Can labradors eat plants and grass? Is your garden safe for labradors? Are there any plants that could harm your labrador?
These are good questions but the answers aren’t commonly known. Labrador’s are well known for their voracious appetite.
This need to eat is even higher when they are young, a time when they will happily eat everything and anything they see, including shoes, table legs and yes, your favorite garden plants.
Labrador’s aren’t always the best animals at knowing what they shouldn’t eat, many take a eat first worry later approach.
But there are certain plants that can be harmful to our labradors, so as a labrador owner, it’s better for you to know about them.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list featuring many commonly asked about plants, looking into whether they are safe for labradors to eat.
There are, of course, hundreds of plants you could mention that are not on this list, but I’ve tried my best to cover most of the frequently asked about varieties.
First, let’s quickly answer whether it’s normal for labradors to eat plants and grass.
It is common for labradors to eat plants and grass. Grass, in particular, is often eaten by labradors and shouldn’t cause much harm in small quantities. Plant eating is less common and riskier as there are many plants that can be toxic to labradors.
Can my labrador eat grass
Labradors can eat grass and it’s actually a very common habit for labradors.
It isn’t just unique to dogs either; many other carnivorous species are known to eat grass, including lions!
Your labrador shouldn’t usually experience any side effects from eating grass and it isn’t something you generally have to worry about, it’s a perfectly natural behavior.
The more important thing to watch for is whether what could be on the grass. If you use a chemical treatment for your lawn or a weed killer then this might inadvertently harm your labrador and you will have to stop them from eating the grass.
If it’s perfectly natural grass then you can let them munch away, usually, they will know when they should stop.
The benefits of your labrador eating grass
It’s generally accepted that eating grass is fine for labradors and that it is somehow a beneficial and evolved behavior.
What’s more disputed is the exact reason. The one that I don’t really agree with is that it induces vomiting or regurgitation.
Imagine a labrador has eaten something they shouldn’t have, some believe that eating grass is a way to force the body to eject the stomach contents and thus remove the problem item.
This isn’t my belief, I’ve seen a lot of instances of dogs eating grass and only very few have ever vomited as a result. Dehydration is also a huge risk for any dog, so the idea that they would happily eat grass to such an extent (some labradors eat grass on nearly every walk) in order to induce vomiting just doesn’t make much evolutionary sense to me.
The second theory, which is the one I believe, is that eating grass is just a natural reaction to trying to establish a balanced diet. Grass is rich in many nutrients but most important of all is fiber.
When labradors eat grass, they are most likely trying to get more fiber in their diet. A side effect of fiber is that too much can cause digestive issues, including vomiting. I think the occasional instances of vomiting are just a case of over-indulgence rather than an intent.
Why has my labrador started eating grass all of a sudden?
Has their diet changed recently? I think the most likely reason your labrador might be eating grass now when they didn’t use to is that they aren’t getting enough of a certain nutrient, most likely fiber.
Try feeding them something high in fiber for a few days. Bread is a good option or banana, but make sure the quantities are low as excess fiber will upset their stomach.
After a few days see if their grass-eating habit has reduced if it has you might want to consider changing their daily dog food to a more high fiber one.
Eating a little grass isn’t a problem if they’re on a high fiber diet. But if the grass consumption seems extreme you may want to consult with your vet.
My labrador ate grass and is now sick
Labradors can be sick after they have eaten grass.
It’s usually nothing much to worry about and is probably because of consuming too much fiber.
This will be more common in younger labradors who aren’t too good at limiting their consumption.
If your labrador is being sick after eating grass on a frequent basis you should try to stop them from eating it.
I would recommend feeding them some high fiber treats for a few days, such as bread or bananas, you will only need to feed them small quantities but it should increase their fiber intake significantly.
In turn, this might reduce their natural desire to eat grass, which is rich in fiber. If it does then consider switching their daily food to a high fiber one.
If the habit still continues and they are still vomiting then you should try to stop them eating grass altogether, if you have any concerns about their health you should contact your vet.
Can labradors eat Bluebells
Bluebells are toxic to labradors so you should not allow your dog to eat bluebells.
They aren’t a huge danger, your labrador would have to eat a huge quantity of bluebells to have adverse effects so if they have just chowed down on one they are probably just being inquisitive and it shouldn’t cause them a problem.
A labrador would be unlikely to consume a large number of bluebells so it’s safe to go walking in bluebell filled areas, but if you do notice your lab eating bluebells you should stop them.
Can labradors eat Dandelions
Labradors can eat dandelions and they can actually be beneficial to a labrador’s health.
They contain vitamins A, C, B, K and D as well as phosphorus, iron and manganese.
