Since we have moved into our current home, our dogs have nibbled off the leaves of some of the saplings on our fencelines. After quite a bit of observation, we have decided that they are only eating the mulberry leaves. (My wife jokingly calls them "Dogwood" trees.)
It’s kinda funny... they very gently bite the leaf with their front teeth (pulling their lips back to bear their teeth) and gingerly pluck the leaf off the limb. They then lay down and meticulously chew the leaf eventually swallowing it. This process typically takes 5+ minutes per leaf, the whole time with the air of an aristocrat with her pinky sticking up while drinking tea. They do this for 3 or 4 leaves in a row sometimes. It does not induce vomiting like grass typically would.
I’ve read that dogs will sometimes eat the berries (we do not have nearly as many berry producers as we have young plants), but has anyone else noticed a dog having an appetite for mulberry leaves? Any idea why they might be doing this?
Tom Harner wrote:...has anyone else noticed a dog having an appetite for mulberry leaves? Any idea why they might be doing this?
If you had livestock, I'd say they were just copying them, my dogs have done that. Mulberry leaves make good fodder - 15-35% protein, but I'd guess that the dogs are self-medicating because it's potent medicinal. Or, since both dogs are doing it, maybe their diet is lacking some micro-nutrient.
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posted 5 years ago
My parents had a short mulberry bush. Their fox terrier got every berry within about 3-4 feet of the ground. I never noticed her eating leaves though. She ate the berries exactly how you describe yours eating the leaves. Very delicate.
I just did a bunch of research on chlorophyll for dogs because my dog's vet prescribed a homemade herbal mixture containing chlorophyll drops for my dog. Apparently mulberry leaves are a rich in chlorophyll (along with alfalfa-which is somewhat controversial concerning safety for dogs), and one of the main reasons dogs love grazing in the grass is because grass is rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has numerous health benefits for dogs and is actually considered somewhat vital for their health as it helps prevent cancer, aids in digestion, cleanses blood, detoxes all organs, etc. Unfortunately they can't sufficiently digest grass well enough to absorb a beneficial amount of chlorophyll from it-observe stools for evidence So perhaps this is a big reason they are drawn to mulberry leaves too, and why your dogs nibble at them for 5+ minutes (to make it more absorbable for their bodies). Go figure
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