We are often asked why dogs eat grass, and whether it is safe. In this post, our Kinston vets share some reasons why your dog may eat grass and other symptoms that should prompt a call to your veterinarian.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
If your dog loves to eat grass, you're not alone. In fact, many pups we meet will eat grass, vomit, then go back to eating grass again directly after getting sick, which often leaves their owner scratching their head and understandably concerned. You may even find yourself typing, "Why my dog eats grass" into your favorite search engine in a bid to find answers.
Whether your dog is chowing on grass in your backyard or local park, you may suspect your pooch is feeling that there's something in their stomach that needs to be brought up, that they may be attempting to treat an undiagnosed medical condition or that they've eaten something toxic or poisonous.
While some dogs will vomit after eating grass, others will not. Most dogs can 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?
Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Similar to us, dogs need fiber in their diets to keep their digestive system running as it should. After all, our pups are omnivores and rely on both plants and high-quality meat to thrive. Eating grass may be a way for your dog to easily get more roughage in their diet to help regulate their digestive tract.
However, if your dog is eating grass but also showing signs of an upset stomach, a medical problem may be developing that will need diagnosis and treatment. Dogs can suffer from numerous stomach and gastrointestinal issues, including conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis.
If your dog is eating grass and displaying other symptoms such as lack of appetite, decreased energy, constipation or diarrhea, we recommend booking an examination with your Kinston vet.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs will often eat grass due to boredom or anxiety in much the same way that people will bite their nails. If your dog isn't displaying any symptoms of digestive issues but munches relentlessly on grass, consider psychological reasons for their behavior.
If your dog could simply be suffering from boredom, increasing the length, distance or intensity of walks could help to reduce grass eating.
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. Most of the time, this is not considered a veterinary medical emergency unless your dog is also exhibiting other symptoms such as severe vomiting or diarrhea (two or more episodes in 24 hours), or has consumed a toxic substance or foreign object that may have been in the grass.
To help keep your grass-nibbling pooch healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys, as they can be toxic or harmful to your pet's health.
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.