Is it idle curiosity or something more serious? From the human perspective, it is hard to understand why any creature would want to eat grass, especially not your dog, who has delicious food available just inside the house. Why would your dog eat grass? And should you do anything about it? Here’s what you need to know.
Why Dogs Eat Grass
There are a few possible reasons why a dog may decide to chew on some grass:
- Dietary deficiency: The most common reason that dogs decide to munch on some grass is that their diet is missing fiber or some vitamin or mineral. That nutrient that your dog is missing may not necessarily be in the grass. They may just be eating it because they know they need something and aren’t sure where to get it. So, your first stop if your dog is eating grass should be to your vet’s. Talk it through with a professional to find out if your dog’s current diet is filling all of their needs or if there are some changes you need to make to help them stay healthy.
- Upset stomach: It used to be that an upset stomach was the first culprit we suspected when a dog ate grass. However, more recent research has shown that less than 25% of dogs even vomit after eating grass. Fewer still seem to be sick before they eat grass. While it is rare, it is still possible that your dog is trying to find something to relieve pain when they eat grass. Again, a talk with the vet is in order here.
- Boredom/cravings: It may sound strange, but not all grass-eating behavior is driven by a problem. Dogs are omnivores, and many have the instincts to eat plants. They may sample grass out of curiosity, desire or boredom. So long as you have ruled out deficiencies and illnesses with your vet, your dog’s occasional grass-eating could be perfectly natural.
Why and How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Grass
So, if eating grass is almost natural for a dog, should you intervene when they are chomping down? Probably. The grass itself may be safe for most dogs, but they are also likely to be eating parasite eggs, like roundworms, when they eat grass. Plus, depending on where your dog is getting his or her grass, there may be harmful herbicides and pesticides on it.
How do you stop your dog from eating grass? Distraction is best. Here are some ways to distract your dog:
- Pick up speed: If your dog eats grass on your walks, move faster when he or she starts to nibble.
- Fetch: Playing fetch or some other game before you let your dog have free time on the grass is wise. A tired dog shouldn’t chew grass out of boredom.
- Chew toys: You can always give your dog something more appetizing to chew on when you let them out into the backyard. Try to choose long-lasting treats.
Mild grass-eating might not be a big deal, but a lot of grass eating and vomiting from grass is. Be sure to check in with your vet.