Can Dogs Eat Sticky Weed? [Explained]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

You would think that dogs are not big fans of eating vegetables, let alone something like a sticky weed. But you will be surprised at the number of dogs who do indeed go a little crazy when it comes to this stuff. So, can dogs eat sticky weed?

Dogs can eat sticky weed without any harm. In fact, sticky weed is a herb that potentially has some benefits for dogs that you may not know about, but on the flip side, there are several precautions that you need to be aware of too such as contact with pesticides or other dangerous chemicals.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of sticky weed for dogs and how to give it to them safely.

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Dear Dog Owner

What Is Sticky Weed?

Galium aparine is the proper name for sticky weed, also known as cleavers, clivers, sticky willies, goosegrass, or catchweed bedstraw.

It is a herbaceous annual plant that grows in many parts of the world.

Interestingly, it’s a wild member of the coffee family and has hooked bristly hairs covering its stem and leaves.

This weed typically grows in damp or swampy areas where it can attach itself to animals but will grow anywhere with moist soil.

Despite the name, sticky weed isn’t particularly adhesive – it just has tiny bristles that can get stuck in your pet’s fur if they try to eat it off of another plant.

The bristles are mildly irritating to the skin and can cause a rash, but they aren’t poisonous.

The plant was historically used as a substitute for coffee and as a diuretic.

More recently, research by a group of scientists in Ukraine has focused on its potential anticancer properties.

Is Sticky Weed Poisonous to Dogs?

Is Sticky Weed Poisonous to Dogs

No, sticky weed is not poisonous for dogs.

It is believed to be safe for dogs of any age and size, but if your dog has a known allergy to plants in the coffee family, it may not be suitable for them.

Assuming your dog ate some sticky weed, you need to take note of its behavior.

If they experience any problems, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive licking of the paws after ingesting it, it’s time to consult with your veterinarian.

As a matter of fact, many dogs really like to eat sticky weed and even seem to seek it out.

This is because the plant has some health benefits for dogs that we will discuss below.

Doggy says, read this too: Is lilac poisonous to dogs?

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Are Cleavers Poisonous to Dogs?

No, cleavers (often referred to as sticky weed) are not poisonous to dogs.

In fact, they offer various health benefits, from boosting the immune system to promoting skin health.

However, as with any herb or plant, it’s essential to introduce it to your dog’s diet in moderation and monitor for any adverse reactions.

Why Do Dogs Eat Sticky Weed?

You see, our pet dogs can be outrageously smart. Why do I say that?

The thing is, dogs seem to know exactly when they should dig into a serving of clivers, and that time is when the shoots are just growing out.

This is the period when the fresh clivers are at their most nutritious and tender for easy consumption.

They contain lots of essential nutrients that can help strengthen your dog and boost its immune system.

All in all, a powerful natural supplement for your beloved pet dog.

However, to fully benefit from its goodness, they need to be broken down well by chewing, which we all know Buster will not do well!

You could help it along by mashing them up into pulp before letting them consume it, or there are supplements out there that are made with this ingredient too.

can dogs eat clivers

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Do Huskies get ticks?

Why Do Dogs Chew On Plants?

Before we talk about what you need to know about giving your dog sticky weed, it’s helpful to understand why dogs chew on plants in general and how they can benefit from it.

Dogs chew on plants for various reasons, such as to decrease boredom and anxiety, get relief from teething pain, and supplement their diet with essential nutrients.

Plants also provide various health benefits for dogs, including reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, aiding digestion, and helping with skin conditions.

People used to think that dogs ate grass because it made them vomit, but this is not why your dog chews on plants.

Instead, they are actually looking for nutrients like calcium and iron in the soil or dirt surrounding the plant root, which causes them to start chewing.

What Are the Benefits of Sticky Weed For Dogs?

Sticky weed is more than just an ordinary plant; it’s a powerhouse of nutrients beneficial for your canine companion.

Here’s why:

  • Medicinal Properties: Traditionally used to treat various ailments, from skin conditions to urinary tract infections.
  • Rich in Antioxidants: Helps combat free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
  • Boosts Immune System: The high mineral and antioxidant content strengthens your dog’s natural defenses.
  • Promotes Bone and Dental Health: Abundant in Vitamin C and silica, sticky weed helps fortify bones and teeth.
  • Skin and Hair Benefits: Contains fatty acids, flavonoids, and tannins that nourish the lymphatic system, skin, and hair.
  • Natural Diuretic: Aids in eliminating toxins and increasing urinary output.
  • Optimal Cellular Function: The high mineral content ensures your dog’s cells function at their best.

Doggy says, read this too: How to feed a dog with parvo?

dog eating sticky weed

Precautions When Giving Your Dog Sticky Weed

A lot of dogs enjoy eating sticky weed, and it’s not unusual for them to seek it out themselves, so you may have no choice but to let your dog eat it if they find a way into your yard.

However, there are some precautions you should take when giving this plant to your pet:

  • Make sure the weed is free from pesticides and other toxins.
  • If you live in an area where poison ivy is growing nearby, make sure to keep your dog away from it.
  • Dogs should not eat the entire plant. They should only eat the leaves or flower heads, so they do not consume too many seeds, which are toxic to dogs in large quantities.
  • Be sure only that it is the Galium aparine variety and not another plant species that can cause harm. Also, remember that other plants with similar names, like cleavers (Chenopodium album), have chemicals in their leaves called saponins that can be toxic to dogs.

Doggy says, read this too: Can I use fairy liquid or dawn to wash my dog?

Can I Give My Dog Sticky Weed?

Yes, you have the green light from us!

Sticky weed is a safe and natural way for your dog to get vitamins they may be missing or benefit their immune system in some other way.

So, if your dog enjoys chewing on plants- or even just happens to nibble on some sticky weed every now and then- there is no need to worry.

In fact, you can give them sticky weed as a supplement to their diet in the form of fresh leaves, dried leaves, or an extract.

Now that you know all there is to know about sticky weed, it’s time for you and your furry friend to reap the benefits!

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What Other Supplements Are Good for My Dog?

Not all pet owners want to use sticky weed as a supplement for their dogs, which is why we have put together the following list of the best supplements you can get.

They provide a wide range of benefits to your doggo and are great companions to ensure healthy growth.

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Sticky Weed?

You can safely let your dog consume some sticky weed, but make sure to take some precautions such as checking if there is any risk of pesticide poisoning or if there is poison ivy lurking around.

Also, remember that a dog’s diet needs to be balanced in order to keep it healthy, so anything outside of its normal diet should be kept to a minimum.

Check out other dog care tips here:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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