Some dogs seem to just love to eat grass. For some of them, this is true even if they’ve just had a nice filling meal.
And you’ll find some dogs will munch on any old grass. Others will be more picky about which grass they eat. And some dogs will vomit soon after eating grass while others will be fine.
This odd behavior might lead you to ask a couple of questions. First, why does my dog eat grass? And second, is it ok or is it harmful?
What are the reasons behind grass eating?
The truth is that we don’t know exactly why some dogs eat grass. There are a lot of theories about why though. And it’s likely the case there are different reasons why different dogs eat grass.
Here’s some of the theories about why dogs eat grass:
They like the taste of grass
If you’re a dog owner, you’ve more than likely noticed your dog will eat almost anything you give it a chance to. Dogs are scavengers and it’s in their nature to get food wherever they can find it.
So maybe your dog just loves the taste of grass. Or they may even just like the texture and feel of it.
They’re short of fiber
One theory is that dogs eat grass because they’re making up a shortfall in their dietary needs. This is usually a shortage of fiber.
Some dogs stop eating grass once they’re switched to a high fiber food. This would seem to back up this theory.
They have an upset stomach or other illness
Another theory is dogs eat grass because they have some sort of stomach trouble or some other illness.
This is because some dogs vomit after eating grass. The idea is that they eat the grass to make themselves vomit then they feel better afterwards.
Only a small fraction of dogs throw up after eating grass though (less than 25%). And in a study only 8% of dog owners said their dog was ill before eating the grass.
It’s worth noting that stomach problems can be a sign of more serious issues. So it’s as well to consult your vet in such cases.
Some experts think boredom could be a cause of grass eating. Sure, your dog’s got the whole of your yard to themselves. But have they got anything to occupy them there?
Are you making sure they’re getting plenty of exercise and attention? Are you regularly playing games with them?
Do you notice your dog eats grass more at times you don’t walk them as much? If so, boredom may be the reason for your dog’s behavior.
It reminds them of prey
Another idea is that dogs eat grass because it reminds them of the taste of prey.
A wild dog’s prey consists mainly of herbivores, and often the prey will have undigested plant matter in their stomach.
So the theory goes that the dog eats grass because the taste is reminiscent of their natural prey.
To clear their intestines of parasites
Yet another suggestion is that dogs may eat grass or other plants to make themselves go to the loo, and so clear their intestines of parasites. S
ome experts have suggested this behavior may be inherited from their wild ancestors.
Is eating grass bad for dogs?
Grass doesn’t give dogs much in the way of nutritional value. That said, it doesn’t do them any harm either.
That’s assuming you don’t use any nasty pesticides or fertilizers on your grass. If you do, you shouldn’t let your dog eat the grass. It’s a good idea to use non-toxic products on your grass if you own a dog, anyway.
So in summary, most experts don’t consider eating grass to be bad for dogs.
How can I stop my dog eating grass?
If you do want to stop your dog eating grass, the best way will depend on their reasons for eating it.
If they’re eating it for nutritional reasons, you can try switching your dog to a dog food that’s high in fiber. You should talk to your vet before doing this though.
If your dog’s vomiting after eating the grass, they may have a stomach problem. In such cases, you should consult your vet.
If your dog is just eating the grass through boredom, the solution is simple. Make sure they get plenty of exercise. Take them for walks and play with them. You can also give them alternatives to chew on instead.