Dachshunds with their adorable little faces are so playful and clever, but if they are so clever then you may be wondering why it is that you keep catching your Dachshund eating everything that he shouldn’t? Socks, grass, sticks, dirt… what is going on!? A clever Dachshund should know that cat poop is not for eating, especially if he plans on giving any cuddles or kisses later!
I did a lot of research as well as talking to owners and vets and I’ve learned a lot that might explain this weird phenomenon.
Your Dachshund is eating dirt, grass, poop, or other inedible things because of a condition called pica. Dogs in general have a natural tendency to do this. This condition is generally caused by behavioral issues like stress and anxiety, nutritional deficiencies, boredom, or medical issues.
In this article we’ll explore some of the most popular non-edible things that your Dachshund might want to feast on, we will discuss if they are dangerous to your dog, and what to do to encourage them to stop.
Why does my Dachshund eat grass?
If your Dachshund goes crazy for eating grass you might be wondering if you are raising a sheep or a dog? Here are several reasons to consider why your Dachshund might be drawn to the green stuff.
Dachshunds are usually very content to sit in our laps and follow us around all day, but that doesn’t mean that they still might get bored from time to time. Most dogs depending on their personality enjoy fun enrichment activities that will keep their mind occupied and engaged.
If you have a Dachshund that has a little bit more energy than most then you might need to find some things to keep their minds busy so they don’t decide to sit and graze on your lawn because they are bored.
Trying out a fun training program together like this widely popular program Brain Training for Dogs can help unlock your dog’s hidden potential and help them learn how to avoid problem behaviors.
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Looking for more Fiber
Dogs are Omnivorous meaning they eat meat and veggies. If your dog’s food is high in protein then eating grass might actually be instinct. Dogs’ digestive systems and food requirements have changed over time to fit the lifestyle of our modern-day domesticated dogs.
Dogs in the wild would eat an entire animal which means that they would also be ingesting the plants that the animal had for dinner the previous day. This could explain why your Dachshund is searching out some plant life to eat, and grass is very available!
While grass has no nutritional value for them and can’t be digested they might be trying to forage for the fiber they’re missing. You can try giving your dog some pumpkin, apples, or spinach instead.
They Like the Way it Feels
The texture and taste of it could be enticing to some pooches and what’s more, there was a study done by the University of California that says your dog could actually enjoy eating grass and get an uptick of Dopamine for it. In their survey, they found the 68% of dogs ate grass on a regular basis.
They are Feeling Sick
This is probably the explanation for grass-eating most people think of first, but it is rarely the real reason. It has long been thought that dogs eat grass when they have an upset stomach to make themselves throw up. There has been newer research showing that if your dog is eating grass it most likely does not indicate they are sick. In fact, less than 10% of dogs are munching on the grass to ease an upset tummy.
However, there is still a small percentage that this could apply to. If your Dachshund is showing any other symptoms like lack of appetite for things they normally eat, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, or other signs that they are not themselves they could be eating grass because they are sick. Take them to your vet.
Should you be worried if your Dachshund eats grass?
Of the list of non-food items your dog is munching on grass is probably the least concerning. It’s a very common behavior for dogs and vets generally agree it’s also pretty harmless. If there are concerns it would be to make sure that your Dachshund isn’t munching on grass that has been treated with chemical fertilizer or weed spray that could potentially make your dog sick. If you think your dog has been eating treated grass it’s best to contact your vet.
Why Does My Dachshund Eat Dirt, Rocks, and sticks?
Going for a walk with your dog can be pretty stressful if you are constantly pulling your dog away from nature’s tempting chew toys. Teaching them the command for leave it and drop it can help, but why do they want to chew and eat these things in the first place?
If your Dachshund is a heavy chewer he may have developed a habit of chewing and eating on things he shouldn’t. It’s best to try and curb this as young as you can teaching your dog what is and isn’t ok to put in their mouth.
They Like the texture
Sticks, in particular, provide Dachshunds with a great texture as they rip it into pieces and chew. If your dog likes chewing on sticks try giving them something like these bully sticks from Amazon (affiliate link)! My dog loves them and it helps him not to chew on other things he shouldn’t.
Dental or oral problems
Check your dog’s teeth and gums for redness and swelling. Chewing might be making his mouth feel better temporarily but long-term it is probably making the problem worse. 80% of dogs have some form of dental disease by the time they are 2 years old, so it’s really important that we do our best to keep their teeth clean. My Dog gets his teeth brushed every day!
