One of the questions that we are often asked is ‘why do dogs eat grass?’ This is a common question that pet owners have, because believe it or not a lot of dogs actually eat grass. There are a variety of different reasons why they may choose to eat grass. Research has shown that grass is the most common plant that dogs eat, but it still seems to baffle pet owners. Some people are even worried that their dog could be harming themselves when they eat grass. So, let’s find out more about why they do it, and what you can do to get them to stop.
Here are 5 reasons why dogs eat grass:
#1 – It Tastes Good
First and foremost, you should probably be aware of the fact that grass actually tastes good to most dogs! Dogs are scavengers, and while their diet is often made up of carnivorous foods, they do eat plants and veggies sometimes, and grass is readily available and offers a texture and flavor that dogs tend to enjoy. While you probably wouldn’t like the taste of a handful of grass, your dog has different taste buds. They may really just like the flavor, and if that is the case, then it may be hard to keep them from eating it unless you keep a close eye on them when they are outside.
#2 – It’s Something to Do
When your dog gets bored, they are likely to pick up some behaviors that will just simply help them pass the time. If your dog is out in the backyard playing for a while, and they get bored, they may eat grass as something to do. Most of the time, if it is due to boredom, you can simply provide them with mental challenges, regular exercise and attention and it will help to take their attention from eating the grass, and give them something better to do with their time. A chew toy is another great alternative for them. If you have ruled out boredom, then there may be another cause that is contributing to your pup eating grass.
#3 – It Relieves Upset Stomach
While you may not have been aware of this, eating grass can be a way for dogs to medicate themselves. If they have a stomach ache, they may eat grass because it can induce vomiting. When your dog eats grass, it can help them to vomit which is great if they are experiencing nausea. If your pet is showing signs of an upset stomach, you may need to take them to the vet and have them seen. It may be due to an underlying condition, such as acid reflux, inflammatory bowel, or something more serious. You don’t want to dismiss it right away without at least having some tests run.
#4 – They May Need the Nutrients
Sometimes dogs crave the nutrients that are found in the grass. After all, grass is really high in fiber. If you think that they are doing it because of a lack of fiber, you may need to give them a food that is rich in fiber. This is something worth discussing with your veterinarian. While it doesn’t offer much nutritional value, it is a source of fiber. If your pet doesn’t have enough fiber, they will naturally crave foods that are high in fiber. The same is true of us humans. Have you ever noticed that you crave bananas when you have been having leg cramps? Perhaps you crave green veggies when you have low iron. It works the same way for dogs.
#5 – It’s Pretty Normal Behavior
If you just can’t think of any other reason why your dog may be wanting to eat grass, then you will probably be happy to hear that it is actually pretty normal behavior for dogs. This is the general consensus from most veterinarians. Dogs don’t get much along the lines of nutrients, but grass won’t do them much harm. That is, unless there are fertilizers and other chemicals on the grass. If your dog is eating grass, it is a good idea to avoid using these chemicals, because you want to make sure that they stay protected. Use non-toxic, chemical free products when you are working on your lawn. If you think that your pet has eaten grass that was treated by chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers, call your veterinarian or your local Animal Poison Control right away.
As you can see, there are quite a few reasons why dogs eat grass. There isn’t really any way to tell 100% why your dog eats grass, but chances are it is one of these five reasons. Understanding what causes dogs to eat grass is the best way to begin correcting this behavior. While grass isn’t always BAD for your pet, it can be a problem, especially if it causes upset stomach or vomiting.