Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
You might feel baffled if your dog seems to love eating grass. In fact, some dogs eat grass, vomit, then return to eating grass soon after.
Does this behavior mean that your dog feels there is something in their stomach that needs to be expelled? You may wonder if your dog has eaten something poisonous, or is attempting to self-treat an undiagnosed medical problem.
While some dogs vomit after eating grass, not all dogs will. In fact, most dogs eat grass without showing signs of stomach upset either before or after doing so. This seems to indicate that it's unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. So why do they do it?
Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Similar to people, dogs need fiber in their diets for their digestive system to work efficiently. After all, dogs are omnivores, which means that to be healthy they need both high-quality meat and plant foods. Eating grass can be an easy, and seemingly tasty but harmless way for dogs to add roughage to their diet. This may help to keep this flowing through their gastrointestinal tract (GI or digestive tract) as they should.
However, if your dog is eating grass but you also notice symptoms of stomach discomfort, there may be a medical issue. Dogs can experience numerous GI issues, including pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastric reflux. If your dog is eating grass, and showing other symptoms such as decreased energy, constipation, diarrhea, or lack of appetite, it's time to come to our clinic as soon as possible, as this is a veterinary emergency.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Similar to people who bite their nails mindlessly, dogs may eat grass due to anxiety or boredom. There may be psychological reasons for your dog's behavior if you've noticed he or she relentlessly chewing grass and they are not showing symptoms of any digestive issues.
If your dog seems bored, increasing the intensity, distance or length of walks may help to reduce grass eating.
On the other hand, if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you might try leaving an old t-shirt or blanket with your scent on it with your dog when you leave the house. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring, which may help to curb grass eating.
Sometimes, obsessive behaviors can become an issue for dogs. Book an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog is showing obsessive behaviors such as eating grass. Your vet will be able to give advice on how to help your dog reduce this and other obsessive behaviors.
Is it safe for my dog to eat grass?
For dogs that are otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be safe.
To keep your grass-grazing dog healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers on the grass your dog nibbles.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
Is your dog showing signs of digestive upset? Contact our Turlock vets right away.