Why Do Puppies Eat Everything?

Puppies pick up objects and explore the world with their mouths. Chewing, mouthing, and sometimes swallowing stuff is their way of finding out what’s edible and (ideally) what’s not. Although this behavior stems from a natural instinct that puppies often outgrow—especially with the help of training—it can get them into trouble, even leading to blockages or poisoning.

Eating an inappropriate object can become tempting—even irresistible—when it’s flavored or scented. Common problem items include grease-covered utensils from the kitchen, milky baby bottle nipples, and used tampons or soiled diapers.

Other problem items are those that tend to smell like you, such as worn socks or slippers, so it’s important to keep all such items out of your puppy’s reach until it learns that they’re not acceptable chow.

How to Stop Your Puppy From Eating Everything

Part of your pup’s basic training should include teaching it not to eat or chew anything other than its toys, food, or treats. Most puppies outgrow indiscriminate munching, but if your pup continues to vacuum up anything that hits the floor:

  • Puppy-proof your home. It could save you veterinary bills—and your pet’s life.
  • Keep an eye on your pup. Close supervision is critical when you’re training your puppy to not eat things it shouldn’t. Use a crate when you can’t pay attention to your puppy.
  • Correct your pup’s behavior with a simple, firm “no” whenever you notice it mouthing something it shouldn’t. You can also introduce your puppy to a command like “drop it” when it’s chewing an inappropriate object.
  • Follow the correction command with a distraction, such as a chew toy. In some situations, such as when you’re outside, you can take a minute to work on a command you’re currently teaching your puppy, such as sit or lie down. A puppy has a very short attention span and by the time you’re done with the quick lesson (including reward treats), your pup will likely have forgotten all about that irresistible nonfood nibble.

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