We know that dogs love munching on anything and everything, including grass. In this article, our veterinarians from Benicia discuss why dogs eat grass and explore the safety of this behavior.
Why Dogs Eat Grass
Pet owners often find themselves puzzled as they watch their dogs seemingly relish eating grass. Dogs frequently consume grass, vomit, and then resume their grass-eating activities.
Could this behavior indicate that the dog needs to expel something from its stomach? Is there a possibility of a toxic substance in the dog's stomach? Is the dog engaging in a form of self-treatment for an undiagnosed medical condition?
While some dogs vomit after consuming grass, this does not hold true for all of them. Most dogs consume grass without displaying any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. Consequently, it seems that dogs do not eat grass to induce vomiting. So, why do they engage in this behavior?
Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Like people, dogs need fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system. As omnivores, dogs require both plant foods and high-quality meat for good health. Adding grass to your dog's diet is a simple way to increase roughage, aiding in the smooth movement of food through their digestive tract.
However, if your dog is eating grass and exhibiting symptoms of stomach upset, it may indicate an underlying medical issue. Dogs can develop stomach and gastrointestinal problems, such as pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. A vet checkup is recommended if your dog is consuming grass and experiencing additional symptoms like a lack of appetite, low energy, diarrhea, or constipation.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs often eat grass due to boredom or anxiety, akin to people biting their nails. If your dog constantly munches on grass without displaying signs of digestive issues, explore psychological reasons for their behavior.
To address boredom, consider increasing the length, distance, or intensity of your dog's walks, which may deter them from eating grass.
Separation anxiety could also trigger grass-eating. When leaving the house, give your dog an old blanket or t-shirt carrying your scent. This familiar aroma can be reassuring, potentially curbing the urge to eat grass.
In cases of obsessive grass-eating, consult your vet for guidance on helping your pup reduce such behaviors.
Is it safe for my dog to eat grass?
Eating grass is safe if your dog is healthy and takes regular parasite-prevention medication. To ensure your grass-nibbling dog stays healthy, check that the grass it enjoys is free from herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.