How to Stop My Golden Retriever From Eating Everything? 7 Effective Solutions


If you ever owned a cat before then you will know how much of picky eaters they are compared to dogs, but this isn’t always praise for dogs.

While being able to share most foods with dogs safely is a good thing, having your dog eat everything is definitely not good, and can be very harmful – and even deadly – for some dogs.

Some dogs will literally eat anything they see or smell as long as they can put their jaws on it, which means you need to do something to stop it.

So, how to stop my golden retriever from eating everything? You can stop your golden retriever from eating everything by teaching them the “leave it” or “drop it” commands, or exchange what they have or already in their mouth for something better such as a treat. You should also treat any underlying medical condition that’s causing them to eat anything.

Needless to say, you should keep on reading to find out what could be causing your golden retriever to eat anything and what are the steps of training your dog to stop eating everything, so let’s get right to it.

Why Does Your Golden Retriever Eat Everything? 

Here are the 8 most common reasons golden retrievers eat everything

  •  They are ill 
  • Their diet isn’t enough 
  • Grass gazing 
  • They are bored 
  • Pica 
  • Stressed 
  • They have separation anxiety 
  • Nature 

Let’s briefly discuss each of these and see how they can cause your dog to eat everything that comes in their path.

They are ill

If they started doing it when other signs started to show such as diarrhea or vomiting then they are probably ill. There are many signs that your dog is sick, and they don’t necessarily have to show as physical symptoms.

For example, if your dog starts to act in ways to avoid you touching them, sleeping a lot, barking a lot, or just behaving strangely, then it could be a physical illness that is causing them pain.

Always remember that your dog can’t just tell you they’re sick, and you should always notice these changes in their behaviors on your own.

If you feel like they are doing it because of an illness then you should take them to see a vet. 

Their diet isn’t enough 

It could be that their diet is not enough and after eating they are still hungry, so they are searching for other things to eat.

Here is how many calories your golden retriever should eat daily to help you understand their diet a little bit more:

Adult Golden RetrieverPuppy Golden Retriever
Based on their average weightBased on their average weight 
If their weight is between 55 and 75 pounds then they need 989-to- 1,272 calories Around six months when they are about 40 to 50 percent of his expected adult weight, they will need about 1,350 calories a day
For active golden retrievers, between 1,353 and 1,740 calories per dayIf they are 75 percent of their adult weight, they will need 1,125 calories per day.

If you don’t know if their food is enough or not, you should consult their vet. You can also check my recommended foods for golden retrievers at every age here.

Grass gazing 

If your golden is eating grass, which happens more than we’d like to admit as many dogs eat grass occasionally because it provides them with vitamins.

If they are still puppies and they like to eat grass then their diet needs more vitamins, or it could be they just like the taste of grass.

You can tell which reason is it by firstly make sure their diet covers their needs of vitamins according to their age, and then see if they still eat grass.

If they are getting their required vitamin from their diet and they still eat grass, it could simply be because they lie the taste. You can train them to stop, but it’s not really dangerous on them unless the grass has chemicals on it (such as pesticides). I prefer to always train my dogs to not eat grass because you just never know what is on it.

They are bored

 Just like us, golden retrievers can eat out of boredom, it’s known that golden retrievers are an energetic breed and they must get daily exercise.

If they are not getting enough exercise they could act abnormally such as eating things they are not supposed to eat. 

They can also get bored if they don’t get enough interactions with you or other dogs. You can learn more about this in my post on whether you can leave golden retrievers alone here.

Pica

This often happens when they are still puppies, it’s when they repeatedly ingest non-edible objects such as dust, sticks, rocks, sand, or pieces of toys.

It means that one of the essential nutrients is missing from their diet, so if you notice this behavior you should rethink their diet, but if you are sure their diet is sufficient for their age and activity level, you might want to talk to your vet about it.  

Stressed 

Golden retrievers can stress eat, too. Chronic stress can easily make them eat more than they should and it can quickly develop into eating non-edible stuff if there isn’t enough food laying around.

If they started doing it suddenly then it’s probably because they are stressed.

Also if they start to do it when a specific person is around, it could mean that this person is stressing them out and you should check on that or just avoid leaving them around that person.

Nature 

It could be just their nature. Dogs aren’t picky when it comes to food so if your golden retriever likes to eat different foods and try out different tastes in general it could be their nature.

So if you can’t find any other symptoms, it’s probably just their nature and it’s something that you can control with some training.

They have separation anxiety 

Dogs with separation anxiety tend to eat or chew on everything when their anxiety kicks in. If they do it when you leave them alone, then your golden retriever is probably suffering from separation anxiety.

7 Solutions To Stop Them from eating everything

Golden retriever holding a stick to illustrate how to stop my golden retriever from eating everything

Here are 7 effective solutions to stop your golden retriever from eating everything:

  1. Pull them away whenever they are eating something they shouldn’t eat
  2. Train them with treats if they are eating things like grass, sticks, and dust 
  3. Puppy-proof your home 
  4. Correct their behavior with a simple no whenever they are eating or trying to eat something they shouldn’t  
  5. Keep an eye on them and use a crate when you can’t pay attention to them
  6. Use chew toys when you are outside or anywhere
  7. Train them when they are puppies the basic commands such as sit, lie down, or drop it.

