Our Springfield veterinarians are frequently asked by pet parents why their dog continues to eat grass and whether it is safe. Today, our veterinarians discuss why dogs eat grass and when you should be concerned.
Why Dogs Eat Grass
Concerned pet parents are often left scratching their heads wondering why their dogs seem to love eating grass. In fact, many dogs will eat grass, vomit, and then go right back to eating grass again.
Could this be an indication that the dog feels there is something in its stomach that needs to be brought up? Has the dog eaten something poisonous? Is the dog self-treating an undiagnosed medical condition?
Some dogs do vomit after eating grass, but this is not true for all dogs. The vast majority of dogs eat grass with no signs or symptoms of stomach upset. As a result, it appears unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. So why do they do it?
Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Like people, dogs need fiber to keep their digestive system running smoothly. 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.
However, if your dog is eating grass but also displaying signs of stomach upset, there could be a medical issue. Dogs can suffer from a variety of stomach and gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and exhibiting other symptoms such as a loss of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, you should take him to the vet for an examination.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs will frequently eat grass out of boredom or anxiety, in the same way, that humans will bite their nails. If your dog shows no signs of digestive problems but continues to munch 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 my dog to eat grass?
If your dog is otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe behavior.
To help keep your grass nibbling pooch healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys.
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.