Is your dog eating grass? Well, you’re not alone! Many dog owners are curious and have asked veterinarians why their dogs chew on grass occasionally.
Dogs are carnivores and only need a small amount of vegetation to supplement their diet, so how does grass affect them?
In this article, we’ll explain why it might be happening and how to curb it.
Why is the Dog Eating Grass?
Canines grazing on grass is considered a normal behavior and usually doesn’t raise a red flag. However, if this happens frequently, along with other symptoms like vomiting, there could be an underlying health concern.
Let’s look at the different causes behind your dog’s grass-eating habit and at what point you should get a vet involved.
Your Dog Needs the Extra Nutrients
When canines consume non-food items, like grass, it is due to a nutritional deficiency. This condition is called Pica. Your dog may be chewing on the grass to obtain the nutrients lacking from its diet. Grass can be a great source of fiber for your dog, so your puppy feels compelled to eat it, especially if it has digestive tract issues.
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There is no direct link between grass and a pup’s tummy troubles. Readily gobbling grass and then vomiting it out is common among canines. However, grass is a great source of roughage, so eating it can be beneficial for your pup!
If your dog is consuming grass more frequently, try feeding it a fiber-rich diet. Signs that your dog’s meal lacks fiber include:
- Loose stools
- Constant hunger
- Blocked anal glands
- Feeling Lethargic
Eating grass frequently, vomiting, and discomfort indicate more grave health issues like gastric reflux, inflammatory bowel disease, or pancreatitis.
Get your dog examined by a vet to rule out the possibility of these diseases.
Your Pup is Bored
If you find your dog appearing restless and grazing the grass, there is a high chance that your dog is just bored. Look for other signs of boredom like digging, barking, and destructive behavior.
Remember, a bored dog is an unhappy dog. Provide plenty of opportunities for physical activity and mental stimulation. You can do this by letting your dog play outside, offering interactive chew toys, and spending quality time with your pup!
It Needs to Relieve Bile Buildup
Here’s the thing: grass acts as an antacid for your dog. If your puppy is found munching on grass first thing in the morning and then releasing bile in the form of yellow foam, it is due to an empty stomach. Eating grass and then vomiting bile helps relieve stomach pain.
You can contact your vet for a suitable course of action. Another way to cure this is to feed your dog a small portion of its meal in the morning to help with the discomfort.
Your Dog Just Likes the Taste
Every dog loves treats, and the grass is no short of a tasty treat for some! There is no concrete answer to why your dog would find this enjoyable, but it is believed that the texture of the grass makes it more palatable for your pup. If your pet is consuming grass once in a while without any worrisome symptoms, it is likely because your canine enjoys the taste of grass.
Your Dog Feels Anxious
An anxious dog may also indulge in the behavior of eating grass. For example, if your dog is prone to anxiety, especially around strangers, you might find your canine munching on grass in the presence of a new person.
Other signs of anxiety include excessive barking, restlessness, drooling, and aggressive behavior.
Speak to a vet regarding your pet’s anxiety.
Download the PetMyPal app to chat with a licensed vet from the comfort of your home. This is perfect for non-emergency cases; you can get personalized advice tailored to your pet’s needs.
It’s Instinctual for Your Dog
If you’ve ruled out all other symptoms, eating grass could be instinctual.
Before domestication, dogs in the wild relied on hunting to fulfill their nutritional requirements. They would ingest their prey completely, including the plant content in the prey’s stomach. This gave the dogs the essential fiber needed to digest their food.
Now even after domestication, this instinct may kick in from time to time, causing your canine to eat grass. This behavior is natural and poses no risks to your beloved pet. However, a high grass intake can be a pickle as it may lead to health issues.
Let’s explore those health concerns further below.
Health Concerns to Look Out For
Grass is generally a harmless, tasty snack for your puppy, but consuming too much can be problematic. The different issues that may arise with the ingestion of grass include:
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures occur due to toxic herbicides and pesticides sprayed on the grass. Do not use these chemicals, as they can be fatal and limit your dog’s access to sprayed areas.
- Intestinal parasites like hookworms and roundworms, which are life-threatening for young canines. Symptoms include diarrhea, blood in stool, and weight loss.
Immediately visit your vet if you observe any of these symptoms in your dog. Below are a few tips to help keep your dog from eating too much grass.
How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Grass?
- Feed your dog a nutritional, balanced diet. You can ask your vet for recommendations.
- Train your dog the “leave” command so that it can stop eating grass when you instruct it to.
- Keep treats with you to redirect your dog’s attention. When your pup tries to nibble on the grass, use a verbal command to stop your pet. Then offer a treat and stroke its head.
- Give your dog a chew toy when playing in your garden to keep it occupied.
Grazing poses no danger to your puppy and is a common canine behavior. However, the different reasons behind this act range from harmless habits born out of boredom or anxiety to more serious underlying problems. Consulting with your vet is the best way to keep your dog safe and make sure there is no cause to worry.