When Dogs Eat Grass
Even the most experienced pet owners find their dog’s grass eating behavior worrisome. They are not sure if it is good or is it bad for dogs to eat grass? And what does it mean when a dog eats grass? Does it mean he is unwell or simply bored?
Read on to find the answers to this common query of almost all dog owners – why does my dog eat grass?
Dog’s Eating Grass and Weeds
Why do dogs eat grass and weeds? Well, you might have observed many dogs eat peculiar things like grass, weeds, flowers, wood, garbage items and so on. This habit of eating things that are generally not considered a part of regular diet is called pica.
Though the non-food source might not give the dog any nutritional value, he still eats it out of curiosity, boredom, to seek his owner’s attention or simply out of hunger.
One of the most common non-food item that dog’s eat is grass. In fact, a study done to research the reasons of grass eating found out that three in every four dogs eat grass at some time or the other!
Hence, if you are worrying is it normal for dogs to eat grass then be assured that it is one of the most normal and common behavior in dogs.
But, it still remains to be seen why do dogs eat grass sometimes?
Dog eating grass is as common as other doggy behaviors like barking, panting or digging. You need not worry about it as long as your dog is overall healthy and active.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
So, when dogs eat grass? Dogs can eat grass in the following circumstances:
Dog Eating Grass and Vomiting is Trying to Cure an Upset Stomach
Many times, owners have observed that their dog is desperate to eat grass. Soon after eating grass the dog vomits. This is true when the dog eats the grass in a hurry and in a large quantity. Too much grass at a time induces vomiting and makes the dog throw up.
This behavior has led researchers to believe that the dog is trying to self-medicate his stomach problem.
It has also been found out that the grass at times attaches to the parasites/worms inside the stomach of the dog that get passed away in stools. This way the dog gets relief from irritating worms present in his digestive tract.
This behavior is also commonly observed in chimpanzees.
Dogs Eat Grass to Quench Their Thirst
Grass can provide a cool and juicy relief to your four-legged friend on a hot summer day.
Many owners do not give water to their adult pets during the night. When they release their pet in the garden the first thing in morning, they find that their pets selectively seek grass and eat it.
You never know, but by eating grass your pet is simply trying to quench his thirst.
Dogs Eat Grass as a Time Pass
Sometimes pets get bored and can eat grass to just pass their time or seek the attention of their owner.
Dogs Eat Grass to Satisfy Their Hunger
A study was conducted to link grass eating behavior with hunger. Researchers found out that dogs in the study group ate more grass before their meal times. This led them to conclude that a dog might eat grass to satiate his hunger pangs.
Dogs Eat Grass to Gain Extra Nutrition
Is grass good for dogs? Does it have any nutritive value? Yes, certainly. Grass provides fiber, potassium, phytonutrients, enzymes and chlorophyll that can help to increase a dog’s immunity. The fiber content in the grass can also help ease digestive problems.
If you want to try and stop your dog from eating grass then you can try a few simple things; give water to your dog before you let him out, provide enough play time and exercise so that he does not get bored, make sure he is properly fed and gets all the nutrition from his regular food.
Now, you must be wondering if there can be so many reasons behind grass eating then should I let my dog eat grass? Well, it depends.
Also See: Ways to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs
Can Dogs Eat Grass?
Yes, dogs can eat grass if the grass is non-toxic and has not been treated with any chemical fertilizers. The grass should also not be dirty as it can contain harmful bacteria.
Dogs can eat fresh, clean and untreated grass if the dogs seem healthy and do not show any signs of discomfort after eating. Eating grass and vomiting is common but it should not be happening continuously.
If your pet likes to eat grass anywhere and you want to dissuade him then you can try growing grass in your garden and letting him munch on that. This will satisfy him and he might not want to eat outside grass.
Eating homegrown grass will also keep your pet safe from unknown toxic or treated plants found in public parks.
Signs of discomfort from eating grass will include coughing, problems in breathing, continuous vomiting and frequent loose stools. If your dog shows any of these signs then consult your vet immediately.
Bottom Line – Why Dogs Eat Grass?
Some scientists suggest that grass eating in dogs can be an evolved behavior passed on to them by wolves. Since, wolves were carnivores and ate grass eating animals like deer or rabbits, dogs have evolved to like the taste of grass.
Whatever might be the reason, it is quite common for dogs to eat grass.
If your dog is a persistent grass eater and you want to break this habit then you can either train your dog so that he does not eat grass when you command him or you can keep treats or toys along with you to distract him. If nothing else works then you can put a muzzle on him.
Safety and health of your pet is a priority. Take advise from your dog’s vet if you find grass eating becoming a safety and health concern for your beloved pet.