Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
15 April, 2015
Anyone who has owned a dog has invariably taken a dog on a walk and he or she approaches a spot of grass and starts to eat it. As it turns out, many dogs seem to love to eat grass and some even make it part of their daily routine. Most experts believe that dogs who eat grass are not hurting themselves, for the most part, but as like everything in life, moderation is key.
Dogs eat grass because they can and it’s inherent in their breed
Dogs are not carnivores. However, that doesn’t mean they are like your garden-variety omnivores, either. Dogs will usually devour anything that they can and seems edible (within a certain degree). Due to the evolution of dogs and the fact that we domesticate them, dogs tends to seek out grass as an alternative food source. Since grass is readily available and usually within reach and the most abundant, dogs tends to gravitate toward the grass. But, often, the grass doesn’t go down that well and there can be repercussions.
Some dogs tend to seek out grass when they have an upset stomach or so it seems?
A dog will seek out a natural remedy for a gassy or upset stomach, and grass, it seems, may do the trick. When the dogs eats the grass, the grass blade tickles the throat and stomach lining; this sensation, in turn, may cause the dog to vomit, especially if the grass is gulped down rather than chewed.
Now, this doesn’t mean your dog should be grazing on grass like a cow. Sure, they may nibble on the grass, chew on the grass for a while and may not even throw up (an unwell dog will tend to gulp the grass down in big bites and then throw up). If this is the case, your dog may find the texture of the grass palatable, or maybe because your dog needs to add a little roughage to their diet.
But, then again, some experts say that 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, sometimes yes, sometimes no? Only you can tell when your dog gravitates toward the grass and the timing, pattern and the reason.
Dogs might eat grass simply because they are bored
Another reason for dogs eat grass is simply as a means to gain attention or out of boredom. In cases where owners are simply not providing their dog with enough interaction and exercise, the dog may try to gain interaction with their owner through engaging in forbidden behaviors. As with younger children, attention is attention and it is possible that a dog that eats grass is trying to tell its owner that it needs more attention from them much as the naughty toddler who draws on the walls would do.
If you suspect your dog is eating grass because he’s bored, it might be beneficial to make sure he’s getting enough exercise. Engage him in some fun activities. Try tossing a Frisbee or playing another interactive game with him, or buy him a sturdy chew toy to keep him occupied.
Dogs that eat grass might be susceptible to toxins on the grass
Although most experts agree that grazing itself isn’t harmful, one thing to keep in mind is that certain herbicides and pesticides used on lawns can be quite toxic, especially if ingested. Additionally, a number of common house and garden plants are toxic, which could lead to problems if your dog munches on them along with the lawn.
How to stop your dog from eating grass
If you think the grass eating is simply the result of a dog’s natural instinct to eat grass or because your dog likes the taste of grass, you should try to train your dog to stop this behavior. While in most cases dogs generally do not experience negative effects from grass eating, this behavior can prove to be dangerous for pet owners living in areas frequently treated with pesticides. Dogs that are food oriented can quite easily be trained to stop their behavior with treat rewards. Taking the dog out to use the bathroom or for a walk with treats in hand is the best way to tackle training these types of dogs, any time the dog is tempted towards grass use a treat to distract them towards the walking path instead. Or you can use whatever training method you think is most effective for your pup.
As with everything, moderation is key. If your dog eats a little grass here and there, you don’t need to worry. If this turns to a compulsive habit, make sure to see your veterinarian to see if there is an underlying medical issue.