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The odd things dogs eat, and how to react

Dogs are great, aren’t they? They’re cute, affectionate, and loyal, not to mention being great company. But they can also have some questionable culinary preferences.

Many – if not most – dog owners will experience their precious pups trying to eat all sorts of things they shouldn’t, from time to time. Just go to the end of this article to read some personal anecdotes from our own YuMOVE team!

So, what should you do about a connoisseur canine, with all the wrong tastes? Let’s take a look.


Grass and flowers


Grass is one of the more benign things that you might catch your dog eating, outside of their usual diet. It’s also very common. According to one 2007 study that analysed 1,571 surveys, 68% of the surveyed dogs were reported to eat plants on a daily or weekly basis.

So why do dogs often feast on foliage? After all, they’re not exactly grazing animals.

There are a few potential reasons.

One is that they might be experiencing a dietary deficiency, and so are trying to compensate to top-up on some essential nutrients.

Another reason could be that they’re eating grass or plants to get more fibre, in order to maintain a healthy gut.

While it’s often said that dogs eat grass to help deal with an upset stomach, the 2007 study mentioned above found that only 9% of dogs frequently appeared ill before eating grass, and only 22% vomited afterwards, so this may not always be the case.


What should I do about it?

Make sure to give your dog nutritious food, rich in fibre, and to keep an eye on their overall health. Beyond this, it’s probably not cause for concern if they occasionally chow down on a mouthful of grass.

When it comes to your dog feasting on flowers, though, be very cautious – as some flowers can be toxic to dogs. Your vet, or a professional trainer, can help with suggestions on how to prevent this behaviour.


Happy puppy in the sunlight 


Poo (their own and others’)


This is easily one of the most disgusting things that dogs sometimes do, but it’s important to put it into context.

Although some people claim that dogs pick up this habit (scientifically termed ‘coprophagia’) due to a nutritional deficiency, or stress, at least one 2018 review published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior concluded that:

“Coprophagy does not appear to be related to environment, lifestyle, physical activity, anxiety, type of food, nutritional status, or reproductive status. Coprophagic behavior may be influenced by the presence of a coprophagic cohabitant.”

In other words, it’s likely that your dog isn’t eating poo because they’re deficient in nutrients, or stressed, but they may be doing it because they’ve learned the behaviour from another dog.


What should I do about it?

Coprophagia definitely isn’t an ideal behaviour for your dog to pick up. Not only is it unpleasant, but it can also lead to an increased risk of contracting parasites, in addition to other potential health complications.

So, what should you do about it?

It’s generally a good idea to avoid scolding your dog when they engage in this behaviour. Instead, interrupt and distract them, and give them something better to do.

If the habit persists even after repeatedly interrupting it, consult with your vet or a qualified trainer. It is also sensible to regularly worm your dog.


Dog inspecting clothes 


Clothes and furniture


While your dog may not necessarily eat your clothes or sofa cushions, they may still attack and tear them up, from time to time.

Many dogs engage in this kind of destructive behaviour, and there can be a variety of different reasons why. They may do so as a way of externalising stress – maybe from separation anxiety, a lack of sufficient daily exercise, or even exhaustion.

Puppies, in particular, are likely to try and bite and chew things they shouldn’t as part of the teething process.


What should I do about it?

Start by focusing on the basics. Make sure your dog has a healthy and consistent daily routine. Take them for regular walks, and make sure they’re properly fed at regular intervals. If they’re showing signs of separation anxiety, consider consulting with a canine behaviourist.

As always, it’s a good idea to check in with your vet if a problematic behaviour becomes common, or if your dog does eat any of these things.


Birds, mice, and other small animals


It can be very upsetting to see your dog attacking, and even eating, birds, mice, or other small animals.

It’s important to remember that this kind of behaviour is largely instinctual, since dogs are natural predators. But that doesn’t mean you just have to let it slide.


What should I do about it?

There are various things you can do to protect small animals from your dog, and to prevent your dog from attacking them.

Fixing a bell to your dog’s collar will make it harder for them to sneak up on unsuspecting creatures like birds.

Playing with your dog regularly, and giving them chew toys, can also help to expend some of their aggressive energy.

Of course, you can also train your dog to ignore smaller animals and to disengage when commanded. A professional dog trainer can, once again, be a great help here.


 Happy dog rolling on the grass

Tales from the YuMOVE office dogs


As you know, YuMOVE is a company of pet lovers, and many of our team have dogs of their own.

Here are just a few unfortunate YuMOVE insider tales of dogs eating things they shouldn’t have.


Coco will eat anything on the street if we don’t stop her… bits of bread left for birds, bird poo, cat poo, fox poo…

She eats shoes, socks, anything out of the bin. Basically, anything Coco isn't allowed, she eats - Georgia


Mac ate duck poo when he was a puppy, and that almost killed him. He had to spend 2 weeks at the vet! He’s also eaten a large stone, plastic berries from a Christmas wreath and even, once, a razor blade. All those needed vet visits and were costly to remove. He’s ok now, though!”Toby


“My Working cocker Cassey (RIP), ate an entire nest of LIVE pink baby mice whilst I screamed hysterically!” - Hayley


Making sure your dog only eats things they’re supposed to is very important, but even well-nourished pups may need some extra digestive support from time to time. YuMOVE Digestive Care PLUS  is packed with gut-supporting natural ingredients, including a unique prebiotic and probiotic formula that helps maintain the normal gut balance, and Bentonite clay to help firm loose stools.

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