Does your dog chew grass while you’re out walking? Are you wondering if this is a normal and safe dog behavior or something you need to put a stop to?
Eating grass is a very common habit, and normal behavior for dogs, in fact around two-thirds of dogs will eat grass or plants at some point. But if your dog becomes ill after eating grass, you should consult a vet.
Your dog will come to no major harm after eating grass. This article explores the many reasons why dogs eat grass, explains whether grass-eating by dogs is a problem or not, and sets out what you can do if you’re concerned that your dog’s grass-eating habit is becoming excessive or obsessive.
Table of Contents
- The Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
- Is Grass Eating By Dogs A Bad Thing?
- How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Grass
- Deterrent Tactics
The Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs are omnivorous animals that in the wild would naturally eat both meat and vegetable matter. Eating grass is a common and natural behavior for dogs. OK, but like me, I guess you want to know why – this is one of those occasions where you really wish your dog could talk and tell you why!
There are many reasons why dogs may eat grass, and the reason your dog is eating grass may not be the same reason your friend’s dog is doing the same. The reasons include:
- They might like the taste and texture of grass. If you think about it, wet, spring grass is quite sweet and tasty. Eating grass seems to be more common in the spring and summer months, so this would make sense.
- They might be bored, and eating grass is similar to chewing a toy.
- Just like humans, dogs may get natural and instinctive cravings for food items containing nutrients and vitamins they are deficient in. Or, it may be a way for your dog to get sufficient fiber to help with the efficient functioning of their digestive system.
- Eating grass may be a way for your dog to flush out intestinal parasites. As the grass wraps itself around the parasites, this helps to remove them as your dog passes the grass.
- Intentional vomiting to release uncomfortable bile in the stomach. It’s quite common for dogs to throw up a yellow foamy liquid if they have an empty stomach. The bile in the stomach can be quite uncomfortable for dogs and they may eat grass to help them expel the bile – longer blades of grass in the dog’s throat can trigger a gag reflex and vomiting. You may have seen those small foamy pools of bile with grass mixed in while out on your walks
Is Grass Eating By Dogs A Bad Thing?
Eating grass is normal behavior for dogs, and for an otherwise healthy dog that is wormed regularly, eating grass every now and again is not something to worry too much about.
However, there are a few risks that you should be aware of:
- Grass that has been treated with toxic pesticides or fertilizers.
- Slugs or snails moving over the grass could infect your dog with lungworm.
- Intestinal parasites such as roundworms or hookworms from animal droppings in the grass could infect your dog.
If your dog is eating grass excessively, is regularly sick, eats grass but not their food, or is showing signs of other health issues, particularly digestive tract problems, then you should consult a vet immediately.
How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Grass
You don’t really need to stop your dog from eating grass unless it becomes excessive or obsessive in nature, and your dog is regularly wormed.
Eating grass too regularly could be a sign of a health issue that you may need to consult a vet about. But you may also want to think about these issues first:
- Is your dog being fed a nutritious and well-balanced diet that contains some vegetables? If not, try introducing new healthy items into your dog’s diet – your vet can advise on a diet plan appropriate for your dog’s breed, activity level, and age.
- Is your dog lacking in fiber? If your dog strains when pooping and/or their stools are particularly hard, this may be the case. Adding vegetables, or fiber supplements to your dog’s food can help.
- Is your dog bored and lacking mental stimulation? You could try puzzle or treat toys, or other chew toys to get the grey matter working. Or try simple training exercises, or games, such as tug and fetch, and make sure your dog gets plenty of varied walks.
- Feed your dog before your morning walk. The overnight bile build-up in your dog’s stomach can then get to work on the food rather than cause discomfort for your dog.
My pup eats a good diet. He loves to eat raw carrots and broccoli stems and I sometimes mix in some sweet green peas with his meals. He also has lots of chew toys and we go out on regular and varied walks. But still, he eats grass!
I just have to assume that he just likes the taste of it – I’ve noticed that he has been eating more grass since the fresh new grass started appearing at the beginning of Spring.
Another option to consider is to grow your dog its own grass. Easy-to-grow wheatgrass is a good and safe option for dogs. And, if you grow it at home, you’ll have the extra benefit of knowing that the risk of infection from parasites in the grass is less compared to the wild grass out on your walks.
If none of the above suggestions work, and you want to stop this or reduce it, you may need to employ more deterrent-type tactics. But at this point it might be wise to talk to a vet first:
- Apply the “leave” command that you have probably used when out with your pup and they seem interested in something unpleasant!
- Consider a specially-formulated deterrent spray for dogs on your home plants and lawn that will help your dog understand what plants, and what garden areas are no-chew zones.
If your dog eats grass occasionally, in most cases, this is not something to worry about. In fact, it could be considered normal and understandable behavior.
There are many potential reasons why your dog may eat grass, and it’s worth trying to work out why your dog might be doing this. There are quite a few tactics you can employ to discourage your dog’s grass-eating habit if this is something that worries you.
There are some risks to your dog’s health if they eat grass, so make sure your dog is regularly wormed, and look out for any signs of illness, particularly diarrhea, that need the attention of a vet. But note that occasional vomiting of bile mixed with grass strands, after eating grass is quite common.