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Liesje 05-08-2014 10:16 PM

Obsessive grass eating
 
I need some suggestions for dealing with my pit bull mix's latest obsession - grass. Now I know a lot of dogs like to "graze". In fact, Coke and Legend will also chomp on grass if they are bored or I let them outside and forget to feed them after I've been gone all day. Indy is taking this to a completely different level.

She has always been absolutely obsessed with food. If I am preparing a snack, she will sit there with her eyes popping out, drooling, and teeth chattering like crazy. I actually cannot use food in certain aspects of her training because she looses her mind. She eats like every meal is the first meal she's had in weeks. She also eats pretty much anything that isn't nailed down when it comes to small objects and debris. She's not destructive in the house, but eats anything small - leaves, woodchips, etc. Acorns are another obsession of hers but luckily we don't have them at home, I only have to deal with that for two weeks while we're at the cottage. Anyway, normally when I catch her grazing I verbally correct her, or if I'm inside I rap on the window and she stops. For a while I didn't think much of it, but starting this week she has now pooped in the house FOUR times (she has never previously had an accident since I've had her) and every time it has been this absolutely rancid poop that is basically like gooey grass. I'm posting this in the behavior section because I really think this is a behavioral issue, like she's neurotic. She is a very energetic, high drive dog and is very sweet with us but she is also pretty soft, sometimes kind of anxious.

So far what I've done is let her out to potty and then put her back inside. I hate doing this though because she has a lot of fun outside with Legend and she also is not a clingy dog, she doesn't mind being outside and napping in the sun, but if I can't literally watch her every second she will quickly start chomping mouthfuls of grass between wrestling matches with Legend or playing with toys. Today it got really hot here and I was outside a lot but working on chores and couldn't be watching her like a hawk so I threw some empty peanut butter containers in the yard. The few times I checked, she was working on those rather than eating grass so that may help, but I won't be able to bait her with treats every time we go out.

I'm just curious if anyone's seen this before and how you handled it. Again, this is not the occasional grass grazing or even puking grass and bile (Coke does that). She is literally inhaling it and when she poops it out, it's like a Great Dane sized poop (she weighs less than 40lbs). She poops 2-3 times a day and they are larger poops than my GSDs,the majority of it looks like a wet bird's nest. Also I'm sick of cleaning up the rancid mess when she has accidents. Up until this week she's been a wonderful dog in the house, either free or in a crate, and had never had an accident.

GatorBytes 05-08-2014 11:03 PM

Chlorophyll.

Funny, when I added dogs to "chlorophyll in lawn grass"...got this link 3 little Pitties.

This kind of explains, but gives you couple things to try...you could also try spirulina or chlorella - chlorophyll oxygenates the blood.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

llombardo 05-09-2014 12:28 AM

Mine are obsessed with the sticks:( a couple dig for grubs:(:( I have noticed more grass eating in the last couple days and I noticed ants. I have been on all of there butts for a while now .

Lilie 05-09-2014 07:55 AM

My Golden has minor seizures. He always has. They've never been bad enough that the vet wanted to put him on meds. We thought he'd get worse as he aged, but he hasn't. He does have behavioral problems, both with aggression and OCD behaviors.

One of the things he does when he gets excited is eats grass. Not like a normal dog who grazes, but with a frenzied ripping grass out by the roots type of behavior. He will normally have an object (like a ball or toy) in his mouth, he'll drop it and tear out the grass around the object. He'll ingest as much as he can. This might go one for a minute or two, then he'll pick up the object and run to a different spot and repeat the action. Once he calms down, he'll just play with the toy and forget about the grass. I've never seen him 'graze' like a normal dog.

Liesje 05-09-2014 08:17 AM

Maybe she needs to be medicated? I don't know. She's always eaten grass, but this new level of obsession is more recent. She was sick AGAIN last night, poop I mean. I've never seen her throw up anything. Right now I'm just not feeding her more than a few kibbles at a time and taking her out on a short leash.

FWIW nothing has changed recently about her diet or her overall health. We do have a big change in the home that may be contributing to more anxiety as well as more pent up energy but there's nothing I can do about it. We have a couple staying with us for about a month and they have a newborn baby they are adopting. I don't allow Indy near them because 1) she's really wary of men she doesn't know and this guy always wears hats for a medical reason, 2) the wife is actually 8 months pregnant and we're still working on Indy not being mouthy or jumping up on people and 3) obviously I don't trust her around someone else's 1 week old baby when she's never seen a baby before. So she is being crated or confined to smaller rooms almost all the time and is actually very good with this (not barky or destructive) but I'm sure it could be draining on her mentally. We have a very tiny house so I'm constantly moving/herding dogs around to keep them out of the way of the baby. It's stressful for everyone but what are you gonna do... I just don't want this grass obsession to develop into a permanent habit.

