My dog eats grass. Is that normal? Now, that’s a good question.
Dogs are smart creatures. But even as smart as they are, your canine friend tends to do funny and unusual things that you cannot explain sometimes.
Stopping while you walk them to eat grass is one of them.
My dog is eating grass: Should I be worried about it?
For some pet owners, their dogs eating grass can become a cause of concern.
While grass is not necessarily harmful to dogs, the chemicals or whatever is on it might become a concern.
You don’t really want your dogs to suffer from a sick stomach due to grass laden with herbicides or pesticides, right?
Grass eating among dogs is not really unusual, but it can be a sign that something else is going on with your barking buddy.
Here are a few reasons why your dog is eating grass and what you can do about it.
An eating disorder
Just like humans, dogs also suffer from eating disorders. Scientifically known as the pica disorder, a dog that eats grass might be suffering from the said disorder.
If this is the case, your dog will not just eat grass but any foreign objects on a regular basis.
Dogs with the pica disorder might eat garbage, paper, dirt, cloth, shoes, diapers, or even feces, even if they’re getting enough food.
This can become a cause for concern because pica can lead to indigestion when left untreated.
A lack of dietary fiber
Another reason why your dog eats grass is that they lacking the necessary vitamins and nutrients in their daily diet especially fiber hence the grass eating.
On the other hand, grass-eating is not really unusual among dogs since one study revealed that 40% of dog owners have dogs that eat grass especially if they have access to it or some other plants available.
Since dogs, especially domesticated ones, are omnivores the grass eating is quite normal since fiber is considered a diet staple.
A sign of boredom
In some cases, pica behavior is also observed among dogs when they get. This is more common among puppies and younger dogs.
Because of this, it’s very important that you keep your canine friends engaged in active play or brain-boosting activities to ease their boredom.
Feeling sick to the stomach
Some dogs feel sick after they eat grass. The idea is that dogs deliberately eat grass so that they throw up afterward when they feel sick to their stomach to make them feel better or simply improve their digestion.
Just like us humans, dogs can suffer from bloating, gas, nausea, or stomach upset.
Veterinarian professionals have proven it that dogs eat grass in some cases to induce vomiting and relieve their stomach sickness.
In some other cases, a dog might also eat grass to improve digestion and might also eat it if it has intestinal worms in its stomach.
While the grass eating is not a serious cause for concern, unless you happen to have chemically treated lawns, the only time you should call your vet is when your dogs suffer from gastrointestinal problems like bloating and gas even when they’re not eating grass.
What if the grass eating made my dog sick?
If your dog has experienced concurrent vomiting due to grass-eating, it is best to call your veterinarian to do a physical exam on your furry buddy.
This way, your vet can determine if your dog suffers from any inflammation or bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract or if there’s anything wrong in your dog’s stomach.
You should also look out for other symptoms like diarrhea, lethargy, or sudden weight loss.
I don’t want my dogs to eat grass. What can I do?
There are a few things you can do to make sure that your dog or puppy doesn’t have to resort to eating grass ever again.
- Switch to another dog food, probably one of high-fiber variety. Since fiber is something mostly found in grass, switching to a high-fiber or a better dog food brand might do the trick for your dog.
- Get your dog enough exercise. Boredom can cause your dog to do funny things on his own including chewing off a piece of your lawn. Giving him some fun activities like simply tossing a Frisbee or getting him to run after you would be great to keep them occupied. If you’re out of ideas, you can just teach them new tricks even including car washing and toy clean up after dog play.
- Introduce other greens like vegetables to your dog’s diet. If your dog simply loves the taste of greens, try mixing his food with cooked vegetables or herbs. Aside from being more delicious, veggies won’t have you cringe when your doggies munch on them compared to when they eat grass.
- Add some probiotics or digestive enzymes. If you find out that your dog or puppy’s gut needs help to digest their food properly or if their constant grass eating has affected their ability to digest food, adding probiotics to their diet can help.
For some pet owners, seeing your dog eating grass like a cow can become confusing without knowing why your dogs do it.
No need to worry though. Dogs tend to enjoy nibbling on things that don’t seem right to the human palate.
Remember your shoes, dirty socks, or the trash you just put away?
Worse, you sometimes find their noses on the diaper you just put away.
As icky as these sounds, grass-eating is quite normal among dogs and there are several studies out there to prove it.
Grass eating is not necessarily harmful to dogs and only less than 10% of dogs have been noted to have adverse reactions to eating grass afterward.
Still, it is better for you to consider talking to your vet to ease your mind regarding your dog or puppy’s health especially when the grass grazing becomes too much for your own comfort.
Do dogs eat grass to vomit?
When you search on Google, “why do dogs eat grass”, you will usually stumble upon results stating that it is because they want to throw up, however, this is a myth.
