Dog owners often become worried when their canine companions start chowing down on grass. Today, our Stuart vets explain why dogs eat grass and when this habit becomes an issue.
Possible Causes of Grass Eating In Dogs
Concerned dog parents often wonder why their furry friends enjoy eating grass. In fact, lots of dogs will eat grass, vomit, and then continue eating grass again.
Could this be an indication that the dog feels like there is something in their stomach that needs to be brought up? Has the dog eaten something poisonous? Is the dog self-treating an undiagnosed medical condition?
Some dogs do in fact vomit after eating grass, but that's not the case for all dogs. Most dogs eat grass and don't show any signs or symptoms of an upset stomach. So it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Then why do they do it?
Physical Causes of Grass Eating In Dogs
Like humans, dogs have to eat fiber to keep their digestive system running smoothly. After all, dogs are omnivores. This means that good health relies on plant foods as well as high-quality meat. Eating grass could be an easy way for your pup to add roughage to their diet, helping things flow through their digestive tract.
Although, if your dog is eating grass but also shows signs of stomach upset, there could be an underlying medical issue. Dogs can suffer from various stomach and gastrointestinal problems including conditions like pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. If your canine is eating grass and has other symptoms such as lack of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, you should bring your dog to the vet for an examination.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs will often eat grass out of boredom or because of anxiety, similar to the way people will bite their nails. If your dog isn't displaying any symptoms of digestive issues but munches relentlessly on grass, there could psychological reasons behind this behavior.
If your dog is simply suffering from boredom, you could help by increasing the length, distance, or intensity of their walks.
Separation anxiety could also be the reason that your dog is eating grass. Try giving your dog an old blanket or t-shirt with your scent on it when you leave the house. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring and help curb their grass-eating habit.
Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet will be able to recommend ways you can help your pup reduce these obsessive behaviors.
Is Grass Eating Safe For Dogs?
If your dog is otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe behavior.
To help keep your grass nibbling pup healthy, make sure there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.