Liesje 05-09-2014 08:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GatorBytes (Post 5494346)
Chlorophyll.

Funny, when I added dogs to "chlorophyll in lawn grass"...got this link 3 little Pitties.

This kind of explains, but gives you couple things to try...you could also try spirulina or chlorella - chlorophyll oxygenates the blood.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

The website says to relax and not worry about it. I don't know that it applies here. If you'd see the sheer volume she is "processing" you'd understand. I fear she is going to bloat or have some kind of obstruction if this continues. She has been sick several days in a row now (pooping out big "birds nest" of grass followed by liquid) despite me trying to be diligent not leaving her outside without something fun to do but she's sneaky and will eat huge chunks in one gulp (my other dogs will kind of munch on a blade or two at a time).

I may try a tie-out that reaches just into the yard so she can go potty but then have the driveway area to sun and play. She likes to sit in front of the gate on the driveway and sun or watch people. The edge of the yard closest to the back door is mostly dirt already, she can potty on it but there's barely anything left there for her to eat.

I know I can keep her from eating grass, but I'm more curious how to address the behavior long term. Realistically, I don't want to have to take a dog out 5 times a day on a 4' leash and closely supervise all of her yard time when we have a nice yard that is secure for dogs and setup for them to have some space to play and enjoy their pool, toys, etc while I am working inside or doing chores and not having to pay 100% attention to their every move. I want her to be able to enjoy being outdoors without having these "episodes" of frantic inhaling of grass. I couldn't care less about the condition of the yard.

Blanketback 05-09-2014 08:41 AM

Our dogs have been eating grass lately, but we've only had "real" grass for a few weeks here, since it was all brown winter-kill up until just recently. Maybe she's only excited to see it again? Like, extremely excited, so it's not so much an actual obsession?

Our AmBull is the same with food - and I use the term very loosely! Anything edible is fair game. She'll ram herself through a fence to get tomatoes and corn, tear apples off lower branches - and that's only the beginning. Kleenex is also a favorite treat, lol. She also acts like each meal is her last, and inhales her food. I can keep her occupied with a bone, but otherwise she's outside foraging for 'food' non-stop. It's weird behavior to me, after only experiencing the fussy GSD food snobs, lol.

sparra 05-09-2014 08:44 AM

Sounds like a behavioral thing to me........any reason you can't keep your grass really short so she can't eat it......might break her out of the habit.

Susan_GSD_mom 05-09-2014 08:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Liesje (Post 5495138)
The website says to relax and not worry about it. I don't know that it applies here. If you'd see the sheer volume she is "processing" you'd understand. I fear she is going to bloat or have some kind of obstruction if this continues. She has been sick several days in a row now (pooping out big "birds nest" of grass followed by liquid) despite me trying to be diligent not leaving her outside without something fun to do but she's sneaky and will eat huge chunks in one gulp (my other dogs will kind of munch on a blade or two at a time).

I may try a tie-out that reaches just into the yard so she can go potty but then have the driveway area to sun and play. She likes to sit in front of the gate on the driveway and sun or watch people. The edge of the yard closest to the back door is mostly dirt already, she can potty on it but there's barely anything left there for her to eat.

I know I can keep her from eating grass, but I'm more curious how to address the behavior long term. Realistically, I don't want to have to take a dog out 5 times a day on a 4' leash and closely supervise all of her yard time when we have a nice yard that is secure for dogs and setup for them to have some space to play and enjoy their pool, toys, etc while I am working inside or doing chores and not having to pay 100% attention to their every move. I want her to be able to enjoy being outdoors without having these "episodes" of frantic inhaling of grass. I couldn't care less about the condition of the yard.

In the past I had a couple of GSD boys who would graze like cows. What worried me was that we lived across the road from a huge farmer's field, and he sprayed fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc., and the prevailing winds came in our direction. I found that as long as we kept the grass mowed very low and used a string trimmer to keep it low along the fences, around trees, around flower beds etc., they didn't eat it. They liked the long grass, wouldn't bother short grass. Also, funny, but I noticed that they were particular--they wouldn't eat crabgrass!

Anyway, it's more work, but keep the grass very low and that might take care of the problem.

Susan

Liesje 05-09-2014 08:50 AM

It is really short. Our backyard is in terrible shape due to the dogs. The other dogs kind of munch on blades of grass but she is pulling it out. I swear half of the grass she's pooping out is really grass root.

I fear if I don't address the behavioral aspect, this will just transfer to something else like eating dirt, eating gravel, etc (she already has problems eating acorns and eating poop).


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