Dogs (especially Puppies) use their mouth to explore and figure out the world around them. It could cause them to pick something up in their mouth and accidentally swallow it. There may also be something that was dropped in the dirt or gravel that they find to be rather tasty.
Some dogs who suffer from a condition called Anemia (low blood count) will try to look for minerals in the dirt that may help them with their condition. An anemic dog may instinctively turn to eat dirt in an attempt to restore any deficiencies causing this condition. The only way to reliably diagnose anemia is through blood work tests.
How long do Dachshunds typically live? Read this article to find out! Dachshund and Dachshund Mix Lifespan (How Long do They Live?)
Should you be worried if your Dachshund eats dirt, sticks, or rocks?
Yes, Sticks and Rocks are very much a problem and can become very dangerous if your Dachshund gets one stuck in its intestines causing a blockage. They could also cause your Dachshund to chip or lose its teeth. Some sticks or wood pieces can also be poisonous to dogs such as Buckeye, Chestnut, and Oak. Acorns as well contain chemicals that can be very dangerous to your dog and cause poisoning or be a choking hazard if swallowed or eaten.
If your dog has eaten any of these things you should consult your vet immediately. They will most likely need to do tests and run diagnostic images to see how bad the problem is.
Why Does My Dachshund Eat Poop? (Is Cat Poop a Problem?)
Ok, so this one is definitely the one that causes the biggest gag reflex! Especially when you unknowingly let your pup give you a big fat kiss then get a whiff of that awful nasty poop breath (yes this has actually happened to me)! It’s enough to make you never want puppy kisses again!
The scientific term for the habit of poop-eating is Coprophagia.
Well for dogs it’s really not that repulsive, in fact it’s a fairly ordinary instinctive thing for them to do.
They’ve always done it
Even though we find it disturbing this behavior has long been a part of a dog’s pattern of living. A study of canine behavior has shown that dogs are scavengers, and that includes scavenging for poop. Dogs learned how to survive in the harshest of conditions when there wasn’t a lot to choose from as far as meals go they learned that poop will do in a pinch.
They eat it to keep their den clean
Mothers of puppies nurture and care for their young by eating their puppies poop. This is a natural instinct for dogs. Seeing their mother do this teaches them to eat their poop to keep their sleeping areas clean and free from parasites.
If your Dachshund is not getting enough attention or is experiencing a lot of anxiety you may notice the poop eating getting worse. Being left alone for a long time can make your Dachshund more likely to eat their poop. Also, harsh punishments for potty training mistakes may encourage your dog to eat its poop in order to hide the evidence.
To get a reaction from you
Dachshund are very smart! If you think your dog is eating their poop just to get a reaction from you then you are probably right. If this is the case try to stay calm and ignore the behavior rather than give in to the tirade that they are trying to illicit.
Lack of right nutrients in their diets
Dachshunds should have around 50% protein and carbs. Having the right balance of nutrients and vitamins in their diet with help your dog to be healthy and not overweight. If their diet is not quite balanced they will go looking for those nutrients in unsavory places.
The Draw of Cat Poop
Dachshunds are drawn to cat poop because it’s something delicious smelling (to them at least) that they can scavenge for. The poop probably smells like your cat’s food and has a higher protein content than other kinds of poop.
Should you be worried if your Dachshund eats poop?
Eating poop is usually not too concerning if it’s their own that they are treating themselves to. It becomes problematic for your pup when your Dachshund eats poop from another animal, like your cat!
Any other animal poop always has the potential to carry intestinal parasites or other illnesses. If your dog eats the poop he also eats the parasites and this makes it almost certain that your dog will get them as well.
If you notice that your dog has a habit of poop eating then you should be sure to have them on some good worming preventative as well as talk to your vet about any other problems this may have caused.
If your dog is eating his own poop it doesn’t mean he’s safe for intestinal parasites. It’s less likely that he will get them if he’s a healthy dog otherwise. The poop that came out of your pup isn’t going to change much in your pup if it goes in again except for the gross factor.
Eating Poop could be an indication that your Dachshund is not able to absorb the nutrients he needs from his food the first time he eats it and he’s eating it again to try and get the vitamins and nutrients that he missed out on. This may mean that your dog needs a higher quality food or needs a good probiotic to help him better absorb the nutrients.