Most species of grasses do not induce vomiting, and you also have to consider the possibility that your dog’s stomach is already upset, to begin with.
This myth was further debunked by research conducted by the University of California, Davis in 2008.
The objective was to test the hypothesis that grass-eating in dogs is linked with an illness that leads to vomiting.
In the final study with 1,571 participants, 68% of the respondents reported that they noticed their dogs consume grass on a daily or weekly basis.
While there’s no definite reason that explains why dogs love to eat grass, this confirms that grass-eating is indeed a common behavior in them.
Another finding was that out of 1571, only 22% or 346 dog owners said that their dog regularly vomited after ingesting grass.
Interestingly, this is more common for younger dogs than older ones, and especially if they already showed signs of sickness before they begin eating grass. So far, this is the only scientific study that was conducted investigating this topic.
The good news is we were able to understand that grass-eating is not an abnormal behavior in dogs so you can rest easy the next time you see your dog grazing some fresh green grass.
Why does my dog eat grass then throw up?
If most grasses do not cause vomiting, then why does my dog eat grass and then vomit?
The main reason behind this is not because of the grass itself, but your dog’s stomach might already feeling upset in the first place, and eating grass is a way for them to trigger vomiting.
In short, your dog is already about to throw up, and grass only makes it easier.
So if you will ask, how does exactly eating grass causes a dog to vomit? The answer does not lie on the components of the grass, but simply on its structure.
According to a study, long pieces of grass stimulate the dog’s throat. This is the same case for humans except that dogs cannot tickle their throat with their paws so they use grass instead.
Does eating grass make dogs sick?
Most experts agree that allowing your dog to eat grass is not harmful to their health.
In some cases, it can even be beneficial to their diet since it’s a good source of dietary fiber.
However, we have to be mindful since we don’t know if those grasses are loaded with toxic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers.
Since we couldn’t stop our dogs completely from going to our yard, veterinarians suggest using pet-friendly yard sprays or make a special grazing spot for your pooch and teach them to only eat from that area.
If you notice that your dog is consuming more grass than usual, you may want to add healthy herbs and spices like basil, rosemary, parsley, and oregano to their diet or, better yet, get an appointment with your vet.
Why is my puppy eating grass?
Grass eating is a common behavior that even puppies engage in especially if they’re teething.
However, you should be extra careful because munching a lot of grass, and weeds may lead to airway obstruction.
Another reason why you should not allow your puppies from eating grass is that it is not very nutritious for them.
Puppies have specific nutritional requirements that are needed for their development.
The four essential nutrients are protein, calcium, digestible carbohydrates, and fat.
Grasses cannot supply any of these nutrients and may even expose them to parasitic infections like ringworms, roundworms, and fleas.
How do you settle a dog’s upset stomach?
Occasional vomiting in dogs is generally harmless.
Like in humans, vomiting can help them remove food or something that irritates their stomach, and they will eventually start to feel much better afterward.
But despite that, sometimes vomiting is not enough to help a dog with an upset stomach. Here are the following home remedies you can try to cure your dog’s tummy ache:
1. Give your dog a plain canned pumpkin
Pumpkin is one of the best remedies for dogs having indigestion.
It is high in soluble fiber which adds bulk to your dog’s poop by absorbing water.
It also has a low glycemic index which decreases the pH level of the large intestines promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the area.
2. Keep your pooch hydrated
If your dog is experiencing severe diarrhea, he is losing a lot of water that may lead to dehydration.
Dehydration is dangerous to dogs as it can lead to multiple organ failure within hours.
The dilemma here, however, is giving too much water will upset his tummy even more.
What you can do instead is to give your dog some ice cubes every 2 to 3 hours.
If his diarrhea persists, you can go to the nearest drugstore and purchase unflavored Pedialyte because your dog is not only losing water, but also important electrolytes.
3. Use medication
Pepto-Bismol or Pepcid is the colorful pink pill commonly used to treat diarrhea in humans.
It is also safe for dogs as long as the veterinarian confirms the correct dosage.
The suggested dose is one teaspoon for every 10 pounds and is given every six to eight hours.
To administer Pepto-Bismol to your dog, crush the pill, and mix it with water.
Using an empty plastic syringe (without needle), get the desired dose, and push the plunger on the posterior part of your dog’s mouth.
Close his muzzle for a few seconds to prevent him from spitting it out.
When should I go to the vet if my dog keeps throwing up?
Most of the time, eating grass does not possess danger to dogs.
But if you notice these following signs then you should consult your vet.
- Your dog’s grass-eating behavior becomes excessive,
- Your dog prefers to eat grass than his usual dog food.
- Your dog continuously eats grass, and puke over a short period.
- Your dog is sick but still chews on the grass.