My dog is eating grass. Find out why.

My dog is eating grass. Find out why.

 

I sit outside with Maui quite a bit during the summer. I love being outside in the warm air and embracing sunshine. Maui is not much of a heat fan. She starts getting hot when it hit 60°, but despite this, she loves to be outside and even more so, she loves to be with me.

Beautiful golden retriever in grassWe live next to a small open area that grows wild with weeds, flowers, and grasses. Quite often I see Maui over at the edge of our yard munching on the tall grass. It has never really worried me; I just continue enjoying being outside and continue watching my dog eating grass.

For some reason today I started really wondering why my dog eats grass.

Thought I’d take this opportunity to look into it and discover the truth about why dogs eat grass.

 

Theories – Why Dogs Eat Grass

Ever since I can remember I have always been told, and believed, that dogs eat grass because they are not feeling well. They eat the grass essentially to help them throw-up. This is always pretty much been the Golden Rule in my head.

That being said, I have noticed Maui rarely vomits after eating grass. So is this truly the reason?

Theories about why dogs eat grass:

 

Psychological Issue

Some believe that dogs eat grass because there is a psychological issue at hand, such as anxiety.

When dogs get stressed or become anxious many often take to chewing to relieve that tension.

Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior around the time they are eating grass. You probably know your dog well enough to know if they seem irritated or anxious about something.

 

Natural Instinct

Another theory is that it is just a natural instinct for dogs to eat grass.

The ancestors of our domesticated dogs had to scavenge and hunt for their food. Wild canines would eat whatever they could find and catch. Dogs would eat entire prey – meat, bones, and organs. This means whatever was in the digestive system and stomach (could have easily been plants) was eaten by our dogs’ wild the ancestors.

This scavenging behavior of grazing on grass could just be a remnant from days long ago. Maybe it’s in the same category as why dogs today still love to find and rob themselves on stinky things they find outside.

 

 

Provides Missing Nutrients in Diet

terrier eating grassMany believe that a dog turns to eating grass as a way to try and acquire nutrients, vitamins, and/or minerals that are missing in their diet. Most commonly it is believed that dogs are trying to get extra fiber.

 

Improve Digestion

Some believe dogs eat grass to improve their digestion. This kind of goes along with the reason listed above in that grass can act as fiber and roughage. We all know what extra fiber and roughage can do …

If a dog is lacking fiber or roughage in their diet they may eat grass in an effort to build this dietary need to help stools pass easier.

 

Boredom

Dogs get bored. I think we probably all had an instance or two where we know what dogs can get into when they are bored. Some believe dogs eat grass just out of boredom; eating grass is just something to do.

 

To Get Attention

Another theory that may go hand-in-hand with the boredom theory is that dogs may do it to get attention.

If a dog is bored or just wants some attention and is not getting it, they may resort to behaviors they know will elicit any sort of attention. Pretty much like a toddler, sometimes for dogs, any attention is better than no attention.

A dog may resort to a behavior that they know will get your attention. In their mind, if this is eating grass, then so be it!

If you think your dog is eating grass out of boredom or just to get your attention, try to schedule some time in your day to focus just on them.

 

 

Because They Actually Like It

There are a lot of theories floating around about why dogs eat grass but it may just boil down to the fact that some dogs like it!

Some dogs just might enjoy the taste of grass, kind of like some of us enjoy the taste of a salad.

This just might be the case if your dog exhibits no signs of psychological issues or physical ailments.

 

Dog lying in grass eating grass

 

Should I be Worried That My Dog Eats Grass

I have wondered quite often myself if I should be worried that my dog eats grass. It is a question we have all probably wondered on occasion.

The general consensus is that eating grass is a normal behavior for dogs and it is not something to worry about.

That being said, there are always some situations in which eating grass could be a sign or symptom of a greater psychological or physical ailment.

Be sure to watch your dog’s behavior before and after they eat grass. Do they seem stressed or anxious? Are they not feeling well before or after? Do they seem happy and content?

