If you have a dog then you know that they like to get out and nibble away on the grass every chance they get. Today, our Montecito vets share some of the common reasons why a dog eats grass and whether or not it is safe for them to ingest.
Why do dogs eat grass?
Grass eating can be a strange habit in the eyes of pet owners. It couldn't possibly taste great, could it? You may even witness your dog eating the grass, vomiting then going right back to grass eating.
You may be worried that this behavior could mean that they have eaten something that needs to be thrown up. You may begin to ask yourself many questions. Has the dog eaten something poisonous? Is the dog self-treating an undiagnosed medical condition?
It is important to keep in mind that not every dog will vomit after eating grass. The majority of dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. So it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Then why do they do it?
Grass Eating Could Be Caused By a Physical Ailment
One of the main reasons behind dogs eating grass is that they need more fiber in their diet. Fiber is necessary for the function of a healthy digestive system. After all, dogs are omnivores. This means that good health relies on plant foods as well as high-quality meat. Eating grass may be an easy way for your pooch to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things flowing through their digestive tract.
It can be a different story though if they are eating the grass and have visible signs of gastric upset. Dogs can suffer from a number of stomach and gastrointestinal issues including conditions such as pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and has other symptoms such as lack of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, it's a good idea to take your pup to the vet for an examination.
There May Be Psychological Reasons Behind Your Dogs Grass Eating
Did you know that grass-eating can also be a bad habit? If your dog isn't displaying any symptoms of digestive issues but munches relentlessly on grass, consider the psychological reasons for their behavior.
Boredom could be the main cause behind your dog's grass-eating. Luckily, this can be fixed by adjusting the length of their walks or planning for more interactive activities.
Separation anxiety could also be the reason that your dog is eating grass. Try leaving an old blanket or t-shirt with your scent on it with your dog when you leave the house. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring and help to curb their grass-eating habit.
Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet will be able to advise you on how to help your pup reduce obsessive behaviors.
Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?
If your dog is otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe behavior.
If you do allow your dog to eat the grass be sure to only do so on grass that you can confirm is clear of any pesticides or other potential toxins.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.