Many dogs love to spend some time face-first in a patch of grass, chomping away. But should you be concerned with this behavior? Our New Ulm vets discuss grass-eating habits in dogs, why they choose to eat grass and whether it is safe to do.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
It may happen once in a while or every time you leave the house, a grass-eating habit is something that many dog owners know very well. But why do they do it? In fact, there are some dogs who will eat the grass, vomit it up then get right back to eating grass.
Should you be worried that your dog is experiencing gastrointestinal issues? Have they gotten into something poisonous? Is this a sign that they have an illness or condition that needs to be diagnosed?
While there are times when a dog may vomit after they eat grass, it is quite uncommon. The majority of dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. So it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Then why do they do it?
Physical Reasons Why My Dog Eats Grass
A nutritional deficiency may be one of the simplest explanations for why a dog eats grass. Usually, a dog that eats grass is only looking to add more fiber to their diet in order to help them digest their food. After all, dogs are omnivores, so their good health depends on plants as well as high-quality meat. Eating grass may be an easy way for your dog to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things moving through their digestive tract.
There is also a chance that your dog has a gastrointestinal concern leading them to eat grass. Dogs can suffer from a number of stomach and gastrointestinal issues including conditions such as pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and has other symptoms such as lack of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, it's a good idea to take your pup to the vet for an examination.
Psychological Reasons Why My Dog Eats Grass
Just as you or I can become bored or anxious, your dog can too. If your dog doesn't show any signs of digestive issues but eats grass like there's no tomorrow, psychological reasons should be considered for the behavior.
If your dog could simply be suffering from boredom, increasing the length, distance or intensity of walks could help to reduce grass eating.
Separation anxiety could also be the reason that your dog is eating grass. Try leaving an old blanket or t-shirt with your scent on it with your dog when you leave the house. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring and help to curb their grass-eating habit.
Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet will be able to advise you on how to help your pooch reduce obsessive behaviors.
Pros and Cons of Dogs Eating Grass
- Grass Eating May Be Enjoyable
- Adds Fiber to Your Dog's Diet
- Aids in Digestion
- May Lead to Vomiting / Diarrhea
- Grass May be Covered in Pesticides
- Parasites Live in Grass
Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?
If your dog has no health concerns and is up to date on preventive care then feel free to let them gnaw away on clean patches of grass.
To help keep your grass-nibbling pooch healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys.
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.