Why do Labrador Retrievers eat leaves and grass

Many pet owners have witnessed this behavior, and it may seem baffling to us humans. To us, there are few things more unappetizing then watching our dog chew on sticks, grass, leaves, dirt, or other inedible objects. What are the reasons behind this odd behavior? Is it our responsibility as pet owners to discourage our dogs from this behavior?

Labrador Retrievers are widely known for their abilities as hunting dogs. Their retrieval skills are legendary, and have been selectively bred into the Labrador breed over many decades. However, their ability to successfully retriever objects is because of their instinctual oral fixation. Labrador Retrievers have a constant desire to carry objects in their mouth, which is the reason why they make such reliable hunting dogs. However, this behavior also carries over to their life at home, causing them to want to chew on anything within reach. This especially applies outdoors, where there are many exciting and accessible objects for your dog to play with.

Your Labrador Retriever may also be chewing on outdoor objects because of environmental stress. If your dog is under significant emotional distress, it may drive them to constantly look for objects to chew on, much like a nervous child. If you believe that this is the case, this behavior is actually a sign that your dog needs extra attention from you. Labrador Retrievers are a very affectionate breed, and will constantly look for your approval and attention.

Some Labradors also eat outdoor objects because they are hungry, or are lacking nutrients. If your dog frequently goes outside to chew on grass or leaves, consider looking to purchase a higher-quality dog food, or increasing your dog’s food ration. A higher quality dog food will provide more vitamins and nutrients for your dog, which will prevent them from eating grass or leaves in an attempt to get additional sustenance.

If you wish to discourage your dog from chewing on inedible objects, the first step is to purchase additional dog toys that will appear much more exciting for your dog to interact with. A rubber toy filled with peanut butter is a good example of an interesting toy for your dog! Anything food related will definitely capture your dog’s attention, and be much more appetizing than chewing on a stick. Also, it may be beneficial to increase the amount of bonding time that you spend with your dog. This can include taking longer walks together, more playtime, or more frequent grooming. All of these things will help your dog feel closer to you, and subsequently decrease the amount of time that they spend engaging in destructive chewing behavior.

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