Why Is My Dog Eating Grass, Poop and Sticks?

By: Cailin R. Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University @C_HeinzeVMD

Nutrient deficiency or just weird tastes? Here's help figuring out why your dog is eating that.

Dogs

Dogs make us laugh regularly with their silly and quirky behaviors, but one that can be a little annoying is that they often want to eat everything. Food you drop on the floor, shoes, your garden—nothing is off limits. If your dog has been eating some weird things you might wonder if he has a nutrient deficiency, but there's little evidence to support that idea. Here's why your pet may be eating non-food items and what you can do about it.

Grass & Plants

While for some dogs grass-eating is linked to vomiting, many otherwise well dogs eat grass and other plants. It's pretty normal, but put a stop to it if your dog is vomiting often, eating grass treated with insecticides or fertilizers or noshing on toxic plants. Check out aspca.org for a list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

Poop

This is one stinky habit. Many dogs will eat other animal's droppings (even their own!) if given the opportunity. Yes, it's gross, but the poop probably tastes good to dogs. Limit your pet's access to poop to prevent infections like E. coli, Salmonella and worms.

Sticks, balls, socks, etc.

When dogs are bored or stressed they may eat toys and sticks, but try to prevent this. Objects like these can get lodged in the digestive tract and the dog may require emergency surgery. Invest in some safe chew toys instead and be sure to give your dog plenty of exercise.

Bottom Line

Eating these kinds of things is pretty normal behavior for dogs, so don't worry. However, if your dog seems constantly hungry or repeatedly eats nonfood items, consult your veterinarian.

Related Articles:
Are Exotic Meats in Dog or Cat Food Better?
The Best Vegetables for Dogs and Cats
Pet Nutrition: How Can Having a Pet Make Me Healthier?
Should I Feed My Overweight Pet a Lite Food?
What to Feed Your Pet

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