Dogs that eat mulch are problematic pets to their owners. Not only are their precious flowerbeds destroyed but they also face the risks of their pets getting sick from eating mulch and dirt found in their front or back yards. Some dogs will eat almost anything, almost as if they are on a path to destroy everything that comes across their way! But don’t let a small flaw stop you from unconditionally loving your fur buddy.
If you have a dog that won’t stop eating mulch no matter how much you try to restrain them, you have come to the right place. We have the solution to your woes! Here are a few incredible ways to know how to stop dog from eating mulch. These will not only save your pet’s life but will also save your precious flowerbeds!
Before we proceed to the solutions, let us first try to identify the causes as to why dogs eat dirt and mulch.
Why Does My Dog Eat Mulch?
Natural Instinct: Some dogs are very much attracted to wood sticks. The potent smell of wood and its shape entices them. Many people throw wooden sticks around and play fetch with their canine friends as an entertainment source. Mulch is made out of small wood chips that come in various sizes.
Chewing on mulch satisfies their sense of smell and at the same time gives a good feeling to their gums! Some dogs are obsessed with chewing and will chew anything they find, starting from your most expensive pair of sneakers to even dirty mulch. For some dogs, mulch is the perfect thing to chew for its small size as they can ingest it as well. You will find these types of dogs spending most of their time outside, grazing over mulch.
Territorial: Another cause could be that when a pile of mulch is newly added into their territory, this interests them and brings out their curiosity. A dog new to the smell and taste of mulch will find more interest in investigating it thoroughly.
Bored: A dog’s fragile mental health could also lead to them feasting on mulch. Perhaps out of boredom, they look for new things to stay occupied with. And chewing seems to keep them distracted from getting bored.
Stress: When dogs are stressed out due to unknown reasons, they find ways to let out their frustrations. During this time, they tend to show destructive behavior. Chewing on personal belongings or mulch is a way for them to exert their tension.
Tooth Pain: This is most common within puppies at their growing stage when their new teeth begin to rise. The growth of new teeth inside their mouths is an uncomfortable process for them and they mostly bite or chew on whatever they find. The pressure from biting helps them to survive through their teeth growing process by controlling the pain up to an extent! For adult dogs, this could be a sign of weak dental care.
Underlying Medical Disorders: If you see a sudden change in your well behaved dog’s behavior, you may consider medical disorders such as Pica, a disease in which dogs lose appetite for food rather they eat non-food items. Other factors may cause unknown medical disorders such as nausea, stress, anxiety or hunger.
Can Eating Mulch Be Harmful For My Dog?
Yes. It can be absolutely harmful and in some cases, severely fatal for your dogs. The first most serious problem that can arise is dental issues. Splinters and micro wood chips from the mulch can pierce and infect your dog’s gums. If serious, it can be a painful process for your dog.
Splinters and wood chips may get stuck in the esophagus. It can also create airway obstruction which may result in choking, tearing of throat muscles, infection and in rare cases, death. When ingested, it can cause severe stomach problems such as GI Obstructions in which pieces that haven’t been digested will have to be surgically removed. Mulch also contains mold for its moist nature along with harmful pesticides. When such things are ingested by your dog, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and seizures as well.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Mulch?
Now that you are aware of how dangerous mulch eating can be for your canine buddy, take these actions at once to prevent them from getting seriously ill!
Chew Toys And Treats: Buy new chew toys for your dog to stay busy with! You can get cute squeaky toys for them to stay entertained with when left alone. This can help them to stay distracted from eating dirt outside the house. Chew treats are also great to keep them busy and the best part is that these treats come in various flavors which will all appeal to your dog! Just make sure to consult with your vet before buying chew treats because continuous chewing of such treats can also be problematic!
Training: Train your dog to stay away from mulch. When you go out for walks and your dog pulls towards mulch and dirt, pull onto their leash tightly and sternly say “No.” Keep doing this every day and offer treats as a reward for listening to you. Eventually, they will lose interest in mulch. Pull onto their leash and force your dog far away from areas that have mulch. Training dogs can be a lengthy process and require a lot of patience and physical energy but once you successfully discipline your dog, the results will be worth it.
New Barriers: You can invest in buying low fencing as boundaries around your flowerbeds to prevent dogs from entering your gardens. You can also install fencing for your dogs’ play area to separate their space from the gardens. Fencing may seem expensive, but it is quite affordable and can easily be found in your local hardware store. You may also try natural options such as growing thorny bushes around the garden that blocks the path for your dogs to enter.
Repellent Sprays: You can find non-toxic repellent sprays which will destroy your dog’s appetite for mulch. This type of spray changes the taste and smell of wood that dogs love so much. Your dog will detest the taste of wood if they try to chew on sprayed mulch. If you aren’t interested in buying, you can always make DIY sprays by using vinegar and water, or citrus sprays. Dogs do not find the smell of tangy and strong smell appealing at all.
Exercise And Activities: Get your dog ready for morning and evening walks every day. Fresh air and exercising will distract your dog from getting bored or lazy. Your pet will enjoy the time spent with you as well as feel physically healthy as exercising will tire him/her out allowing her to get more sleep and increase her appetite for food. If you are busy and cannot manage time for your fur buddy, you can hire a local dog walker or your neighbor’s kid to take your dog out.
Clean That Yard: Make sure to clean sticks and branches from your yard. A dog that is trying to control his/her bad habit of chewing wood will find it difficult to control himself when there is a yard full of his favorite munching item.
Dogs will eat mulch because it is their natural instinct. Try to forgive them for being naughty and ruining your flower beds. Now that you understand the complications and solutions of dogs eating mulch, what are you waiting for? Tackle your problems to prevent your best friend from getting seriously ill or injured! These small steps will not only help to save your dog’s life but can also cut off serious vet bills and medical charges!