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 because 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 afterwards 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 doesn’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 reaction to eating grass afterwards. 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.