How Do I Stop My Cocker Puppy Eating My Garden Plants?
Cocker Spaniel Eating Plants? Make Sure They're Not Toxic!
My beautiful cocker spaniel puppy has always eaten greenery out of the garden. He nips the heads off the daffodils, bluebells and bits of ivy, but this is now getting worse as he has progressed to the rose bush and wisteria.
Indoors he attacks the artificial plant, digging up the moss from the bottom, but the worse was when he ate the Swiss Cheese plant! (It made him sick and very thirsty).
I have tried sprays but with no success.
Any help gratefully received.
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
Eating grass and plants is fairly common in the canine world - so don't worry too much, however, I recommend you try to find out what's causing your puppy to eat vegetation, before going on to address the problem.
Check his stool - is it firm and worm free? If not, worm him immediately.
Is he still eating properly?
He may be chewing on vegetation to make himself sick because he has a tummy upset - you'll often see dogs do this - however, the odd nibble on a bit of grass shouldn't be too harmful to your puppy.
My Cocker occasionally eats grass when we're out on walks - although I'm never sure if it's to make him sick because he has a tummy upset or he's sick because he's eaten grass!?
However, if your puppy's chewing grass every day, it may be a sign of something more than simply an upset tummy.
If your puppy is eating plants as well as grass, and has been for quite a while, he may be doing so because his diet is lacking in nutrition. Try increasing his fiber intake by adding a few cooked greens to his diet to see if this helps.
Be aware, grass and plants may have been sprayed with harmful chemicals or fertilizers and, over time, toxins may build up in his system (especially if he's regularly chewing greenery) which can cause serious harm to your Cocker Spaniel's health.
Try to keep your puppy away from vegetation that's been sprayed with chemicals or fertilizers.
You also need to know what he's eating as there could be many poisonous plants lurking in your garden.
The cocker spaniel diet should be nutritious enough to give him everything he needs in one go, without the need for foraging and/or scrounging.
If you're feeding him a complete puppy food, check the manufacturers dog food ingredients label to be certain that it contains sufficient nutrients for his needs.
Breaking The Habit!
It sounds like you need to break his plant eating habit.
First, I recommend you move the house plants out of reach when you're not available to supervise your puppy or put him in his crate.
It's better to reward a puppy for the behavior you want, rather than punishing unwanted behavior.
So, next time he goes to chew on one of your house plants, get his attention (the more animated the batter!) call him to you and ask him to sit. If he sits, reward him for doing so. This should distract him from the plant.
You can continue with a few puppy obedience training commands to keep his attention - he should forget all about the plants!
You say the spray is not working, try adding a little lemon juice or bitter apple to the water, but don't spray his eyes, just spray into his mouth or onto his muzzle.
Whatever method you choose, you must remain consistent - keep at it, don't allow him to fail.
I'd also recommend that you take a quick trip to your vets just to make sure there's no underlying illness - better to be safe than sorry.