Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Most dog owners have experienced it: you’re out for a nice afternoon at the park, just relaxing with your favorite canine. Then you suddenly turn around to find your furry friend munching on grass like he’s a little cow! It can be surprising and curious at best, and at worst, it causes worry for many pet owners. So why do dogs eat grass? Furthermore, why do some of them vomit afterward?
It’s important to understand this behavior, so you can know if you have a reason for concern. It isn’t necessarily unhealthy for your dog, but there are many tips and tricks to keep in mind regarding a dog that eats grass. Eating grass might indicate that your dog needs a change in their wellness routine, and it can even present a health risk if they aren’t monitored properly.
Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
There are several reasons why dogs eat grass, and it can be hard to identify which one applies to your munching canine. The reasons may be physical or psychological, like:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Upset stomach
- Feeling bored or stressed out
Dogs May Eat Grass Because of Nutritional Deficiency
Sometimes dogs eat grass because they are missing an important component in their diet, usually fiber. Choosing wholesome dog food and creating a healthy dog diet plan can be a major challenge. Many pet foods lack all the nutrients a dog needs to feel whole, so they might supplement with grass.
It Might Just Be Instinct
Grass is a type of food, and dogs might simply eat it because it’s programmed into their DNA. Instinct can play a major role in your pet’s habits, even though modern dogs are fully domesticated. Those omnivore wolf behaviors can still play out even if they don’t have a direct purpose, and that might be the straightforward reason why a dog eats grass.
Eating Grass May Soothe an Upset Stomach
Some pet owners think that eating grass might be their dog’s way of treating an upset stomach. There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence about this, but there isn’t a lot of evidence against it, either.
It is certainly possible that digestive enzymes found in grass help your dog process their food. If a dog is eating grass to treat an upset stomach in the hopes of vomiting, they’ll probably eat the grass quickly, swallowing it before really chewing.
A Bored or Stressed Dog Might Eat Grass
If your dog is left alone outside for extended periods, they may start to eat grass because they are bored or stressed out – sort of the way humans chew their nails when they’re nervous. Eating grass can sometimes be a sign of stress in dogs, and it can also be a way for your dog to try to get your attention.
When trying to figure out why your dog is eating grass, think about their daily schedule and try to honestly assess if you’ve been giving them enough attention and time each day. If they feel neglected, they might eat grass as a way to cope.
When You Should Worry About Your Dog Eating Grass
Understanding why your dog eats grass leads to the next important question: Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?
The short answer is yes – many dogs eat grass without any health implications at all. But it’s still important to be diligent and watch out for a few things. Namely, if your dog vomits after they eat grass, you should know why that’s happening because it might require some attention on your end. You also want to be wary of toxic plants that your pet might want to munch on, too. Finally, look out for stomach discomfort and bloating that might indicate your dog’s gastrointestinal balance is off.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass and Vomit?
Some pet owners may be wondering, why do dogs eat grass and vomit? While it happens to less than a quarter of dogs, it can be concerning, and it might be a reason to worry about your dog partaking in this behavior.
Your dog might vomit after eating grass for a few reasons, and it’s hard to know which one it is. It’s possible they ate the grass to soothe their stomach, and throwing up was what they needed to do to feel better. If this is why your dog vomits after eating grass, then you’re in the clear.
But it’s also possible that your dog vomits because they consumed an intestinal parasite while eating the grass, as grass often contains droppings from other animals like mice. Chemicals sprayed on some grass to help it grow, like herbicides and pesticides, can also be harmful to your pet when consumed.
Beware of Toxic Plants
If your dog is already eating grass, they might think some of your houseplants look munchable, too. This can be a problem because many plants can be toxic to dogs, some severely and others mildly. Familiarize yourself with what plants are safe for your pet, and keep a close watch to see if your dog wants to munch on other green goodies around the house or in the yard.
Stomach Discomfort or Bloating
Even if your dog doesn’t vomit after eating grass, they might show other signs of stomach discomfort, like tenderness or bloating. These signals indicate that something is wrong with your dog’s digestive system, and you should consult your veterinarian immediately.
How to Keep Your Dog from Eating Grass
If you notice your dog eating grass and vomiting, you might want to take some steps to make them stop. Grass-eating can be risky if your dog spends a lot of time outside in new places. You might not know where they use pesticides on the lawn, and there is always the risk of parasites from animal droppings.
If you want your dog to stop eating grass, try the following:
- Change your dog’s diet
- Offer them something better to eat
- Distract them from grass-eating with play and attention
Overhaul Your Dog’s Diet
You might be able to discourage grass-eating or stop it entirely by changing your dog’s diet. This might mean introducing a new resource to your dog’s wellness plan, like CBD for dogs, or switching to a new pet food. Consult your veterinarian about what nutrients your dog might be missing and try to overhaul your dog’s daily diet to make them stop eating grass.
Give Them Something Better to Eat
Wherever you find your dog eating grass, bring along some special goodies that they will enjoy more than chewing on the grass. This might be a CBD soft chew for dogs or even some yummy peanut butter! When you see them start to munch, introduce the little delight to give them a better choice.
Distract Them from Eating Grass
If your dog is eating grass out of boredom or loneliness, they need a distraction. More time with you or an engaging playmate might help your dog stop eating grass. Give your dog attention regularly throughout the day, and if you’re unable to do that, consider a dog walker or a doggie daycare where they can be stimulated all day long.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Dog’s Grass-Eating Habits
Now you know the answer to why dogs eat grass, as well as some important additional information. Grass-eating is typically a relatively safe behavior, and it’s tough to pinpoint exactly why your pet is doing it. What’s important is watching out for the risks that grass-eating might pose, like the consumption of toxins or parasites, and ensuring that your dog has a healthy daily routine that meets all of his needs.