Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

by Scritch

The behavior of eating grass is quite common among dogs, including those in the wild. Generally speaking, grazing isn’t harmful, but there are several ways to address this behavior should it become concerning. Here are a number of reasons why your dog might be eating grass and what you can do about it. 

Boredom, curiosity, habit

When you and your dog are spending time outside, he might munch on grass just because it’s there. Puppies that are still exploring the world with their mouths might be prompted by curiosity to chomp on a few blades of grass. If your dog likes the way grass tastes or feels in his mouth, he may develop a habit of grabbing a bite any time he has the opportunity. 

What to do: If you suspect that this is the reason your dog eats grass, there’s no need to worry, so long as your pup isn’t eating grass that has been treated with pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. However, you can reduce or stop the behavior by ensuring your bored dog gets plenty of exercise and stimulation. Distract him with toys or speed up the pace of your walk so he doesn’t get the opportunity to stop and graze. 

Nutritional deficiency

Another theory suggests that dogs eat grass because they are lacking certain nutrients from their diet. In the wild, dogs consume all parts of their prey, including the partially digested fiber and grains. Eating grass may be a way for your domestic dog to supplement his diet with fiber and improve digestion.

What to do: Take a look at your dog’s food to ensure he’s getting enough fiber. Whether it’s a lack of fiber or your dog simply wants that fresh, crunchy satisfaction, you can add chopped carrots, celery, or lettuce to your dog’s meals. Adding a bit of plain canned pumpkin to your dog’s food will also up the fiber and nutritional value. 

Eating to throw up

Some people believe that dogs only seek grass when they feel ill, and that eating grass is an attempt at relief because it can tickle the throat and help stimulate vomiting. However, there are mixed opinions about this theory. According to WebMD, “fewer than 10% of dogs seem to be sick before eating grass,” and “less than 25% of dogs that eat grass vomit regularly after grazing.”

What to do: If your dog is frequently or continually throwing up, it’s best to seek veterinary attention to understand what the underlying problem might be. 

Aside from frequent vomiting, the only other cause for concern is a sudden change of behavior. A dog that has never been interested in grass should see the vet if he uncharacteristically starts eating a lot of grass. For all the other dogs, grazers gonna graze. Even though your dog doesn’t say “moo,” it’s generally safe for him to munch on fresh grass so long as it is clear of chemicals.