Dog owners have most likely seen their four-legged friend chomping on a mouthful of grass, and you have probably wondered why dogs do this and if it is okay for them to do so. To help you better understand your pup, here is why dogs eat grass and how to identify whether it is a problem or not.
Why Dogs Eat Grass
Many dog owners and veterinarians think that grass eating is a form of pica, or eating strange items. This could be because of a diet deficiency that is rooted in missing vitamins, nutrients, or minerals in a dog’s daily diet. Some dogs may be eating grass as a way of getting more fiber, allowing them to pass gas and stool easier.
If a dog’s diet is very balanced though, eating grass may just be their instinct. The digestive system, dietary needs, and cravings of dogs have changed to fit their lifestyle as they have become domesticated. Dogs are omnivores, so they naturally crave grass as a part of their genetic makeup. They also might just enjoy the taste and texture of grass, especially in the spring when it is first emerging!
Is Eating Grass Bad For Your Dog?
Eating grass can be a sign that your dog is trying to relieve an upset stomach. Some dogs vomit after eating grass, but fewer than 25 percent of dogs actually vomit from eating grass, and 10 percent show signs of sickness before eating grass. This means that eating grass is most likely not harmful to dogs, but there are still some concerns. Eating grass can cause some intestinal parasites, and herbicides and pesticides sprayed into grass can be harmful to your dog. It’s generally best to stop them when you see it, but there’s usually no need to rush to the vet right away.
When You Should Take Action
If your dog seems to be eating grass frequently or even excessively, start to look for any potential underlying illnesses they might be trying to self-treat. Some signs that your dog may be sick are vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, blood in stool, lethargy, decrease in appetite, or lip licking. It is important to keep your dog away from plants that may be toxic to them if chewed or ingested. Consult a vet if you feel if your dog may be sick from eating grass.
Remember that you can use Pet Notify’s Pet Vault to take notes on your pet’s behavior if you think it may be irregular. Doing so can help aid your vet in diagnosing a problem, or can show your trusted pet-care providers like sitters or dog walkers what type of behaviors to watch out for.