Why Do Dogs Eat Leaves?
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Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Are you thinking of having fun with your dog outside the house, on the lawn? And then, you may have come across them munching on the grass or the plant leaves. Does this make you wonder why they eat leaves?

Veterinary science has found proven answers to this scenario, and this behavior does have links to your dog’s health. So if you frequently notice your canine friend chewing on leaves, keep reading, and you will have your answers by the end of this article.

We will also delve into what remedial measures you can do about this as a dog owner. We won’t keep you waiting any longer. Let’s get cracking!

Major Reasons Why Your Dog Eats Leaves

The habit of dog eating leaves has several possible causal triggers behind it. The one that stands on top is the result of your dog having an upset stomach. This is often the go-to response of your dog when they face digestive disorders, but it does have harmful effects. Therefore, you can’t ignore this act considering the health and well-being of your buddy. It needs to be addressed using proper professional help

In this section, let’s deep dive into some of the primary causal factors for the behavior mentioned above.

Tummy Discomfort

Several studies have been conducted to analyze the relationship between stomach issues and consumption of plant material after that. And the results have been on the positive side. Dogs do tend to eat materials like leaves or grass while suffering from digestive issues.

They eat these plant leaves to get rid of the poorly digested food items in their stomach via vomiting. Therefore, there is a good chance that your pup will vomit after consuming leaves.

Clearly, based on these studies and their observation, it can be stated that dogs are frequently munching on leaves to relieve them from their stomach issues.

Lack Of A Balanced Diet

A nutritionally imbalanced diet can mean your dog trying to fulfill their hunger using random entities like leaves and grass. This trait can be traced back to their ancestral genes. Those dogs consumed grass for better nutrients.

For dogs that lived in the wild environment, grass and leaves were viable food sources when meat was unavailable. Thus, although these species are dominantly carnivores, they did learn this act of surviving on flora for sustenance.

For instance, one of the Chihuahuas in our dog training center occasionally ate leaves from a gardening bush. Upon consultation with a pet nutritionist, we understood the diet deficiency, i.e., lack of fiber in the diet. The leaf-eating habit was curbed upon following the new diet prescribed by the vet.

Dog Has Pica Condition

Pica is a common medical condition among dogs due to which they chew and consume food items that are generally considered non-edible. They can consume anything ranging from cloth, paper, leaves, cable wires, and so on when inflicted with Pica.

This is a serious health issue, and it can lead to intestinal damage and even poisoning if not taken care of quickly. In addition, we have also noticed cases of dogs losing appetite when suffering from this issue. This change in their digestive activity can then, in turn, lead to nutritional issues and diseases.

Never hesitate to seek your trusted vet or dog trainer to control Pica. This issue has a dangerous potential of causing several other health conditions like blockage of intestinal tracks, damage in the excretory system, mouth ulcers, and bad breath, etc.

Poor Engagement Levels

Dogs may be trying to convey that they are bored. If you notice them regularly eating grass, take measures to boost their physical and cognitive engagement levels. For instance, take them out for walks, play outdoor games, make them participate in dog puzzles, and so on.

They may be mouthing leaves as a pass-time activity out of boredom. There is also the possibility that they tried eating a leaf as they’ve started liking the taste. 

We have also seen cases where dog parents grow indoor plants that are relatively safe to satisfy the canine’s desire to munch on leaves. 

So far, we have looked into the main reasons or triggers behind your dog’s consumption of leaves. 

In the next section, we will look at some points of consideration if your dog is a habitual eater of leaves.

Points Of Consideration If Your Dog Eats Leaves

Studies by veterinary science show that consuming plant leaves or grass generally does not prove fatal for dogs. This is a valid statement provided the leaves do not belong to a poisonous plant species and are not chemically treated. 

As a responsible dog parent, it is imperative to first understand the root cause behind this grazing issue. If you’re lucky, dogs will stop this habit by themselves. We have seen those cases too. But it is not recommended to wait for luck; take action at the earliest by seeking medical help.

There may be an increasing frequency of throwing up and diarrhea, leading to more woes for you to repeatedly clean up your home. This is a clear indicator to visit the vet. In addition, your dog could get allergic reactions if the leaves they consumed were treated with herbicides or pesticides.

Start the course of medicines as per the advice by the vet and follow the routine stringently. Never experiment with a new diet during the recovery phase. Instead, think of changing their diet plan only after receiving the sign-off from the registered veterinarian.

Let’s now head over to the remedial measures for controlling and preventing this leaf-eating behavior of your pup.

Measures To Control Your Dog’s Leaf-Eating Habit 

Follow these tried and tested control measures to keep your dog away from munching on those leaves.

Focus On Providing A Balanced Diet

Your dog may probably have insufficient fiber intake in their current diet plan. This is one of the commonly seen reasons behind the eating of leaves by canines.

You can supplement their current diet by adding high-fiber dog food items like veggies. These can include cooked broccoli, raw carrots, and other greens. The benefit of feeding them these veggies is that the fiber content is drastically improved without affecting the calorie levels. 

Physical And Cognitive Training Regimen

Depending on your dog’s breed, they will require a particular amount of physical exercise like outdoor training, walks/jogs, sports, etc. For instance, highly energetic breeds like Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd need greater workout levels.

If they do not receive the physical stimulation in abundance, they will utilize this unspent energy for unwanted behaviors like eating leaves.

You can also keep them mentally occupied by engaging them in dog puzzles and indoor games. This is another smart way to keep them away from the leaves and your lawn.

Chew Treats For Distraction

If this leaf consumption is now a habitual activity for your canine, you can try a distraction strategy by giving them an alternative item to chew on. For instance, a chew toy or a nice juice bone can keep them hooked for hours.

You can also provide them chewable treats like beef sticks that provide an added advantage of improving dental health. Intestinal issues can also be kept at bay.

Obedience Training

The best and most recommended remedial strategy towards alleviating unwanted behavior in dogs is via a strong obedience training course. Feel free to consult a seasoned dog trainer or a pet training institute to receive a personalized training regimen for your dog.

Upon following the training plan, your dog will eventually obey your orders that prevent them from eating more leaves. You can train for commands such as, “Leave it!”, “Stop eating!”, “Get back!” etc.

Wrapping Things Up

As we saw in this article, we learned that dogs munch on leaves due to numerous reasons. As dog owners, try to narrow down the reason behind this habit as a first step. Then, follow it up with a control measure.

Dog’s repeatedly chewing on leaves is not something to be ignored. This habit can lead to serious health issues that range from diarrhea to intentional damage. Never prolong to act on it. Instead, take your dog to the medical clinic at the earliest for a thorough check-up. Having a nutritionally balanced diet also can be a game-changer.

Once they recover, prevent them from further indulging in the same by enforcing a stringent training regimen. Get a customized plan from a professional dog trainer that will provide the dogs optimum mental and physical stimulation levels.

We hope you found this article on dogs eating leaves to be of value. And do implement the steps mentioned above, and your dog will stop exhibiting the leaf-eating soon.