How to Get a Dog to Stop Eating Grass & Leaves

by Mary Lougee
"Oh, please? You can't eat just one."

"Oh, please? You can't eat just one."

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Gross, green grass vomit again. Why is Buster doing that? A dog's desire to eat nonfood items is called pica. Dogs eat grass and leaves as an aid in digestion, for extra fiber, or in young dogs, out of boredom. Canine ancestors eat grass, berries and just about anything they can find to snack on in the wild. Eating grass and leaves may be a trait remaining from the pack instinct. Proper training can keep your pet from grazing like a cow and relieve you from cleaning green vomit.

Step 1

Give your dog chew toys and puzzle toys with peanut butter in them for play. Sometimes dogs eat grass outdoors because they need more playtime and can become bored by themselves during the day. Puzzle toys require lots of time and licking to get the wonderful peanut butter treat out of the center and will keep your four-legged friend busy.

Step 2

Play tug-of-war with your fur buddy with a rope toy. Games that are interactive between you and your pet stimulate the senses and tire him out, so he may avoid eating his greenery outdoors.

Step 3

Teach your dog the “leave it” command. Sit on the floor indoors with an ordinary piece of kibble in one hand. Show it to him and as he reaches for it, close your hand, and say, “leave it.” Quickly hand him a beefy dog treat with the other hand. Practice this command so that he realizes “leave it” and ignoring the item will secure him a high-quality reward.

Step 4

Clip a leash onto your dog’s collar and go for a walk. When he shows interest in grazing on grass or leaves, say “leave it” and call him to you. Give him lots of praise, petting and a dog treat. Keep practicing this command and reward system until you can let him off leash in an area of containment, such as a backyard with a fence.

Step 5

Go to a secure environment and practice the command if your furry friend starts to show interest in grass or leaves. Call him to you and reward him with treats.

Step 6

Phase out the treats slowly, so that your dog will come when you call him and leave the greenery alone. Offer lots of petting and praise for coming when you call him. Positive reinforcement of acceptable behavior creates a strong bond between you and your pet.

Items You Will Need

  • Chew toys
  • Rope toys
  • Dog kibble
  • Beefy dog treats
  • Leash
  • High-fiber dog food (optional)

Tips

  • Consider changing your pet’s food to a premium dry food with additional fiber. Some dogs eat grass as an instinct for more fiber in their diet.
  • Teach your dog the "leave it" command when he is young. You can prevent him from eating or chewing things that he shouldn’t as soon as you catch him in the act. Think of all the money you can save by not replacing slippers and remote controls!

Warning

  • Grass treatments, such as fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides are harmful to your pet if he eats them soon after the treatment. These items act as poison in your pet’s digestive system. Teaching your pet to stop eating grass and leaves altogether can keep him safe when you are in another environment and don’t know if the grass has been treated.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Mary Lougee is a writer in Texas who writes on a wide variety of subjects from home improvement to pet care. Her love of animals led to building a farm and caring for rescue animals from equine and swine to dogs and cats. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.

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