There are many reasons why dog owners believe their dogs eat grass.
One of the most common reasons believed is that they eat grass to induce vomiting when they are not well.
Another common belief is that dogs eat grass when they are lacking nutrients such as fibre as grass is largely freely available, it’s an easy quick fix for dogs.
Seeing your dog regularly eat grass could pose many unanswered questions so let’s find out what those answers could be and what you could do about this behaviour.
1. Does my dog eat grass because they are unwell?
Many dog owners have observed their dogs eating grass only then to vomit it up moments later increasing the belief that this is a dog’s way of self-medicating an upset stomach.
This has not been scientifically proven and in one study it was shown that less than 25% of dogs actually vomit after eating grass. Therefore, dogs are more likely to eat grass because they enjoy the taste and texture of it, especially in the morning during Summer months when the grass has higher stores of sugar due to photosynthesis.
2. Does my dog eat grass to get rid of worms?
Some vets actually believe this is another reason why dogs resort to eating grass. Again, although not scientifically proven, it’s believed they eat grass to purge any worms they may have. Nevertheless, to avoid the growth of intestinal parasites, ensure your dog receive a regular worm treatment.
3. Does my dog eat grass because they lack fibre?
Another common belief is that dogs eat grass because they are lacking a vital nutrient such as fibre. Some vets do advise putting a dog on a fibre rich diet if excessive grass eating is observed. If you think this might be the case with your dog, seek the advice of your vet.
4. Does my dog eat grass out of boredom?
Some believe this to be the case with some dogs that they resort to eating grass because they are not getting enough outdoor stimulus. Introduce throw and catch games and hide and find games with your dog to keep them stimulated.
5. Does my dog eat grass because it’s their natural instinctive behaviour?
It is widely agreed that before dogs were domesticated they would have ingested grass as a natural part of their diet due to consuming small animals such as rodents and birds.
Should I be worried about my dog eating grass?
If this is not a normal behaviour, then in short yes. Observe whether they are excessively gulping down the grass as opposed to grazing. If this is a change in behaviour seek advice from your vet.
Also, consider the type of grass your dog regularly eats and has access to. Is it sprayed with pesticides? If so be wary as pesticides such as glyphosate (a pesticide commonly used in weed killer) which can be toxic to dogs and lead to lethargy, vomiting and diarrhoea.
What can I do to stop my dog from eating grass?
You could try to distract your dog from this behaviour using the Leave Command technique.
You also try a more enriched fibre diet and observe if there is a reduction in this behaviour.
Alternatively, if your dog is happy and in good health, then there’s no real cause for concern. Instead you could ensure the type of grass they are eating is at least safe for them by making a grazing patch in your garden or grow special pet grass, using non-pesticide grass.
Suggested further reading: A study published in 2008 on this subject
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