If you feel your dogs’ behavior eating grass may be related to a more serious issue, contact your veterinarian. They are always happy to discuss your dog’s health and well guide you in what they believe the best course of action would be.

 

When to Not Let Your Dog Eat Grass

Potential Chemicals

him him him You want to know where that grass came from! Actually, it is not the grass that you should worry about but the potential chemicals that might be on it.

Be sure your dog is not eating grass that has been chemically treated. This includes any sort of fertilizer, weed killer, bug deterrent, insect killer, etc.

I do not mind that Maui eats grass but I make sure she only eats grass in our personal yard. I know if my grass has been sprayed or chemically treated. This would not be the case if I let her eat grass anywhere else including on a walk, at the park, etc.

It is best to not let your dog eat grass in any public places because you do not know what might be on it.

 

Poisonous Plants

You also want to be sure that there are no poisonous plants where your dog may be grazing. We don’t have to worry about that here by our house, but your situation may be different. Be sure you know what’s growing where you let your dog eat grass and be sure nothing poisonous may be mixed in growing with those grasses.

 

Surprise!

Researching this article it was a relief and surprise to find out that dogs do not eat grass just to make themselves throw up.

Maui generally seems happy and content with life when she is outside nibbling on the tall weeds next to our house. Most of the time her grass eating does not result in vomiting so I think I am the proud pet parent of a dog that likes to show off her omnivorous nature (eats meat and plants).

 

Graze on my friends, graze on!

Lynne and Maui

Does your dog eat grass?

Do you mind?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

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10 thoughts on “My dog is eating grass. Find out why.”

  • My friend also suggested that it can be the natural instinct. So I guess it will be hard to change right? And after reading that I should not worry I will not stop my dog to eat grass and see how it goes.

    • Hi Furkan, Many dogs do eat grass just because it is natural and perhaps because they like it. There are times when it could be a sign or symptom of something else going on, so be sure to watch your dog’s behavior and make sure he doesn’t seem ill or anxious or anything like that. I am not a veterinarian so if you are worried about this behavior in your dog, take a minute and give your veterinarian a call. I’m sure they will be happy to talk about it with you.

  • I have always heard that dogs also chew on grass because it’s good for teeth too. I recall my mother saying that to me when I was young. Is this true or is there any truth to it?

    • Hi Garen, That is one I haven’t heard before! I did some searching around on the Internet and could find no scientific proof that eating grass helps clean a dog’s teeth. That being said, I could see that the rough nature of some grasses could help scrape away at stuff on the teeth a little bit. I can’t imagine that grass is rough enough though to clean the teeth enough to make a significant difference. I guess this might fall in the same category as my being told dogs eat grass because they are sick and want to throw up. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

  • I have two dogs and I also watch dogs. So I generally have mine and an additional one with me most days. My dogs do not eat grass, but there are a couple I watch that always eat grass when they are here. They never do vomit or get sick. I think they just enjoy it. I do stop them though, because I never know what is on/in the grass. I would prefer they eat their food and treats over grass!

    • Hi, I guess it’s kind of like …. Some of us like salads and some of us don’t! Some dogs like grass and some just don’t. Yes, it’s best to not let them eat it if you’re just not sure what might be on it and there is definitely more nutrition in other things rather than grass 🙂

  • Dogs eating grass? That’s a first! This was an interesting post, but they are omnivores though so them eating grass doesn’t come as a huge surprise! Thanks for the post.

    • Hi Evan, although their intestinal length suggests they are technically omnivores there is actually a lot of debate about whether dogs are omnivores or carnivores. Personally, I go with the omnivore side as well! Thanks for stopping by and come back again 🙂

  • I have often wondered why dogs eat grass. Who knew that there were so many possible reasons why they do. I had a dog once as a young boy who actually likes to eat dirt. I was told that they did that to get the vitamins and minerals missing in there diet as well. Great article!

    • Hi Steven, I bet those same reasons apply to a lot of things that dogs do just because we don’t really understand why they do it! Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again!

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