Getting your dog to stop eating plants can be tricky. On the one hand, you need to deter them effectively so they don’t eat or ruin the plants.
But on the other hand, you don’t want a dog repellent of dog deterrent that is toxic or may harm the dog in any way.
On that note, we wanted to explore exactly how to stop dogs from eating plants and the different options available.
Why does my dog keep eating my plants?
If you think your dog is trying to eat plants, there are a few reasons for this. It could be a nutrient deficiency, sickness, boredom or they may simply like the taste.
The likelihood of a nutrient deficiency is low given that most commercial dog foods are created to provide a balanced and whole diet for your dog. One theory presented by Purdue University College of Medicine is that dogs that aren’t domesticated are naturally omnivores, so it’s the natural instinct for domesticated dogs to include some plants in their diet.
It’s best to discuss with your vet if you think your dog is consuming plants to be sure there are no underlying medical causes at play.
How to Stop Dogs Eating Plants
Below are 5 easy ways you can stop your dog from eating your plants. We’ve provided a variety of options to suit varying budgets, living arrangements and options available.
1. Invest in an Electric Dog Fence
An Electric Dog Fence or e-fence is a great option if your dog is eating plants from a large area. It will train your dog overtime to stop going to that particular garden bed altogether.
An e-fence is a system whereby a wire is placed around the area of your garden you wish your dog to stay in or stay out of. You can place it around a garden bed, or if your dog is an escape artist, you can place the wire around your entire property.
The wire forms a loop, with a transmitter placed through this loop. The transmitter connects to a collar your dog wears, if the dog comes too close, they get a correction.
Over time they will associate going to that specific garden bed, gate, or trying to escape, with a negative consequence. And to avoid that negative consequence, they will stop going near the wired space. It’s a great long term solution to really teach your dog that these garden beds are off-limits.
If you have a stubborn dog or some prize-winning roses, or some plants you know aren’t safe for your dog to consume - this is a quick and effective solution.
2. Use a Dog Enclosure
Dog enclosures are an awesome tool with so many uses. You can place the enclosure over your garden bed to keep out your dog (and other pests) or you can place your dog in the enclosure so they can’t reach your garden bed.
Long-term, investing in a dog enclosure is a smart choice for dog owners. If your dog is unwell or has had an operation, putting them in an enclosure where they can’t move much will help them heal faster.
It can be customised to suit your future needs, whether that be protecting a new garden bed, broken gate, or as housing for some new chickens. We’ve even had customers use our dog enclosures as temporary fencing when their fences have been torn apart from a storm.
A dog enclosure is a handy piece of kit and is a particularly easy way to block off an area of your garden quickly.
3. Exert Some of That Excess Energy
If you think boredom is a factor, you’ll need to be consistent in tiring your dog out to use up some of that pent up energy.
We recommend going for a walk before you lock them outside near any plants. If you can, let them socialise with other dogs or take them to the beach. These activities are exhausting and mean your dog will be snoozing to recover for the rest of the day.
4. Stock-Up on Dog Puzzles
You can also invest in some enrichment toys and puzzles that challenge your dog mentally. Puzzle toys are a great way for your dog to use its brain and work for a little treat.
Plus, they’ll be happy to have some snacks during the day, the key is to lessen their meals to compensate for all the treats they get.
It’s all about timing to ensure they have something to play with all day.
A great idea is setting up a few puzzle toys for your dog, and whilst they’re occupied, a frozen KONG is slowly defrosting and ready for their afternoon!
You can also create a treasure hunt of treats in the area, or give them a highly rewarding, long-lasting chew treat in the morning.
5. Move the Plants
This isn’t an option for everyone, but moving the plants to be in an inaccessible spot will quickly stop plants from being eaten. You can do this with plant stands, tables, or other tall pieces of furniture.
Be careful, if you know your dog is a climber, make sure there is no way they can climb to be near the plant. You don’t want your dog climbing up and not having a way to climb back down.
The best long term solution is something that will teach your dog this behaviour isn’t okay. An e-fence is a great way to do this, otherwise, a remote training collar will also suffice for smaller areas if you’re home to witness the behaviour.
If your dog is ingesting plants, please talk to your vet. Ensure they aren’t harming themselves in any way, and that there are no underlying medical issues causing this behaviour.
More Tips to Stop Dogs Eating Plants
There are a couple of key points we want to highlight about dogs eating plants.
Tip 1: Is it Your Dog Eating the Plants?
Firstly, make sure it's your dog who is eating the plants. It’s not uncommon for cats or other native animals to pop into a garden and eat something that looks tasty.
Before you go to all this effort, make sure you’re protecting your plants from the right animal.
Tip 2: Are Your Plants Pet Safe?
Are you sure that all of your plants are pet-safe? If you find out a plant is toxic for dogs, you need to act fast to ensure your dog won’t accidentally consume any toxic plants.
Use the ideas above to separate the plant from your dog, or if possible, remove the plant altogether and replace it with something pet-friendly like a Parlor Palm or a Calathea.
Tip 3: Avoid Chemical Dog Deterrents
If you can avoid using a spray dog deterrent or dog repeller, your plants and dog will thank you.
Protect your plants from having a random substance on their leaves, and in case your dog does try to eat the plant, you’re preventing them from consuming unnecessary chemicals.
Ideas for this include diluted lemon juice or diluted apple cider vinegar. Talk to your vet about other natural deterrent options that are plant and pet friendly.
Stopping a dog from eating plants will not be easy with just a spray deterrent alone, training the dog to not go near the plant or physically blocking them from the area will be key.
Wanting to stop your dog from eating plants today? Browse our range of electric dog fences and dog enclosures for a quick and easy solution to stop your dog from eating plants. If you aren’t sure which option suits you best, contact our customer support team! We love to help and will work to find you the best solution.