Your dog gets plenty to eat from his food dish at home, so you’re perplexed when you notice him eating grass while spending time outside. The behavior worries you – is your dog sick? Hungry? Bored? Could eating grass be bad for him? Learn the possible reasons why your dog is eating grass and whether you should be concerned.
Reasons Dogs Eat Grass
It’s actually quite common to see dogs eating grass. The behavior has even been observed in the wild, where dogs are natural scavengers that eat fruit, berries, and other vegetation to supplement their meaty diet. A direct descendent of their wild cousins, domestic dogs are simply more likely to eat grass than any other vegetation because it’s easily accessible.
So what inspires your dog to graze on your lawn? There are many possible reasons:
Some people suggest that dogs seek out grass to make themselves vomit when they have a stomachache, which could be caused by digestive issues or intestinal worms. Indeed, when dogs gulp down grass, the prickly blades tickle their throat and stomach lining to encourage vomiting. However, evidence suggests that fewer than 10 percent of dogs are sick before they eat grass, and less than 25 percent vomit after grazing.
When dogs chew on grass for a while rather than gulping it quickly, they can usually keep it down. Based on information about wild dogs eating vegetation to supplement their diet, it could be true that your domestic dog is doing the same thing.
If your dog eats grass regularly in an attempt to supplement his diet, he could have a nutritional deficiency. For example, grass is a good source of fiber, a nutrient your dog may be lacking. In one study, a miniature poodle known to eat grass and vomit every day for seven years stopped eating grass altogether three days after switching to high-fiber dog food.
Some dogs may simply like the taste and texture of grass, so they nibble on it while lounging in the back yard or at the park. After all, who can pass up a free salad bar?
Like a child who causes trouble because he has nothing better to do, your dog may start munching on grass simply because he’s bored. This is a common reason for puppies to eat grass because they constantly seek stimulation.
What to Do If Your Dog Is Eating Grass
While most experts agree that eating grass won’t hurt your dog, it could be a sign that something else is wrong. If you’re concerned about your dog’s habits, take these steps:
- Make sure your dog gets enough to eat. Feed him the amount he requires twice a day based on his weight. Ask a vet if you need help determining amounts.
- Switch your dog to a high-fiber diet with a vet’s guidance and recommendation.
- Make sure your dog is stimulated and gets enough play time every day. Play fetch or another interactive game, or provide chew toys to keep him occupied.
- Take your dog to the vet to have him examined for digestive issues or intestinal worms.
- Remember to keep your dog off the grass for a few hours after being treated with pesticides or herbicides.
Call Germantown Vet if You’re Concerned About Your Dog Eating Grass
At Germantown Vet Clinic, we can help if your dog is eating grass, or treat any other digestive or behavior problem your dog is experiencing. For answers to other questions about your dog’s behavior, or for any other pet health needs, please contact us online or call 240-252-7467.