Is It Edible? A Common Question Shared By Dogs And Some Men.


June 2, 2017 by The Dog Rules

Image Credit: Faith Durant

Image Credit: Faith Durant

To me this is like the man rummaging through the fridge looking for an easy snack. There’s an open package or Tupperware tub of something that they find and it doesn’t  occur to them to consider how old it might be, perhaps stale dated, or “off“.

Displaying a remarkable lack of caution, and sometimes a downright total disregard for the potential of self-poisoning, they proceed to sample their discovery because “it looks fine.”

The Is It Edible game can have unfortunate consequences. I mean for the canine. The adult male human, in my never to be humble opinion, ought to be more circumspect


One of my Border Collies, George, was what we referred to as a “garbologist”. He would search, find, acquire, decide and ingest (or spit out) before you had even noticed the item. Among the odd things he chose to devour at light speed were some extremely spicy chili and a jalapeño popper (breaded jalapeño pepper filled with cream cheese) that accidentally made their way to the kitchen floor. Fortunately he had a cast iron stomach and was able to handle most of the stuff he discovered and sampled before I could prevent his “experimentation”. (This was my reason to learn to use the Leave It! command effectively.)

I found this dubious talent amazing to watch when applied to his dinner. One food George didn’t fancy was green beans. If I tried to slip a few chopped bits of steamed veg into his dinner he would quickly and expertly flip any green bean bits to the side while devouring the rest of the meal in short order. I could never figure out how the moment they touched his tongue he had the ability to detect and reject.

He did, like most dogs, have a particular passion for cheese. At one of our large parties he discovered that the cheese & cracker plates were on the hexagonal table in the dining room. The table was draped with a lovely lacy tablecloth that hung 2/3 of the way to the floor. Unknown to us, George had stationed himself under the table, hidden by the tablecloth until someone spilled cheese and/or cracker bits on the hardwood floor. When blessings fell from above, George would cautiously poke his nose out just far enough to lick up the Manna from heaven and retreat under the table to wait for more. Following a few clandestine cleanups he was noticed by our guests. Some folks thought George’s behavior was “cute” and deliberately dropped chunks of cheese so he could indulge. I didn’t realize this was happening until later in the evening.

Well after the party ended I was up in the middle of the night with a very, very sorry dog whose tummy wasn’t at all happy with the results of all that cheesy love. And George would have done it all over again the next evening, given the chance.

Now I have young Jack – a garbologist in the making. At just turned 9 months old he is a teenager with all the joys and challenges of one. Part of the transition to teenager has resulted in a bit of a backward change in obedience. He knows “leave it” and “come”. He just chooses to not  listen. (George also went through this phase.)

Jack’s chosen things to sample are mostly sticks (which he crunches up like pretzels), some pebbles, and a twist-tie he found while we were at the Farmers’ Market. Needless to say I now watch him like a hawk. He is well aware of my helicopter parenting and lunges toward the questionable nosh to devour it. “Leave it” has all but vanished from my vocabulary.

Wanting to avoid potentially expensive vet bills because he ate something completely foolish, I now yell SPIT! (short for Spit It Out!) every time he grabs something. Most of the time I get “the look” and he, reluctantly, drops his prize. Sometimes I have to resort to more desperate measures and stick my fingers into his mouth to remove the “snack” before he does the quick swallow.

Most recently his question “Is It Edible?” was directed to a freshly baked Rhubarb Custard Pie that I had just removed from the oven. It was sitting quietly on the rack at the back of the counter minding its own business. I left the kitchen for maybe 10 minutes. When I returned there was the innocent pie with half of the filling slurped out of the center of the crust. I hadn’t heard a sound. Jack was nowhere to be seen. Amazingly, he didn’t burn his mouth. So now I know he likes pie.

Yes, Jack, it is edible. And it wasn’t intended for you. At least you chose something that was real food. Sigh.

What’s the weirdest thing your dog has eaten?


10 thoughts on “Is It Edible? A Common Question Shared By Dogs And Some Men.