How to train your golden retriever to “drop it” 

Here is a step-by-step guide to train your golden retriever to “drop it”

  • Hide several treats in your pocket or somewhere you can easily reach (do not let your dog see that)
  • Get them interested in a stick, toy, or ball by playing with them 
  • When they grab the stick in their mouth, place one hand under their chin to catch the stick 
  • Tell them to drop while touching the treat to their nose with your other hand 
  • Keep holding the treat against their nose and your other hand under their chin until they drop the stick into your hand (it will take several minutes and that’s totally normal)
  • Until they drop the stick, stop any playing as well
  • When they drop the stick, praise them, and give them the treat.
  • Repeat the process 
  • When they start to drop the stick as soon as they see the treat, you can start to do it without the treat
  • Place your hand under their chin and tell them to “drop” it
  • Wait for seven seconds before showing them the treat 
  • Repeat till they drop the stick before they see the treat 
  • When they first do that, praise them and offer them more than one treat (five recommended)
  • Repeat the whole process and start to give them less treats slowly

How to stop your golden retriever from eating anything on walks? 

You can stop your golden retriever from eating anything on walks by following these steps 

  • Put your pooch on a leash 
  • Put a piece of food on the ground 
  • Walk around the food freely and do not let your dog get close to the food but other than that let them do anything they want 
  • Every time your dog shows interest in the food, distract them, or just make them look away.
  • Or you can take some treats with you and whenever they show interest in anything, you could eat tell them to drop it, and give them a treat instead. 

How to stop your golden retriever from raiding the trash? 

Here are some things you can do to stop your golden retriever from raiding the trash

  • Keep the trash can inside a cabinet 
  • Remove the trash can from your golden retriever’s reach 
  • Train them to stay away from the trash 
  • Get a trash can with a tight-fitting lid 
  • Get a deterrent device online or from a store 

I really don’t like this last solution and I think it’s kind of cruel, but some dogs are just too stubborn and you may need the deterrent as a last resort for their own good. Eating from the trash can be very harmful to your dog, so getting a deterrent may be the lesser of two evils.

Keep the trash can inside a cabinet 

It’s the most obvious solution if you have a space in your cabinet, or even if you don’t have space you should make one because this way will save you money and time.

Remove the trash can from your golden retriever’s reach

Also, this one is very obvious. You can place the trash can behind a closed door, in the garage, or you can get a baby gate.

Train them to stay away from the trash

Since golden retrievers are easy to train, you can train them to stay away from the trash relatively easily.

Every time your dog goes to the trash, say “leave” and when they do leave, give them a treat.

After a while, they will stop without the treat. The problem is that even trained dogs may not be able to resist when they are alone and that’s why you need to keep it out of their reach. 

Get a trash can with a tight-fitting lid

One of the easy and effective options is to get a sealed or lidded trash can, but some dogs can figure it out and they will raise the lids easily, so if you get one of them and you find your dog trying to figure it out distract them and do not let them spend a lot of time next to it.

I have this 15.2-gallon trash can which I really like and I have found that my dogs were not able to figure it out easily, which is one of the reasons I now have 3 of these in my house.

The main reason I really like it, though, is that it’s, hands-down, the best trash can for odor control. It really traps the odors in there which means the smells of leftover foods don’t drive my pooches crazy.

You can check the iTouch trash can here on Amazon.

Get a deterrent device

There are some devices such as scat mats and other motion-activated devices that can solve this problem and it’s really effective.

They use compressed air or sound to deter your golden retriever (or pets in general) away from the trash can, before you apply that device makes sure that it’s safe for your dog.

I’m not going to add a link here because I think this should be a last resort and I personally have never had to use one.

Related Questions 

Do Golden Retrievers eat everything? 

Yes, golden retrievers could eat anything that looks tasty to them, and it doesn’t need to be food, it could be grass, sticks, or anything that they are craving, but golden retrievers are incredibly smart and you can easily train them not to by telling them to drop it and give them a treat.

Do Dogs grow out of eating everything? 

Yes, puppies outgrow their desire to eat everything such as eating grass, dust, or even sand, but in some dogs, it will not go away entirely, it’s important to show them that it’s not a big deal because they could do it just to get your attention or just as an obsessive behavior.

Why does my golden retriever loves eating sticks so much? 

Your golden retriever could be suffering from a condition called pica. It is caused when the dog has a low red blood cell count, it causes your dog to eat non-food items, but it can be caused by many different reasons such as leukemia or intestinal bleeding.

If you liked this article and if it was useful to you in any way, share it with your family and friends, it may be useful to them as well, and definitely will help me too. You can pin it using the pin button below and share the beautiful pin I made with friends and family ♥️

Helpful Resources

How to Stop Your Puppy From Eating Everything

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