Why Is My Dog Eating Leaves? Harmful Effects 2023

Medically Reviewed By Pet Expert

Dogs eat all sorts of things, both natural and unnatural. Some dogs love to eat grass, while others are obsessed with eating leaves.

This behavior can be confusing for dog owners, as it’s not something that dogs often do in the wild. Most experts don’t recommend that you encourage your dog to eat leaves or grass.

However, some benefits of this behavior are unique to dogs as a domesticated species with relatively little exposure to the wild world around them.

When your dog eats leaves and grass, they are getting additional vitamins and minerals that their diet may be lacking due to their restricted food intake.

While it’s unusual for dogs to hunt for these natural foods (outside of trees), it’s beneficial for them from a nutrition standpoint.

There is also some evidence that eating specific types of plants aids in the digestion process by adding prebiotics and other nutrients to the digestive system.

What types of leaves does your dog eat?

Dogs have different preferences regarding the types of leaves they like to eat. Some dogs prefer to eat grass, while others will munch on various kinds of leaves found in the garden.

What types of leaves does your dog eat?

Many dogs even go so far as to eat potted plants. While there are differences in the nutritional value of these different types of plants, your dog’s preference for one over another may be due to a few factors.

Your dog may prefer to eat grass because it is easier to access than other leaves.

This can be particularly true if your dog is eating indoor plants.

The nutritional value of indoor plants may be limited, so it may not be worth the effort for your dog to eat them. You can try to deter your dog from eating indoor plants by placing them out of reach.

Significant Reasons Why Your Dog Eats Leaves
Nutritional Value – Many dogs will eat grass or leaves because they lack certain nutrients in their diet. This is particularly common in dogs on a low-calorie diet, as they may not get the same amount of nutrients that would usually be available in their food.
Cleansing Digestive System – Eating certain plants can help to cleanse your dog’s digestive system and promote healthy bowel movements.
Environmental Benefits – Another reason that dogs might eat leaves and grass is to help the environment. This can be particularly common in cities, where dogs may eat plants to help maintain the environmental balance.
Social Behaviour – Some dogs may start eating grass or leaves because of a social behavior known as “coprophagia.” This is linked to social hierarchies and is seen in young puppies, dogs, and adult cats.

Benefits of dogs eating grass and leaves

Helps with Digestion and Regular Bowel Movements – This is one of the most common reasons dogs eat grass and leaves. If your dog eats these items, it’s important to note that they should eat the top portion of the grass (above the roots).
Boosts Nutrition – Some dogs eat grass or leaves to boost their nutrition. This is especially common in dogs that are on a low-calorie diet.
Helps to Clean the Teeth – Many dogs may eat grass to clean their teeth. This can help prevent dental issues in the long term.

Harmful effects of dogs eating grass and leaves

May Cause Diarrhoea or Other Digestive Issues – While dogs are not uncommonly to eat grass or leaves, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. If your dog is eating grass or leaves regularly, it could cause digestive issues. This could be due to the nutritional value of the grass or leaves not being adequate for your dog.
May Contain Toxins – Some grasses and plants contain toxins that can harm your dog. If your dog eats a plant that contains these toxins, it could cause health issues.

How to deter your dog from eating grass and leaves?

Try an Anti-Coprophagia Spray – If your dog is eating grass or leaves ↗ because of social behavior, an anti-coprophagia spray can be helpful. This spray is designed to make the grass less appealing to your dog.

How to deter your dog from eating grass and leaves?

Remove Access to Plants – If your dog is eating potted plants or grass from your outdoor garden, you can try to remove their access to these things.

Is it wrong for dogs to eat grass and leaves?

There are no significant downsides to your dog eating grass or leaves if they eat a healthy diet.

Is it wrong for dogs to eat grass and leaves?

If your dog is eating these plants regularly, it could indicate a nutritional deficiency in its diet.

You’ll need to speak with your veterinarian about correcting the issue if this is the case. If your dog is eating grass or leaves occasionally, it does not cause concern.

Prevention of Eating Leaves

Ensure Your Dog is Getting Adequate Nutrition – If your dog eats grass or leaves, you’ll want to ensure adequate nutrition. Eating grass as a food source could indicate that they aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals in their diet.
Supplement With a Vitamin and Mineral Supplement – You can also choose a supplement designed to add vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet. This can help ensure they get everything they need in their daily diet.

