Does your dog eat a good meal and then immediately head outside and munch on some grass? Do they eat grass, vomit, and then keep eating grass? Our Rancho Cucamonga vets share some of the reasons dogs eat grass and when you should be concerned.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Concerned dog owners are often left scratching their heads when their dogs seem to love eating grass, maybe in excess. In fact, it isn't uncommon for dogs to eat grass, vomit, and then go right back to eating grass again.
This behavior can raise a number of question: Does my dog feel that there is something in their stomach that needs to be brought up? Have they eaten something poisonous? Is my dog self-treating some undiagnosed medical issue?
Some dogs do vomit after eating grass, but not all do. In fact, the majority of dogs that eat grass don't show symptoms of an upset stomach either before or after eating grass. This indicates that it's unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. So, why do they do it?
Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Just like people, dogs require fiber in their diets to have a healthy digestive system. Dogs are omnivores, after all. This means that good health relies on plant foods as well as high quality meat.
Eating grass may be an easy and seemingly enjoyable way for dogs to add greens to their diet, helping to keep things flowing through their gastrointestinal tract.
That said, if your dog eats grass but also shows signs of stomach discomfort, there may be a medical problem. Dogs can suffer from a number of GI issues including gastric reflux, 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 time to see your vet!
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Much like people who bite their nails, dogs will often eat grass due to boredom or anxiety. If your dog is not showing any symptoms of digestive issues but munches on grass all the time, consider psychological distress or under-stimulation for their behavior.
You could help counteract bored grass-eating by increasing the length or distance of walks.
For dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, 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 comforting, which could curb grass-eating.
If your dog is obsessively eating grass, it's time to see your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to advise you on how to help your dog reduce obsessive behaviors.
Is it safe for my dog to eat grass?
For dogs that are otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be safe.
To keep your grass grazing dog healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers on the grass your dog nibbles.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.