Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Have you ever taken your dog for a walk or just been out in the backyard and noticed they start eating grass? As pet parents, this can be concerning and make us wonder what they’re doing. Rest assured, this is a common behavior for dogs though it can mean something more.

Why Dogs Eat Grass

There are several reasons why dogs might eat grass. Some possible explanations why your dog might be eating grass include:

Boredom

If your dog is in a fenced area and left alone outside, it could be that they are just eating grass out of boredom. You may want to consider getting another pet for your dog to interact with or going on more frequent walks to entertain them.

Diet Deficiency

Some dogs may eat grass as a result of a deficiency in their diet. A lack of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, or fiber can lead to grass-eating. There have been studies that have shown that dogs with a lack of fiber tend to eat more grass. 

This particular study, published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, studied a miniature poodle that ate grass on his walk every day for seven years. After consultation with the veterinarians, the dog’s diet was changed to a high-fiber diet. After three days, the dog stopped eating grass.

Instinct

If a dog’s diet is well balanced, the grass-eating habit may have another explanation. Over time, dogs’ digestive systems have evolved to fit the lifestyle of being domesticated.

Dogs in the wild would eat entire animals and get the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients from the animal that they ate. Many times the animals that they ate were herbivores. Because of this, some dogs could naturally crave grass or plants as part of their genetic makeup.

Antacid

You may have noticed that your dog often vomits after eating grass. In some cases, dogs with empty stomachs can experience antacids and will eat grass to induce vomiting and remove the acidic feeling that is causing the upset stomach. 

Should I Make My Dog Stop Eating Grass

Most experts and veterinarians agree that eating grass is generally not harmful to dogs. There are a few things you’ll want to watch out for though.

  • If the grass that they eat is treated with pesticides or herbicides, that would pose a risk.
  • There are plants that may be in your yard or neighborhood that are toxic to dogs. Check out the Animal Poison Control Center’s list of non-toxic and toxic plants.

Accompanying them on their time outside will also allow you to correct the behavior as it happens and avoid these potential risks.

It may be worth trying a new high-quality diet or giving your dog more exercise if you think this is a real issue. We also suggest speaking with your veterinarian if you are concerned your dog may have a vitamin or nutrient deficiency.

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