Cost of Eating Leaves

Although eating leaves and grass is harmless for your dog, it can be a bit of a nuisance for you if you don’t want them to be eating these items.

The easiest solution is to find something else for your dog to chew on. Of course, this won’t address the underlying desire to eat leaves and grass.

Cost of Eating Leaves

The next most straightforward solution is to use an anti-chewing spray on the plants you don’t want your dog to eat. Finally, you can erect a barrier and protect the plants you don’t want to be eaten.


Ensure they are eating the correct grass parts – If your dog is eating grass, the top portion of the plant is the part they should be eating. If they are eating the roots or the lower part of the plant, they may be at risk of intestinal parasites.
Watch for Medical Conditions that Cause Your Dog to Eat Dirt – Some dogs will eat dirt due to a medical condition known as pica. If your dog is eating dirt, it’s essential to see a veterinarian for treatment.


As long as your dog isn’t eating grass or leaves regularly, there is no harm in them eating these items.

They are getting additional nutrition from these plants that they usually wouldn’t be able to get from their daily diet.

There may be times when eating grass or leaves is beneficial for your dog.

Dogs eat leaves for several reasons. Some dogs eat leaves out of boredom, while others may consume them to treat a stomachache or upset stomach.

Additionally, some dogs may eat leaves to cure other health issues they may be experiencing.

If your dog is consuming leaves, it is essential to be aware of the potential dangers. You can take the appropriate action to keep your dog safe and healthy if they are poisonous.

You can do things to prevent your dog from eating poisonous leaves and plants. First, always keep fresh greens and plants out of your dog’s reach.

You can also install a doggy door or cage, preventing your dog from accessing areas where the plants are.

You can also place the bitter apple on the leaves or plants so your dog will not consume them. Lastly, you can trim back trees or bushes so that they are no longer within reach by your dog if possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dog eat plants outside?

Your dog may be eating edible plants and grasses because they are highly palatable to dogs, they may contain nutrients your dog’s diet may be lacking, or they may be an instinctive behavior to eat roughage and greens.
Ingestion of plants or grasses by dogs is not necessarily dangerous. However, it could poison your dog if the plant contains alkaloids or is ingested in large quantities over a long period.
Your dog may have learned to eat plants outside because there is not enough food or water in the house. Your dog might feel a need to fend for itself at mealtime.

Why is my dog eating leaves and weeds?

A dog eating grass is not a sign of illness. It’s the equivalent of us chewing the ends of our hair when stressed — it’s normal behavior for dogs.
The reason why dogs chew grass is due to the biological makeup of their stomachs. They are equipped with a muscle that grinds food into smaller pieces and helps with digestion. Dogs also produce gastric juices that break down protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Though dogs do not need to munch on grass, they often do so to soothe their nerves when feeling anxious or stressed out. This is because eating grass can help regulate their blood sugar levels, relieve gastritis symptoms, and help them pass diarrhea in some instances.
Dogs may also chew on grass if they have an iron deficiency or need to increase their overall iron intake. In addition, they may chomp on such plants when they need magnesium, calcium, or sodium. So while you may view your four-legged friend’s chewing on some lawn greens as something they shouldn’t be doing, it’s beneficial for them to ingest this plant matter as it can assist with overall health.

How do I stop my dog from eating leaves?

The only way to stop a dog from eating leaves is to remove the access to the leaves. You can do this by either removing the leaves from the tree or by putting up some barrier that keeps the dog away from the leaves.
If you have a large tree, you may be unable to get all the leaves off it. In this case, you may need to limit the area the dog has access to while they are still on the tree.
Another thing you can try is putting some bitter substance on or around the leaves. This will make them less appealing to your dog and may help them lose interest in them. Be careful not to use anything toxic, as this could be dangerous for your dog.

Amy Brown
Amy E. Brown is a licensed psychotherapist (serving and author of three self-help books. She’s also a dog rescuer in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Her life-long love of literature and writing developed from her passion for author Jackie Collins novels. She discovered at the age of 12 that she wanted to become a published author. She is a Quora contributor who writes about mental health and addiction issues in both the United States and throughout the world. She is the owner and founder of Blamberg & Associates LLC, which is a private practice specializing in psychological and addiction issues. She has been working with physically and emotionally scarred people for over 30 years.