If you suspect your pups poop eating is a habit however, it’s always advisable to seek help from a vet and a trained behaviorist.
How Can I Stop My Dachshund From Eating Everything they Shouldn’t?
Keep their area clean
Controlling their environment and keeping it free of the items that you don’t want them eating is the first proactive step that you can take. This can often be a lot of work and hard to keep up with so is more often than not a temporary solution. But starting with this while you work towards more long-term solutions such as training is key.
In order to teach your Dachshund what is and isn’t ok to eat you need to watch them closely to figure when, why, and how they are getting into the forbidden items. This will give you clues on how to attack the problem from multiple angles.
Set up a barrier to the cat litter
It’s a great thing that cats can jump higher than your short-legged Dachshund. This makes it a bit easier to either put a baby gate between your dog and the cat litter (like we did for our dog Bear) or find a place on a higher shelf, bench, or table to put the cat litter in order to keep your dog out of it.
Train them the leave it command
This is an important command for any dog to learn. Dogs from a young age are very curious and want to chew on or pick up anything they can in their mouth. Teaching your Dachshund this command will help them know what is and isn’t appropriate to put in their mouth.
Provide them with other options
Giving your Dachshund something else to chew or snack on that is more enticing than the naughty things can help reinforce the patterns of behavior that you would like to see. Many Dachshund owners report that they have good luck getting these toys from Amazon and rotating through so that their dog doesn’t get bored. You can even try raw carrots make for a good chew toy.
Provide them with high-quality food – If they are looking to eat strange things because they are lacking specific nutrients of minerals getting high-quality food like this one from Ollie pets can really help. Not only is it super convenient and fresh, but you can feel confident that your dog will be getting the proper nutrients and none of the unhealthy fillers. This could really help and possibly end the behavior of eating things it shouldn’t.
Give them plenty of exercises and mental stimulation
If you think your Dachshund is bored then increasing their activity levels with more interesting things to do can help. A bored Dachshund is a recipe for disaster especially if you have a puppy! Keeping your Dachshund busy with training activities will help them focus on more efficient and productive ways to spend their time, and they will be less likely to eat things they shouldn’t out of boredom.
Another sign of boredom or a desire for more attention may be that your Dachshund is always starting at you. Click here to read my article about Dachshund staring and find out if that’s the case for your Dachshund.
Increase their intake of vitamins and minerals
If you’ve tried everything else it may be that your Dachshund lacking the vitamins and minerals that they need to have a well-balanced diet. Canines historically would forage for their food and in doing so create a pretty well-balanced diet. It’s in your dog’s nature to do this. Some Dachshund owners have reported success using this supplement.
Take them to your Vet
This is important if you believe that your Dachshund has eaten anything that may be causing problems or symptoms in your dog. It’s also important if your dog seems obsessed with its behavior. This could be a sign of a more serious issue medically known as Pica. Your vet can give you additional resources and help to keep your dog healthy and their diet well balanced.
How Can I Stop My Dachshund From Eating Too Fast?
One problem you may have if your Dachshund loves his grub is eating too quickly. If your Dachshund is taking less than 2 minutes to finish off his meals then it will be beneficial for you to help him slow down. Eating too quickly can cause their stomachs to bloat and make it difficult for them to digest and absorb the nutrients in their food.
Some ways to help them slow down include:
- Put a tennis ball in their dish – They have to eat around and under it and it will slow down their intake.
- Get rid of the bowel – Because dogs like to forage getting rid of your dog’s dish and spreading their food out on the floor will not only slow down his eating but help him satisfy his desire to forage.
- Feed them smaller meals through the day – Talk to your vet to make sure you aren’t overfeeding them, but spreading it out more could help them not be as starving when it comes time to dish them their dinner.
- Avoid vigorous exercise right before or after meals – This will help their digestion slow down a little and make it so they aren’t trying to quickly feed their bodies for all the calories they just burned.
- Put their kibble in a puzzle toy – This Snuffle Mat is a good choice. This food puzzle is also a fun idea. (Affiliate Links).
It can take a lot of time and money to figure out why and how to get your Dachshund to stop eating everything in sight, but if you ignore it and it gets worse you may end up spending a lot more time and money in vet bills or in surgery and recovery to fix a problem that could have been dealt with early on.