Have you ever seen your dog munching on grass? Well, you are not alone. May other dog owners have witnessed dogs eating grass. However, have you ever questioned why dogs eat grass? Do they consume the grass to induce vomiting, or do they do it due to some other reasons? Concerned dog owners are often left scratching their heads to answer this simple question.
Wild and Domesticated Dogs
Dog’s eating grass is quite a normal phenomenon. This behaviour is observed in both domesticated dogs as well as wild ones. As grass is not poisonous to your dog, you should not worry too much about it.
Still, to clear all the confusion about the grass eating habit of your pet, we will try to elaborate on various reasons for their behaviour in the following section of this article.
Is eating grass normal for dogs?
Yes, it’s normal for dogs to eat grass, even though your dog is not a cow or other types of cattle. You should not worry if you find them eating grass now and then.
The Technical Term
The technical term for eating things that are not natural food is called Pica. Sometimes it indicates that your dog is suffering from some nutritional deficiency. Other times, it can simply be a sign of boredom. Most of the time, it’s the younger dogs and puppies who often munch on grass mainly to keep their minds occupied.
While some dogs vomit after munching on grass, others do not. The majority of dogs dont show any physical symptoms after consuming grass. They do not even show any signs of stomach upset even before eating the grass. That indicates the fact that the grass eating habits of the dogs are not directly related to inducing vomiting. So, the question is, why do they do it?
5 Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
#1 They love the Taste
While it may sound a bit unbelievable to human ears, dogs may find grass to be tasty. Especially when it comes to green, young and tender grass, your dog may also love grass texture, which is pleasurably different from canned food or dry kibble that they usually have in their food bowls. Even though your dog gets the recommended portion of food every day along with the treats, they still have that biological instinct to scavenge for food. So when you let them run around the garden or the neighbourhood Park the fragrant and flavourful blades of grass temp them.
#2 They Are Bored
In some cases, while playing in the garden, your dog will munch on the grass to pass the time. This incident occurs if there are no squirrels, birds or other dogs to taunt them and their human companions are busy working inside the house. Your pet dog may also consume grass if they think that it will seek your attention. In other cases, the dog needs something to keep its mind busy, and munching on grass seems to be a good solution.
#3 Nutritional needs
As we have already discussed, scientists, veterinarians, and researchers will explain that eating odd and unnatural food items is a disorder called Pica. However, this behaviour may also indicate that your dog is suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Some experts also explain that as the grass is an excellent source of fibre, the dogs consume it to make sure that its bodily function runs without any problems. However, there is no correct answer to this question. If you are worried about the grass-eating behaviour of your dog, talk to your veterinary professional about the diet.
#4 Resolving upset stomach issues
Many canine experts believe that dogs sometimes munch on the grass to induce vomiting. By inducing vomiting, they relieve the problems of an upset stomach. The scientists explain that it is an evolutionary behaviour that the dogs of today still manifest.
Ancient Wild Dogs
The ancient wild dogs used to eat grass when they experience stomach troubles. The blades of grass irritated their stomach lining, which made them heave up both the grass and the offending dietary element. The modern dog still carries on this instinctual behaviour and uses grass to self-medicate.
However, there is no solid scientific theory to back up this hypothesis. But a recent study I discovered has shown that dogs can eat tender blades of fresh green grass without vomiting after. However, when they go for the taller, more comprehensive, and larger blades of grass, it’s only natural that a dog would vomit; in fact, most would.
#5 Dietary Choice
As we have mentioned earlier, grass contains a lot of fibre. So sometimes, a dog would eat grass because they require more fibre in their diet. If you notice that your dog keeps on munching grass right after having a meal, the reason may be that she is not getting enough fibre from the diet. The grass gives your dog the required fibre that it needs to process its food properly. If you suspect this, then simply changing dog food may help you stop the grass-eating behaviour.
When to be Concerned
More than likely, are you reading this article because your dog is showing grass-eating behaviour, and you want to stop it. If that is the case, then you should take the following approach.
The most important thing is to keep an eye on the behaviour of your dog. If your dog munches on grass, vomits and returns to its usual self, then probably there is nothing to be worried about. However, if your dog keeps on eating grass excessively and vomiting, then there could well be something wrong. In this case, you should consult with your vet to make sure there is nothing wrong with its food. The veterinarian may also check the list of medications your dog is taking to determine if it is causing stomach problems.
If you have a teething puppy at your house, you should keep a strict eye on monitoring its behaviour. Puppies love to munch on grass, leaves, sticks, and different other objects, all of which can create a blockage in their stomach.
Should I stop my dog from consuming grass?
Yes, it would be best to take the distraction away from your dog while eating grass. Although fresh green grass may be tasty, you can’t know whether toxic chemicals have been sprayed on it. It’s also impossible to know whether your dog has consumed grass that has been contaminated with intestinal parasites like hookworms.
3 Easy Ways To Stop Your Dog Eating Grass
#1 Revise Their Diet
Revising the diet of your dog is the easiest way to reset their habit of eating grass. However, if your dog seems to be eating grass just for its texture and flavour, you could always plant organic edible grass in a small area at your home. It will help you to keep your dog satisfied and safe.
You can train your dog to ignore grass by teaching them the leave it command. If you are out and about with your dog, you can also take along some healthy, nutritious treats with you to distract them from the blades of grass.
How To Teach A Dog To Leave It (Training)
#3 Keep Your Dog Busy
As a dog parent, you should understand the moods of your dog clearly. So, if you want to keep him off the grass, make sure that they are kept busy all the time, especially the younger ones. You can give your dog a chew toy to keep them busy chewing and munching on. It will help you to keep him away from the grass.
All in all, understand that grass in itself is not bad for your dog. However, it carries some potential contaminants that can affect the health of your dog. Talk to the vet and devise new ways of distractions to keep your dog away from the green temptation.
About the Author
Teresa has been a pet lover since she was little. She currently lives with two dogs and two cats, and a hamster. Teresa is a qualified dog groomer and canine behaviourist; these days, she spends her time studying canine nutrition. Teresa is the founder of the Dog Friendly Scene and loves sharing her knowledge on pets.