Your dog is probably curious when outside.
Sniffing, eating, and exploring the outdoors is a natural behavior for all dogs.
Moss is a fascinating natural object that your dogs may adore.
If this is the case, you may wonder if moss is bad for your dog.
We will share some helpful information and tips to answer your question.
Know that allergies or reactions to moss are not common, but if there is a reaction, it is primarily due to direct contact.
Is Moss Toxic?
Luckily, most moss is non-toxic and should not be harmful to your dog.
Certain types of moss may cause a diverse reaction, affect a dog’s digestion, irritate their skin and eyes, and cause breathing issues, but most moss is harmless.
The only time you may need to worry is if a pesticide or another chemical has treated the moss.
Can Pesticides Harm Your Dog?
If a dog ingests or inhales moss with pesticides, it can harm them.
Pesticides can harm your dog’s nervous system if ingested or inhaled—symptoms to look for include excessive drooling, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Moss killers are available on the market, so this may be something you should be cautious of.
Luckily most natural moss does not have pesticides or herbicides unless they are on private property.
Different Types of Moss
A variety of types of moss may draw your dog.
Mosses are small, non-vascular flowerless plants.
Moss typically grows in dense green clumps and is prone to develop in shady and damp locations.
Moss is low maintenance for those who choose to put it in their gardens and can grow on rocks.
Green moss is bright green. It almost looks like a sea of evergreens.
It is a living plant that absorbs moisture, carbon dioxide, and sunlight.
This type of moss requires minimal maintenance and can grow in a variety of environments.
Peat is a byproduct of the process when moss decomposes in peat bogs.
Peat moss is known to retain moisture and soil and is an excellent addition to many gardens.
Peat moss is a dead pant.
Peat moss is sterile and will not contain diseases.
You do not have to worry if your dog ingests peat moss.
Sphagnum moss is a living plant and a descendant from peat moss.
This type of moss contains a neutral pH and is fibrous.
Diseases can live on Sphagnum moss.
This may be harmful to your dog.
Oak trees can contain a fungus, which is referred to as oakmoss.
In warmer climates, oak trees have a mossy fungus along the trunk.
Lichens enjoy living in oakmoss.
Oakmoss is known to cause symptoms such as nausea or breathing issues if ingested by your dog.
Consult your veterinarian if you think your dog has eaten oakmoss.
Why Do Dogs Eat Moss?
As dogs have descended from wolves and coyotes, it is their instinct to explore their environment while hunting for prey.
Typical diets of wild canines include grass, leaves, moss, berries, and plants in their outdoor environment.
Even though your dog may be domesticated, it could still have instinctual behaviors.
Eating grass and moss is included in these instinctual behaviors.
Why Is Moss Appealing to Dogs?
When dogs are bored, they look for something to eat to entertain them.
Moss is soft and has an appealing texture that dogs are drawn to.
There are even vitamins and minerals found in some moss and grass that may tempt dogs.
Just as a dog loves to run through long grass or fresh snow, moss has a desirable texture that dogs can’t deny.
A Dog’s Sense of Smell
Dogs have a more sensitive sense of smell than humans.
They have millions of scent receptors that assist in detecting new scents, predators, or companions.
Different types of smells draw different kinds of dogs.
Dogs are known to prefer fragrances that humans do not.
Dogs appreciate new scents, and they often roll in them, so the odor will last for hours.
Covering their bodies in strong odors is rooted in their wild nature of disguising their scent.
Medical Issues Stemming From Moss Consumption
Pica is a condition in dogs when they crave non-food items.
These items draw dogs because of their taste, smell, or texture, but some items may be toxic or even poisonous.
While Pica is not necessarily indicative of underlying medical conditions, it can indicate starvation or hormonal imbalance.
Some dogs are more prone to Pica.
Emotional issues such as separation anxiety or stress can also trigger Pica.
Moss may not be toxic to dogs, but if they ingest it, there is a chance it can upset their digestion.
If your dog has eaten moss and you think they may have digestion issues look for symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
With over 100 trillion microbial cells in their digestive system, most dogs will be able to fight off anything that may upset their system.
Still, in some cases, you should consult with your veterinarian if these symptoms persist.
If you notice bumps or rashes on your dog’s body after rolling in moss or walking through moss, you can visit your veterinarian and ask for treatment options.
Vets can prescribe topical creams to alleviate itchiness and sensitivity.
If your dog has come in direct contact with moss, you may notice red, watery eyes.
Your dog may rub their face up against a surface to alleviate pressure or itchiness.
Consult your veterinarian if these behaviors persist.
This type of reaction is not common and should not be long-lasting.
The typical behavior of dogs who play in moss is to roll in it.
This creates a cloud of dust or airborne particles that your dog can ingest.
Sneezing is a common behavior if they have inhaled foreign particles.
Sneezing allows the dog to repel the airborne particles and is a safe and healthy reaction.
If you notice your dog wheezing or has labored breathing for long periods, consult your veterinarian to discuss treatment options.
If you are concerned about keeping your dog away from moss, be sure to avoid damp areas.
Since moss tends to grow in shady, dense green areas, avoid these with your dog.
Oak trees tend to have a specific type of moss that grows on the trunk so try to avoid oak trees.
Show your dog other ways to entertain themselves, such as with dog toys and new dry environments that don’t have moss.
Redirect Their Attention
You can offer your dog his favorite treat to redirect their attention away from the moss.
You can call out their name, clap your hands or drag your foot through long grass to show them a new texture to explore.
Train Them to Avoid Moss
If your dog constantly sniffs around or rolls in moss, clap your hands loudly and say, “no!”
This sudden reaction and sound will alert their attention and inform them that you do not like this behavior.
Continue to train them this way and be consistent.
The more your dog gets used to hearing you react this way, the less they will entertain the idea of rolling in or sniffing around the moss.
Use Positive Reinforcement
When your dog behaves and follows your instruction, let them know that they have made you proud.
Rub their belly, scratch their back, pat their head, and tell them you are pleased they listened.
If you know that moss is in your yard and your dog is reacting to it, get rid of it. If you are visiting a new environment full of moss, find a new spot to take your dog.
Look on the ground where you are walking and be aware of the environment your dog is in.
Scope it out before letting them run off-leash.
Moss is not a common harmful or toxic substance for dogs.
Some dogs may have a slight symptom if they rolled in, breathed in, or ingested moss.
These symptoms can include skin irritation, eye irritation, labored breathing, or digestion issues.
Train your dog to listen to your commands or avoid areas full of moss.
Your dog is your best friend, and you want to make sure they are safe and comfortable.
They depend on you to guide them and to give them the best experiences that are safe.