Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Have you noticed your dogs eating grass lately? Eating grass is a fairly common behavior for dogs, but the truth is that no one knows exactly why dogs eat grass. However, there are some pretty strong hypotheses out there about what causes this strange behavior.

Top Four Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Here are four well-accepted explanations for why you may see dogs and puppies eating grass.

Natural Instinct

As we domesticated dogs, we changed their eating habits and their diets. The food that we feed our dogs today is pretty different from what they would eat in the wild. Dogs are actually omnivores and scavengers, meaning that they are willing to eat all sorts of different foods.

It’s possible that dogs eating grass are just following their natural instinct to scavenge. Wild dogs today will eat vegetation including fruits and grass, so our domesticated dogs may eat grass to satisfy the same natural instinct.

Stomach Upset

Dogs may have an alternative motive to eating grass: Soothing an upset stomach. The grass is tickly, and it can make a dog throw up. Dogs who eat grass may be attempting to relieve an upset or gassy stomach. While the end result isn’t at all fun for us to clean up, it’s possible that our dogs know what their bodies need and are eating grass as a way to make themselves feel better.

Anxiety

Grass eating in dogs can be a sign of anxiety. This behavior can be compulsive, and if a dog gets worked up or upset, he may turn to eating grass to help soothe his nerves. If you notice that your dog is highly anxious or upset when he eats grass, it is likely that anxiety is at the root of his grass eating, rather than one of the other possible causes.

If you suspect that your dog is eating grass because of anxiety, there are a number of ways that you can help to treat the anxiety. Consult with your vet about holistic treatments that may help your dog. It may take some time to pinpoint the source of your dog’s anxiety, but taking the time to get to the root of the issue can allow you to better help your dog.

Enjoyment

It’s also possible that some dogs just like grass. Dogs may like the taste or texture of grass. Even if grass may make dogs vomit, it’s possible that dogs enjoy eating it so much that the end effect isn’t enough to convince them to stop. Some dogs may just see grass as a special, delicious treat.

The Best Grass for Dogs to Eat

Now that we’ve established that it’s pretty common for dogs to eat grass, let’s talk about how to keep your dog safe when he decides to chow down on the lawn. The best grass for dogs to eat is grass that has not been treated with chemicals or pesticides. Never let your dog eat grass when you’re out at the park or in an unfamiliar place since you don’t know how the grass has been maintained.

You may want to create a safe patch of grass just for your dog to eat. Maybe you want to grow a tray of grass within your home, or in your yard so that you know your dog isn’t at risk of ingesting pesticides or other chemicals.

Keep an eye on your dog when he eats grass. This is particularly true for puppies eating grass, since ingesting too much grass or pieces of grass that are too large may cause an intestinal blockage in a puppy.

Grass eating is one of those behaviors that we don’t yet fully understand. If you’re struggling with grass eating in your dog, then our Behavior Consulting or Nutritional Consulting services may be just right for you.

 

References Noted:

http://www.akc.org/content/entertainment/articles/why-does-my-dog-eat-grass/

http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/vet-s-take-why-dogs-eat-grass/297

https://www.caninejournal.com/why-dogs-eat-grass/