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Thread: How to stop Lab from eating grass (and vomiting)

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    Default How to stop Lab from eating grass (and vomiting)

    It's always something with this doofus dog. So my Yellow Lab likes to eat grass, weeds, wild vegetation of almost any variety. And then pukes it up later that night in the cabin. He only does this when we go to our cabin; he doesn't eat grass when we're in town. I have no idea why he is eating the grass. We feed him more when we're in the woods than we do in town, so I know he's not starving. I need to find a way to prevent him from eating the stuff that goes beyond me yelling at him, because it's not working. This weekend, he threw up two slime green puke monsters, one of which weighed almost a pound.

    Any thoughts?

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    E-collar may be your best bet.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Dogs eat grass when upset, or lacking something in diet.. stress will bring on grass munching to settle the stomach.. they vomit to sooth it more.. maybe the ride out is rough on it?

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    It is normal for dogs to do this from time to time. As Vince said they are lacking something.

    Leave him alone and he will quit eating grass when whatever he is missing in his diet is replenished.
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    He's probably car sick from the ride and eats the grass to make himself vomit. It likely makes his stomach feel better afterwards. My two fools have done the same thing for years and they're no worse for it.

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    I appreciate the replies. The carsickness theory is good, but he continues eating grass for days and days after we arrive. As to what's missing in his diet, what would that be, that grass provides, and why doesn't he do it in town, since his diet is the same in both places?

    I don't think this is detrimental to his health, but cleaning up one-pound piles of puke one and sometimes twice each night is detrimental to my sanity.

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    Ahhh, I missed that this was happening in the cabin at night. Mine only do it outside and it's usually right after they eat the grass. Cleaning that mess up at night would get old in a real hurry. I don't want to venture too far in to canine psychology (if there is such a thing), but it could just be a stress induced activity. If his daily pattern is different at the cabin it could definitely stress him out and cause stomach upset. For the sake of experimenting you could give the dog a big workout right after you get there. Really wear him out proper every day he's there with some activity he enjoys and see if it stops him from eating grass.

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    Don't know why you want to use an e-collar with this...but anyway. You said that you adjust his diet, and feed him more when you are at the cabin, then when at home. Why? I agree with most, that it probably has to do with an upset stomach. Again, I agree with those who said it may be stress or change in schedule related. Even if he loves going to the cabin, that excitement could be causing the problem. Keep his food intake the same, and maybe give him a “cool off” period in the cabin upon your arrival. After he has adjusted to the excitement, then let him out to do his thing.
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    I appreciate the replies. The carsickness theory is good, but he continues eating grass for days and days after we arrive. As to what's missing in his diet, what would that be, that grass provides, and why doesn't he do it in town, since his diet is the same in both places?

    I don't think this is detrimental to his health, but cleaning up one-pound piles of puke one and sometimes twice each night is detrimental to my sanity.
    I didn't see the "days and days" portion of this until I re-read it. Not sure. Dogs are very place oriented. This problem could be behavioral, as it seems place specific.
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    I had labs for years but this is not just a lab thing. Dogs in general will eat grass when something is wrong in them. Vince is correct about there is something that just is not right be it the trip to the cabin, the stress at the cabin, new environment when there. Whatever it is it causes him to have an upset stomach in the process.
    Feeding him more is not the problem and feeding him less is not the answer either. If he does not do it in town but only when at the cabin it has to be something between the city and the cabin. This is a natural thing for dogs to do but I know your grief with the present that is left. Again if he does it for several days then he may be lacking in his diet.

    An electric collar is not the answer either; I am a bit surprised with that one Lujon from you.

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    My dog has eaten small rocks and grass amongst a myriad of other stupid stuff. I have been working with him and the behavior seems to be subsiding. My assumption was that since it is reoccurring in this case that perhaps there is something about the "grass" that the dog likes. My dog loves chocolate, doesn't mean it won't kill him if I allowed him to eat what he wanted. I guess I don't spend to much time head shrinking my pup. If there is behavior that is out of line then I take steps to correct it. For the most part hitting the beeper on the e-collar sends my pup back off playing. I have heard that dogs eat plants based on a need but I have a hard time buying into the idea that my dog , an english springer with bloodlines from across the Atlantic, is that likely to have the instinctive knowledge of what to eat in the Alaskan Wilderness.

    Another thing I would look at is where he is getting water on the trip. Is he drinking out of swamp holes and puddles the whole time or are you bringing him water? Does he drink out of swamps and puddles when at home? Perhaps the others are right and there is something else that is causing the stomach issue.

