Does your dog like to chow down on the grass in your yard or at the park? Your instinct is probably to scold the animal and attempt to make him stop. This has you wondering—is it bad for your dog to eat grass, or should you just let him do it? Why do dogs eat grass in the first place, and how can you make your pooch stop if you don’t want him to? Here are some tips that may help.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Many pet owners complain that their canines act more like bovines when they take them on walks, preferring to stop and graze on the grass as much as possible. There are many possible reasons why dogs eat grass. They may have an upset stomach or nutritional deficiency that grass can supposedly help with. Other times, the dog simply likes the taste of grass or chooses to graze out of sheer boredom.
Is it Bad for a Dog to Eat Grass?
Most experts agree that, while your dog won’t garner any real nutritional value from eating grass, the habit isn’t intrinsically bad for the animal. Still, allowing your dog to graze can have some unpleasant side effects:
- The lawn may be treated with fertilizers, pesticides, or weed killers. Eating the grass could expose your dog to these chemicals, which could be harmful to his health.
- The grass could be home to parasites, such as roundworms. If your dog didn’t have digestive trouble to begin with, he will if he ingests roundworm eggs hidden in the lawn.
- The grass might become lodged in your dog’s mouth and pharynx. This can cause itching and tickling, potentially leading to gagging and vomiting.
- Eating grass could make your dog sick. About one in four dogs vomit regularly after grazing, though the jury is still out on whether the grass itself causes an upset stomach, or if it helps the dog throw up when he already feels ill.
- Eating grass might lead to objectionable bowel movements. Your dog may strain to poop following a lengthy grazing session. The stringy strands of grass may also cause “dingleberries” to cling to your pup’s backside, an unpleasant circumstance for both you and the animal.
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Eating Grass
If you’re bothered by the possible side effects of your dog eating grass, try these tips to make him stop:
- Feed your dog plenty of high-quality dog food to ensure he’s not short on vitamins and minerals, especially fiber.
- Stimulate your dog with plenty of play time every day.
- Bring your dog to Germantown Vet for a health exam.
- Keep your dog off the lawn for at least a few hours after it has been treated with fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide.
Get Help with Your Dog’s Grass-Eating Habits
Come to Germantown Vet Clinic for specific guidance about combating your dog’s desire to eat grass. We can provide diet and nutrition advice, address behavior problems, and conduct a health screening to make sure your dog has no intestinal worms or other side effects from eating grass.
Give us a call at 240-252-7467 for answers to your remaining questions or to set an appointment for your dog today!