Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Most dog owners have probably seen their canine companions grazing on grass at one point or another. A few theories exist to explain this seemingly odd behavior, though no answer is definitive. It’s important to note that it is perfectly normal for your dog to eat grass; most experts believe that this isn’t something dog owners need to worry about. Some breeds even include it as part of their daily routine. And others tend to eat the green stuff when they aren’t feeling well. The trick is identifying the reasoning behind your dog’s sudden affinity for grass.

Dog Eating Grass - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal

Getting to the Root of the Problem

Gastrointestinal Issues

Any dog will seek out some natural relief for a gassy or upset stomach, and grass, it just so happens, does the trick. When ingested, the blades of grass tickle your dog’s throat and stomach lining, thereby causing Fido to throw up, especially when the grass has been gulped down instead of merely chewed on. A sick pooch will usually eat grass in much larger bites before vomiting. Although not a dietary staple or necessity, dogs may nibble on grass or chew on it for a while, and not vomit. While some dogs simply enjoy the taste of grass, others eat it as a means of adding a little roughage to their usual diet. It’s impossible to definitively know a dog’s intentions, however.

Nutritional Issues

Whatever your dog’s reason for eating grass, most experts see no harm in letting them munch away. As a matter of fact, the grass contains some essential elements that your four-legged friend may actually crave, especially if your pet has been on a strictly commercial diet. If dogs eat grass on a regular basis, this can indicate some type of dietary imbalance, though this may be difficult to determine. Once you see them eating grass (or any of your houseplants for that matter), it may be time to try introducing natural herbs or dog-safe vegetables into their diet. Some dog owners put their pet on a high-fiber diet or include cooked green vegetables with meals. In certain instances, this seems to diminish their affinity for grass.

Possible Concerns

For the most part, eating grass is not an unusual or alarming behavior and most pet owners shouldn’t be concerned by it. Grass from well-manicured lawns can contain fertilizers and pesticides, however, which can be toxic to your dog. People who have pets that like to eat grass should avoid chemicals on their lawns that can be harmful to them, or keep them inside until such chemicals naturally wear off. Anyone with a grass-hungry pooch should be careful when walking your pet near well-manicured lawns and prevent the dog from eating grass from them.

If you see your dog’s eating grass as a new behavior, especially if it’s accompanied by frequent vomiting, you may want to bring your four-legged friend in to see our friendly faces at 5 Points Animal Hospital for a checkup, as any type of sudden or dramatic change in behavior, including grass-eating, can be a sign of a health issue that might require veterinary treatment.

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

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