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    Thanks for all of the feedback. Yeah, my dog has eaten a rock or two in his day as well lol. IN fact, the joke around here is that his motto is "Eat first, ask questions later." I tend to disagree with the dietary theories of why he's eating grass at the cabin, simply because it only happens at the cabin. If it were a dietary issue, it would be continuous. Incidentally, we feed him more at the cabin (about 1 cup per day more) because it makes my gf feel better; she thinks that, because he is running more, faster, and further, and working harder, he needs more nutrition.

    I think the stress induced grazing theory has merit, but, after reading sweetpint's post, and a few others, I think it might actually be the "excitement" of being at the cabin. He goes from a condo with a postage stamp of a back yard to 40 acres of woods, marsh, and two lakes and he just runs for the first day or day and a half. Maybe he is just working himself into a vegetarian frenzy. If so, and it IS place oriented, there might not be much I can do, other than clean up puke every trip.

    BTW, he drinks the same water we do. We haul it up in 5 gallon potable-water containers; it's just Anchorage city water-same stuff he drinks every day. (Although it sometimes is stored a month or so, but that shouldn't matter; CDC says you can store tap water untreated for six months.) We store his food, the same Blue Buffalo he gets at home, in 5 gallon, food grade buckets with snap tight lids (like paint buckets) same buckets we store our emergency food supplies in at our home.

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    Pretty normal for a dog to eat grass from time to time. Regardless of why a dog gets started doing this it's quite futile trying to get that dog to stop. Mine do it now and then even when they are out having fun and don't throw up at all. Somewhat of a learned behavior and I've found no ill side effects to it so I just let them be dogs. Now rocks and such are another matter. YMMV

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    Try a flat of science diet canned food mixed in with his regular food,be sure to mush it up well so he doesn;t just woof down big pieces............ I;d be surprised if you don't see a difference. I have a very active lab who's behaviors and metabolism are affected by his quality of food (or lack thereof) this is an observation I have noticed in my dog.

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    Mine does it all the dang time. In the summer I always say I have a goat-dog, She will go along the fenceline and graze on the long grasses. She rarely pukes it back up though.

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    Get him a job mowing lawns.

    On a more serious note. If you really think its a upset stomach you can try a couple of spoonfuls of pumpkin pie filling in his food. The Vitamin A and fiber settles their stomach. Or at least that's what an old vet told me. Ive usually give my mutts a couple of spoonfuls before airplane flights just as a precaution. But if he keeps eating grass like a horse it may not help anyway.
    I'm going to ctrl-alt-delete you so hard your mama's computer is going to reboot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by byrd_hntr View Post
    Get him a job mowing lawns.

    On a more serious note. If you really think its a upset stomach you can try a couple of spoonfuls of pumpkin pie filling in his food. The Vitamin A and fiber settles their stomach. Or at least that's what an old vet told me. Ive usually give my mutts a couple of spoonfuls before airplane flights just as a precaution. But if he keeps eating grass like a horse it may not help anyway.
    Now that's something I would never have thought of. Our vet suggested to us (last year when we were having weight gain/loss issues) to add 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked brown rice to his food. The rice would help him feel full but not add to his weight. We were thinking of doing that at the cabin just to see if his grass eating really is a hunger issue. (I doubt it, this dog is ALWAYS hungry, no matter how much food you give him.) Pumpkin filling is an easy to introduce item.

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    All the dogs I have ever owned did this to some degree or another and as Jim said above, with no ill effects. Mine start as soon as the first few blades arrive in the spring like it is an addiction and continue at times throughout the summer. The grass will exit either in vomit or their stools. For example, Pie, my Britt who absolutely lives to hunt.... today found some tasty stuff she could not resist and I had to boot her in the butt (figuratively) to get her to make good casts in to the field as we hiked.

    I think some times it is just tasty and other times it is an upset stomach.

    If you are concerned about health issues call your vet and share your concerns. I cant remember what my vet once told me...but it wasn't a concern or I would have remembered.

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    Thanks you guys. I guess I'm concerned because, to me, puking is never a good sign, but on a more selfish note, I don't like dealing with it.

    On a side note, my 10 yr old son arrives from FL on Thursday, and there is a Cub Scout badge for Pet Care; gf says he has to scoop poop as part of his badge, but I say he has to scoop puke. As long as I don't have to do it LOL.

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    Watch them closely when they're around foxtail. That can ball-up in their throat and cause choking.

    Mine did it too....especially when she was excited. She'd do butt-tuckers all over and grab a mouthful at a full run. It may be similar in that your dog is excited at the cabin (behavioral). She pucked it too. Let me know if you come up with a solution!
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