  1. tippysmom2 says:

    Oh my! Tippy is really good about not taking things from the kitchen and she knows that she doesn’t get food while I am eating. Sometimes, after I am done, I give her a taste of ham or chicken, but almost always in her bowl. Tippy is allowed to roam outside by herself, so she has ingested the occasional rabbit and mole. I just let her have these, as they are what I consider “normal” foods for a dog. Once, at the tennis courts, she found an old hamburger that someone had thrown into the flower bed. I really didn’t want her to have that, as I was thinking it could have been intentionally left there with poison or something, since it was an entire burger. She managed to grab it and I had to try to swipe it out of her mouth. She would not open up. I got the part that was hanging out. Thankfully, when she opened her mouth to chew, it fell out and I was able to drag her away.


    • I could only hope that part of the item would be hanging out of Jack’s mouth! He has no food “discrimination” at this point and I can only hope and pray that the things he snatches up as “edible” are relatively harmless. Oh the joys of a puppy! I would be SO grateful if Jack’s targets were the occasional rabbit or mole. I’m still trying to understand why sticks are more desirable than puppy food or people food. He will leave his breakfast and ask to go outside; then he eats sticks. WTF? If you have any ideas I’d love to hear them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • tippysmom2 says:

        Tippy ate sticks and small trees when she was younger. She seems to have grown out of that. So, I guess my advice is to just have patience and hope Jack grows out of it too. They didn’t seem to do any harm to Tippy.


  2. Poor Robert says:

    The truth is that our dogs are actually the best judge of the question “is it edible?” I have a 12 year old Cocker Spaniel that probably eats better than I do. My wife literally makes her food out of fresh ingredients on a daily basis. She was a garbage hound but now has very discerning tastes.


    • So how do you get your dog to have a more discerning palate? At this point, Jack will sample just about everything that appears edible to him. He’s such a piglet that he will try to eat almost everything. This is why I’ve become the helicopter parent 😦 I’m open to any and all suggestions. He’s driving me to drink 😉


  3. Leah says:

    Visions of a dog trying to scrape jalapeno popper of it’s tongue!

    You also bring to mind one of our house sitting charges, proudly prancing along with a horse poop in his mouth! Answered the question of why he had such bad breath!


    • Horse poop hahahahaha! I remember city people bringing their dogs to the farm and discovering that most dogs think horse poop is just the best thing to taste test.

      Have you noticed that when they’ve just eaten the most disgusting thing, they immediately want to share the love by licking you?


  4. Sadly, we can’t have animal companions any more due to a family member’s severe allergies, but decades ago, my then husband brought a sweet but high-strung rescue dog to our marriage. For reasons we never understood, that dog liked to eat dog poop. Oh, the messes, and the baths.


    • So sorry to hear that allergies prevent animal companions. They can bring such joy to life and I do appreciate the discomfort of allergies. I have a friend who is SO allergic that his face turns bright red and he is sniffling within minutes of meeting us when we are out for a walk.

      Poop eaters are a difficult problem. There are so many reasons why they might do it. I’m very grateful that I have never had a dog with this habit. Jack, like most dogs, will check out a kitty litter box for “cat snacks” if the opportunity presents itself. Fortunately the “leave it” still works in that situation. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Dog Rules

The Dog Rules

Once the proud guardian of a rather cheeky Border Collie/Aussie Cattle Dog mix, may she forever rest in peace, my favourite activities were those things that included my canine friend. Now I have a new canine buddy in my life. He's also a Border Collie and sassy like my girl was. We're in the middle of an adventure; teaching him how to be a good canine citizen I spend my spare time volunteering at the local animal shelter as a dog walker/trainer. You can read all about it @

View Full Profile →


Blog Stats

  • 2,895 hits
Blogging U.
The Science Dog

By Linda P. Case

Work less, Live More

Technology Solutions to Do More, Faster, and Better

Weeds an All

Slugs and Snails, Successes and Fails. That's what my garden is made of.

Travel Taste Create

Join me as I explore, sample new food & drink, and celebrate creativity.

Poor Robert's (Wine) Almanac

Fun Stuff and Facts about Wine

Tippy Tales

Adventures of a rescue dog

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

98 Acres in Albany

40 Blocks, Thousands of Stories

YayYay's Kitchen

Feed the body well, nourish the soul, heal the Earth, build community, make peace, wreak joy

Ramblings of a Writer

Living the Path of Life


Enjoy The Journey

So Far From

Where I Began

Olive These Words

"One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others." - Lewis Carroll

Mind and Life Matters

Your Life, Your Mind - It Matters!

the biology of belief

THINK beyond your genes...

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: