Dogs eat grass for a variety of reasons, and depending on which expert you ask, you are sure to get a variety of different answers. Many pet owners may be surprised to learn that eating grass is actually quite common. With a few exceptions that we will discuss below, in the majority of cases, this behavior does not indicate an underlying sickness or illness, and therefore should not be cause for concern.
Reasons For Why Dogs Eat Grass
It Tastes Yummy
Yup, some dogs seem to genuinely enjoy the taste of grass, especially if it is fresh, tender, new grass, and since dogs are omnivores, this theory should not be totally surprising to us.
Because of its high fiber content, eating grass is a way for dogs to add more fiber to their diet, providing natural digestive support.
The experts have mixed views on this. Some say dogs eat grass in order to ease stomach upset and induce vomiting, while others believe eating grass is actually the cause of the problem. Although sometimes dogs do vomit after eating grass, many times they actually do not. So, without concrete evidence supporting either side, it remains an unknown.
One side note- If your dog is suddenly gobbling down the longest blades of grass they can find, and perhaps trying to eat odd items inside as well, like the strings on your rug, this behavior is almost always an attempt to induce vomiting.
Dogs are pack animals and when they are left alone for too long, whether inside or out, they may exhibit negative behaviors due to boredom.
Just as a dog who is bored inside may decide to chew on your furniture or fill your living room with the stuffing from your new couch, it is not unfeasible that in an attempt to alleviate boredom outside, they may turn to eating grass.
Stress and Anxiety
If your dog is eating grass excessively, they may be doing so due to a psychological reason. It is not unusual for a dog suffering from stress and/or anxiety to engage in these types of repetitive compulsive behaviors, which may also include obsessive licking or chewing.
Is It Okay For My Dog To Eat Grass?
The short answer is, yes, and as explained in the information above, not only is it pretty normal for dogs to eat grass, with a few exceptions, it’s also almost always harmless. Below we will take a look at some reasons eating grass could be concerning, or pose a health risk.
When Is It Dangerous For Dogs To Eat Grass?
Excessive Grass Eating
If your dog is eating grass excessively, there may be an underlying health issue, and consulting your veterinarian is recommended.
If your dog is eating grass on a regular basis and vomiting, consult your vet asap.
Never allow your dog to eat grass that has been treated with any type of chemical-based product. Do not expose your dog to herbicides/weed killers, pesticides/pest control treatments, or any type of lawn fertilizers.
Even just exposing pets to chemically treated grass can be toxic, so it makes sense that these poisons can be potentially deadly if ingested.
Changes in Behavior
If your dog is eating grass, yet seems uninterested in their normal diet, is exhibiting signs of digestive issues, and/or shows signs of lethargy, this is a situation that needs immediate medical attention from a veterinary professional.
How Can I Stop My Dog From Eating Grass?
If you suspect a temporary digestive issue is the cause, consider addressing the problem with products that can provide natural relief. Try feeding your dog a bland diet for a few days until symptoms pass.
If acute diarrhea is present, treat with an anti-diarrheal. If your dog is suffering from occasional, but more chronic stomach upset, and/or soft stools, they may need a regular probiotic to restore and maintain gut balance.
If your dog has been eating grass, but seems otherwise healthy, this compulsive behavior may be due to boredom or anxiety. Try engaging your dog in more physical activities. Take more walks and increase play time both inside and out. Provide engaging toys! With just a quick search you can find many really amazing products created to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated.
As long as your dog has a normal appetite, is not having ongoing digestive issues, and is not showing any signs of lethargy or illness, you should feel comfortable letting them embrace their inner cow, and do a little grazing!