At some point, every puppy owner notices that their pet is a bit clueless when it comes to what he puts in his mouth. You might have a lot of treats for your four-legged friend, but it won’t stop him from eating everything he sees – bugs, grass, twists, rocks, wrappers, and dirt.
The good news is that your puppy is more likely to outgrow this weird habit. However, you should be there to teach him. Here are the steps you should take in order to stop your puppy from eating whatever comes his way:
Know why it’s important
According to Ultimate Home Life Guide, eating completely inedible things helps puppies to explore the world. The process of chewing and swallowing things is the way to learn what they can eat. You should keep an eye on your dog since this method of exploring can be dangerous for your pup. For instance, eating rocks or bugs may lead to airway obstruction or poisoning. Worst-case scenario, ignoring this behavior can lead to fatal outcomes for your puppy. That’s why you should start training your dog as soon as possible.
Also, you should be aware of the fact that puppies eat grass and dirt in order to get the necessary vitamins. Besides, some dogs just like how grass or dirt tastes like. So, don’t be surprised to see your pup eating grass in the park. Some canines can benefit from eating fruits and vegetables such as apple slices, lettuces, and blueberries.
Sometimes dogs eat grass in order to stimulate vomiting (in case they ate something wrong before). Chewing grass can soothe the feeling in dogs. However, you should keep an eye on your dog so that he will not eat poisonous plants such as belladonna, lily, monkshood, English ivy, or wisteria bulbs. In case your pup eats some of these plants, you should force vomiting. Before you give your dog anything in order to induce vomiting, consult with the vet or an animal control center.
Putting your finger down the throat is not a good idea. First of all, it may hurt your pup. Secondly, you may also get bitten.
Start with a game
Your pup should definitely have a ‘drop it’ skill. It certain situations, this skill can be lifesaving. In order to teach your dog, consider playing an ‘exchange game’.
Next time you go for a walk, take some really tasty treats with you (for instance, you can take a hot dog, cubed ham, or lunch meat with you). Once you see that your dog has something inedible in his mouth, offer him your snack and say ‘drop it’. At some point, your dog will realize that listening to his mommy or daddy is a great idea!
There are a lot of YouTube videos where dog owners show how the ‘drop it’ game looks like.
Make him exercise
All puppies need to spend a lot of time outside in order to learn and explore the world. So, you can’t keep him at home all the time. Neither you can find a perfectly clean place outside where your dog can play. That’s why you should focus on increasing your puppy’s exercise so that he will not have time to walk around and look for bags or rocks to eat. There is a wide variety of exercises you can do with your puppy- fetch, tug of war, nose work, flirt poles, agility, impulse control, training and shaping games. If your dog seems to have a lot of energy inside and outside your house, nose work and relaxation work are necessary for him. There is one secret you should know: tired dogs are less naughty.
Get his attention
Another thing that you can do in order to stop your pup from eating dirt is to get his attention when you go for a walk. To keep your puppy’s attention on you, you can start giving him more treats. Also, you can begin running with your dog. And let’s be honest, this approach will benefit both of you.
Consider a dog muzzle
A lot of dog owners don’t like the idea of using dog muzzles because they are afraid that other people will think that their dog is aggressive. The only thing you should know is that your pup will feel comfortable wearing it.
It will not help you to solve the problem of eating everything, but it can be useful in some cases. For instance, a dog muzzle can be helpful when you are tired or ill. Running, training, and getting your puppy’s attention can be physically challenging.
Keep in mind that dog muzzles don’t work for everyone. Some puppies can get some bugs or little rocks through a muzzle. So, keep an eye on him every time you take him for a walk.
Go to a vet
If nothing helps your dog to stop eating inedible things, consider going to a vet. Some dogs suffer from pica – a disorder that results in the compulsive eating of everything around.
Also, a vet can teach you what to do in case your pup swallows something inedible. Yes, you should be prepared to remove things from your dog’s mouth in order to rescue his life. For instance, you can use your finger like a hook. To make your pup feel comfortable with your hands in his mouth, give him a bunch of treats from time to time.
The bottom line
Eating different things is a dog’s instinct. It helps them to learn what they can eat and what they can’t. Unfortunately, it’s a dangerous way to explore the world. Sometimes puppies eat something that can result in death. To help your four-legged friend stop eating everything, consider teaching him a ‘drop it’ skill. Also, you can start doing different exercises with your dog outside so that he won’t have time to look for things to eat. Usually, it takes a few weeks for a puppy to outgrow this habit. Consider going to a vet in case nothing can help your pup.