Why do dogs eat grass?
If you’re outside and you notice your dog eating grass it can definitely be a confusing sight. You know your hound isn’t a horse, so why would your dog eat grass? Are they feeling sick? Are they hungry? Are they just being weird? Will it make them sick? It’s normal to have questions when your dog does strange things like eating grass, but eating grass is actually quite common.
Why is my dog eating grass?
When dogs eat non-food things it’s called Pica. Pica is often caused by a nutritional or dietary deficiency, meaning your dog is eating strange things to try to obtain the vitamins or minerals they may be missing from their diet. However, nutritional deficiency isn’t the only reason dog’s eat grass.
Dogs will sometimes eat grass if they experience bowel issues like loose stool and diarrhea, because grass contains fiber. Fiber helps make stool more firm, and so your dog may be compensating for the lack of fiber in their diet by eating grass.
Some dogs who eat grass may vomit afterwards. There are mixed opinions on whether dogs eat grass when they are not feeling well because it makes them throw up, or if eating grass is only associated with vomiting because the texture of the grass often causes dogs to vomit. The VCA reports that less than 25% of dogs vomit after eating grass and only about 10% of dogs showed signs of sickness prior to eating grass and vomiting. Chances are, dogs probably aren’t eating grass to purposefully make themselves throw up.
As omnivores, some dogs may eat grass just because they like the taste. In fact, there are several fruits and vegetables that are safe to give to dogs in small quantities. If your dog doesn’t get veggies in their diet, they may be snacking on grass to get that extra salad into their diet.
Your dog also may eat grass because they are bored and eating grass gives them something to do. If you make a big deal out of it when you see them eating grass, they may begin to do it just because they want attention. It may not necessarily be positive attention, but it is still attention.
Is it bad to let my dog eat grass?
As long as your dog doesn’t vomit every time they eat grass, it typically isn’t harmful for your dog to eat small amounts of grass. However, eating grass also puts your dog at risk of getting sick by ingesting things they shouldn’t like fertilizers or pesticides. Your dog could also accidentally ingest larvae or eggs and contract intestinal parasites. Consult with your veterinarian if you’re concerned your dog may have eaten something they shouldn’t have.
How do I get my dog to stop eating grass?
If you want to get your dog to stop eating grass, the best thing to do is start by switching their diet. Find a natural dog food that contains all of the nutrients your dog needs. Nature’s Advantage dog food is made with real meat (beef, chicken or turkey) and fresh fruits and veggies, so your dog will obtain all of the vegetation, vitamins and minerals they need, and they won’t have a reason to eat grass.
If even after changing your dog’s diet they are still eating grass, it may be time to offer your dog a trade off. When they begin to eat grass, offer them a yummy treat like Really Rabbit or Savor’n Salmon in exchange. If your dog is more into toys than treats, find one of their favorite toys and give them the toy to distract them from their grass munching. If treats and toys aren’t dissuading your dog from eating grass, it may be time to give them some extra attention. Snap a leash on your dog’s collar and take them for a walk around the block or choose one of our tips to maximize your indoor time with dogs. Giving your dog some positive attention will distract them and take their mind off of eating grass.