Does your puppy double as a hoover? Is your puppy eating everything and anything that comes their way? As young pups trying to explore the world, your puppy eating everything is normal. But there is a line you should keep your eye on them not crossing. Usually, it won’t cause any harm, but being vigilant about exactly what your puppy is eating is important to avoid any trouble.
In this article, we’ll run you through the phase of your puppy eating everything, an idea of when they’ll stop having such an appetite, and how to stop your puppy eating everything. Of course, everything will be done in the best way possible: through positive reinforcement training.
In the Zigzag app we have detailed lessons and instructions on how and what to teach your puppy week by week, including lessons on toilet training, socialisation and habituation. We also have a team of expert puppy coaches to help you out when you’re, so you never have to feel like you’re alone.
Why is my puppy eating everything?
First off, let’s stay calm. A puppy eating everything is pretty common. There are a number of reasons why they do it:
Puppies are curious: In the absence of hands to explore, everything goes in their mouths. Simple as that.
Puppies are scavengers: By nature, dogs eat everything, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that they’re literally hungry for life. It’s a case of eat first to find out what it is later sometimes isn’t it? Fun fact, dogs were probably domesticated because the best at scavenging were the greatest at adapting and surviving longer.
Puppies need a lot of food: A simple explanation is that your puppy might be eating everything because they’re hungry. Puppies need a huge amount of calories because they’re growing so quickly, so you’ll want to make sure you’re increasing the amount of food each week to meet all their nutritional needs.
We have a guide on how much, and what you should be feeding your puppy for clearer guidance, check it out here.
Puppies are teething: And yes, it’s a crazy phase. To relieve their sore gums, it’s often the case that they want to put things in their mouth for a nice massage. Explains why your wooden chairs do the trick.
Puppies often eat poo! It’s just the truth. Puppies eat their own poo. They eat other dogs’ poo. In fact, they’ll eat any poo going. I know, it’s disgusting but don’t be surprised if they do it – apparently, it doesn’t taste shitty to them.
What age will my puppy stop eating everything?
Puppies usually stop eating everything once they have been through their teething stage
At about 6 months old, your puppy will have gotten their adult teeth, and will feel less of a need to chew on everything. At this age, you should start to see your puppy less interested in attacking everything with their mouths, and your state of mind coming back to a more peaceful place.
Puppies will chew for a while longer
Oh, but chewing isn’t totally over yet. Sorry to disappoint. The next teething stage will be about your puppy strengthening their jaw, so puppies who don’t have lots of chews will pick up other things to chew on like sticks, stones and even house bricks! Your puppy might also decide that your favourite pair of shoes is also something that tastes great. Therefore, you’ll want to have some good chew toys for them to get on instead of everything else they could dig their teeth in, but you’d rather they didn’t.
Some breeds are more likely to want to eat everything
Spaniels, and Retriever types typically find having things in their mouth hugely rewarding as they’ve been bred over centuries to do it. For these breeds, it can take a while to not want to eat everything, so give them lots of toys to hold and chews they can put in their mouths instead.
How do I stop my puppy eating everything?
To stop your puppy from eating everything, we suggest you do a few things to help:
Puppy proof your house
Your puppy will likely want to put lots of different things in their mouth, so you’ll want to make sure it’s a safe environment for them to do that by puppy proofing it. Our article here will tell you everything you need to know about puppy proofing.
Puppy proofing. What a tongue twister. Say it five times in a row.
Don’t make a big deal out of your puppy eating everything
Many things will just get swilled around in your puppy’s mouth and spat out. Even though it can be yucky, if you make a big screaming deal out of your puppy eating things, they can either start to do it more to get your attention or start to perceive these items as valuable, which can potentially lead to them resource guarding. Better treat it as a no big deal situation – drool is an everyday thing to you now.
Teach your puppy what is ok to eat
Giving your puppy appropriate chews will stop them from eating everything that’s lying around, as they’ll have something readily available to teeth that’s also safe. If they go to chew on something you don’t want them to, redirect them by offering them a toy or chew stick instead.
We’ve got several articles on this that could be useful to you, especially about puppy toys and puppy chewing.
Practice positive reinforcement
Teaching your puppy to leave items alone is a great way of stopping a puppy eating everything.
As always, treat your puppy with positive reinforcement so that they learn that leaving what they have in their mouths brings them treats and happy times.
The ‘leave it’ cue is brilliant for this. You’ll find out how amazing it is when your puppy is finally walking down the street and just ignoring things that previously they might have wanted to pick up and eat.
If you reward your puppy for walking past distractions and not eating them, it will make your walks much more like walks in the park (literally). No one wants to be hyper-vigilant on walks, right? We want to be able to relax, as well as your puppy. All of this falls into the Life Skills type of positive reinforcement training, where your puppy learns to make the right choices for themselves and be rewarded for it. It’s much less of an obedience skill, where they have to be commanded or cued not to do something.
Walking past a takeaway fried chicken box and not going in for a sniff, or trying to snaffle it, is the ultimate challenge for them. Use plenty of rewards and treats to help them through the temptation!
Another thing to teach a puppy eating everything, is a reliable drop cue. This is different to ‘leave it’ because it’s when your puppy has got the thing in their mouth, and you’d like to take it off of them. This is useful when you’re teaching them how to play fetch or another similar game.
Train your pup to swap lots and lots when training the drop with toys, so that your puppy anticipates a hand coming towards their mouth as something nice, not just something to snatch out of their jaws.
Remember that training a puppy not to eat everything will rely on practice and a tonne of patience. Consistency is key for this as well. You’ll break the habit if you stick to management to prevent them from eating everything, redirect them onto something else and then teach them what you want them to do instead. Treats will do the trick too!
If you’re not sure when you should be training your puppy, then check out our week by week puppy training schedule. We also have a full, personalised programme to train your puppy in the Zigzag puppy training app.
Take the first step on your puppy’s training journey today and you’ll be amazed at the difference you’ll see in even a short amount of time. Seriously, you’ll be surprised.
Download a trial and talk to our team of expert puppy coaches to answer any of your questions. From ‘Why does my puppy eat poo’ to ‘how do I stop my puppy from crying at night’, they’ve got more tricks up their sleeves than you can imagine.