Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Most dogs will eat anything that comes close enough to their face to grab – even grass. Many dogs have a habit of chowing down on grass when they’re on a walk or playing in the backyard, so you might not put a lot of thought into the reason behind it. If your dog has a tendency to throw up after eating grass, however, you might be concerned. Keep reading to learn more about why dogs eat grass.
What Makes a Dog Eat Grass?
There are many different reasons for which your dog might eat grass, and, in some cases, the reason may not be obvious. One of the most common theories out there is that dogs eat grass when they don’t feel well as a way of making themselves vomit so they feel better. Evidence suggests, however, that most dogs who eat grass aren’t actually unwell before eating the grass and only 25% of dogs who eat grass regularly vomit afterward. Plus, as smart as your dog may be, it is unlikely that he’s smart enough to self-diagnose and treat an upset stomach by eating grass.
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Though dogs may not eat grass as a conscious means of treating a problem, some evidence suggests that it may be a natural instinct if the dog’s diet is too low in fiber or certain nutrients. There is one example of a published study in which a miniature poodle at grass and vomiting every day for seven years. After the dog was put on a high-fiber diet, he stopped eating grass entirely. There is also the possibility that your dog simply likes the way grass tastes.
Should You Be Worried About a Dog Eating Grass?
Any time your dog exhibits a sudden change in behavior, you would be right to be concerned. Though eating grass seems like a harmless enough behavior, it could be indicative of a deeper problem. In some dogs, ingesting objects other than food (a condition known as pica) is an indication of a nutritional deficiency. In this case, you might want to switch to a higher quality dog food or talk to your veterinarian to have your dog tested for nutritional deficiencies.
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Another potential concern with your dog eating grass is the likelihood that he’ll be exposed to pesticides and herbicides. The chemicals used in lawn treatment can be extremely toxic to dogs, especially when ingested. Your dog is also at risk for ingesting other harmful plants along with the grass if he’s munching indiscriminately. If you’re worried about it, consider growing a tray of grass at home for those moments when your dog simply wants to much.
If your dog occasionally takes a bit of grass on his daily walk, it probably isn’t anything to be concerned out. However, if your dog suddenly starts eating a lot of grass, or if he vomits after doing so, you might want to check with your veterinarian just to be sure. When it comes to your dog’s health and safety, you can never be too cautious.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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