Labradors will often be naturally attracted to dandelions and it can be a little alarming when they first go from sniffing it to chomping on one, but you shouldn’t have anything to worry about unless they’re eating every dandelion in sight.
Dandelions are thought to help promote good liver and kidney function and are an antioxidant.
Can labradors eat Daffodils
Labradors can not eat daffodils as they are very toxic to a labrador.
It’s the bulbs and flowers that are poisonous. If you have daffodils in your house you should also be aware that the water they sit in may be slightly toxic too, so don’t put the vase within drinking distance of your labrador.
Daffodils can quickly lead to an upset stomach, possibly causing vomiting or diarrhea.
They may also become weak and in the worst-case scenarios could have spasms and cardiac issues.
The flowers are far less toxic than the bulbs, so your labrador will generally be safe going on walks where there are daffodils as they will only be able to eat the flowers.
If you do see them eat a daffodil flower, try to remove it from their mouth, but if they do manage to swallow one or two then they should be fine.
If you’re a gardener, just make sure not to leave any daffodil bulbs within reach of your labrador as they are much more toxic and can cause some serious issues such as irregularities in their heartbeat.
Can labradors eat Herbs
Labradors can eat herbs. If you have wild herbs growing in your garden then these are safe for your labrador.
Labradors won’t tend to eat wild herbs, they will be a bit too dry and tough for them to show much interest.
But we all know that you should never second guess what a labrador will and will not eat, so if your labrador has just chomped down a whole bunch of your prised oregano then you don’t need to worry, it’s not toxic.
It’s not ideal for your next Italian themed dinner party though…
Can labradors eat Ivy
Labradors can not eat ivy. Ivy is usually toxic to labradors.
The toxicity levels in common types of ivy are not too high, so your labrador is very unlikely to eat enough to do serious harm as they are not often drawn to eating ivy.
If you notice they are you should stop them from eating the ivy immediately and try to remove any remains from their mouth.
If you suspect they have eaten lots of ivy, or they have only eaten a little but begin to develop the symptoms below then you may want to consult with your vet.
Ivy poisoning can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Can labradors eat Lilies
Labradors can not eat lilies. Lilies are poisonous to labradors so you need to avoid them.
The toxicity can be quite strong so you should avoid having lilies in your garden or house unless you are certain they are out of reach of your labrador.
Effects of lily poisoning can be vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and irregular heartbeats.
Those are general symptoms, but some lilies are far more potent than others and have been known to cause liver and kidney failure and have even been fatal for some dogs. So you really should make sure your labrador stays away from them.
If you know they have eaten a lily you should consult with your vet immediately, just to be safe.
Can labradors eat Rhubarb
Rhubarb stems are safe for labradors to eat, but the rhubarb leaves are toxic.
Your labrador would need to eat lots of rhubarb leaves to experience any poisonous effect, but it is somewhat more likely than other toxic plants on this list as they may eat the leaves at the same time as eating the stem.
If your labrador does consume lots of rhubarb leaves they may begin to experience issues due to a sudden drop in calcium, these could include weakness, thirst and tremors.
This is only likely to be a risk to your labrador if you grow rhubarb at home, so always make sure it is in a labrador-proof zone.
Can labradors eat Roses
Roses are thought to have a very mild level of toxicity, to the point where they are considered to be safe to pets.
Eating rose blossoms or leaves can cause digestive issues if eaten in enough quantity.
Whilst you don’t need to be too wary about your labrador getting poisoned from roses, you should know there are risks if they all of a sudden decide to make a meal out for your garden rose bush.
Although if your labrador did eat all the roses in your garden, the slightly upset stomach they’ll get might be the least of their worries!
Can labradors eat Sunflowers
Sunflowers are perfectly safe for your labrador to eat.
Your labrador can actually get some health benefits from eating sunflower, especially from the sunflower seeds. The seeds contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids that help to support healthy skin and hair, giving them that lovely thick and shiny coat that we all love to see.
So there’s no need to worry if you see your labrador eat the occasional sunflower unless of course, it was your champion sunflower you were planning to take to the next country fair.
A final note – All labradors are individual
I’ll finish off by saying that I’ve made this list to apply to the majority of labradors, but all labradors have their own allergies and tolerances and may have a more severe reaction to certain plants than others would.
My own labrador (George) was highly allergic to loads of foods that are perfectly safe for most labs to eat, so I know well the importance of treating each labrador like an individual.
If you notice your labrador eating anything new, you should still monitor them, even if it’s a non-toxic plant. Check them over the next day or so for signs of digestive issues like vomiting, diarrhea, constipation or discomfort.
If you have any concerns then make sure they have plenty of water and consult with your vet.