Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Have you ever noticed your dog chowing down on your lawn and wondered “why do dogs eat grass?” You’re definitely not alone — eating grass is a common habit for many dogs and has left many an owner perplexed and worried. It’s okay, though! Assuming your grass is free of pesticides, eating it shouldn’t your dog in any way.
Some dogs do vomit after eating grass, which has led to the popular theory that dogs developed this habit to induce vomiting. But this isn’t the case. In fact, fewer than 10% of dogs seem to be sick before eating grass, according to their owners. And grass-eating doesn’t usually lead to throwing up — less than 25% of dogs that eat grass vomit regularly after grazing.
So, why do dogs eat grass? We at Doggy Brace want to find out.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
There are actually a few reasons why your dog might munch down on this green delicacy from time to time.
For one, grass is very high in fiber. Dogs, being omnivores, may choose to eat grass because they’re hungry, or because they’re current diet is lacking. Eating grass may be an easy, and seemingly tasty way for dogs to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things flowing through their digestive tract.
That said, if your dog is eating grass but also showing signs of stomach discomfort, like diarrhea or constipation, you may want to take them to the vet. It could be a sign of gastric reflux, pancreatitis, or inflammatory bowel disease.
It’s Just a Habit for Them
Do you have an annoying habit that you don’t notice you’re doing until it’s too late? Do you bite your nails, tap your fingers, or chew on pencils? Well, eating grass can be the same type of habit for dogs. They may do it because they’re bored, or they may just do it because that’s what they’ve always done.
If it’s not hurting them, there’s no need to train them out of this habit either. Just let your dog do their thing. But if your dog is showing obsessive behaviors about eating it, it’s time to see your vet.
They Enjoy The Taste and Smell
Fresh grass smells great, doesn’t it? Your dog may think so too. Like humans, dogs can “taste” with their noses. So if something smells good, it must taste good too, right? Dogs just have to know!
If they do enjoy the taste, then they’ll eat it. They may also enjoy the texture of it in their mouths too, since it is so different from their usual kibble and food. If you’re a texture eater, then you know what we’re talking about. Some foods just have a better mouth than others, and they’re more enjoyable to eat. Your dog can think the same thing about grass!
When Should I Stop My Dog From Eating Grass?
If you notice them eating grass more frequently or excessively, your dog may be trying to trat some unseen illnesses. Also look for vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, decrease in appetite, blood in stool, lethargy, or lip licking.
If your dog eats grass, they may also chew on houseplants. If this is the case, be cautious! Certain varieties can cause toxicity if they’re chewed or ingested! It’s always best to consult with your vet if you think your dog has chewed on a toxic house plant or ingested grass after it was sprayed with a pesticide or herbicide.
If your dog doesn’t exhibit any signs of distress, but you feel that they may have ingested too much grass, keep them hydrated and allow time for potty breaks. Have your dog fast for 8-12 hours before introducing food slowly. After 12 hours if your dog continues to show signs, check in with your veterinarian.
Also, the act of bending down and eating grass can be painful for some dogs, especially senior dogs. If you notice them getting wobbly, splaying their legs too much, or preferring to lay down while they eat, they may be telling you that their knees, hips, shoulders, or elbows hurt! If that’s the case, a vet can help you figure out if any arthritis has formed, or if they need more supportive care.
In most cases though, eating grass is totally harmless. If you’re concerned though, your vet is the best place to start!