisbee (physically)
- Swimming (physically)
- Play hide and seek (mentally & physically)
You will bond with your dog, he will be pretty tired, have less energy to chew things up that he shouldn’t be and at the same time, you’re teaching him something.
My Dog Never Outgrew The “Eating-Everything-Phase”
Some dogs can have a disorder called Pica. This causes your dog to compulsively eat inedible things.
If your dog is already older and outgrown the puppy stage but still eating everything there could be the possibility that he has Pica.
A good start to dealing with this disorder is getting him a soft muzzle to prevent him from stuffing things in his mouth.
Nevertheless, if you have the feeling that your dog might have this, consult your vet.