You are not alone if you have ever observed your dog eating grass and found it strange. Our vets in Springfield get asked about this issue quite often, and they are here to share some common reasons why dogs eat grass and when to be concerned.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass
Many pet owners are puzzled by their dog's tendency to eat grass. In fact, many dogs will eat grass, vomit, and then return to eating grass again.
Leaving their owners wondering if their dogs are feeling unwell or trying to get rid of something unpleasant in their stomachs. Have they gotten into something poisonous? Could it be a sign of an undiagnosed medical condition?
Some dogs do, in fact, vomit after eating grass, but that's not the case for all dogs. Most dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset, so it is unlikely that they eat grass to induce vomiting. But why do they dot it?
Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs are omnivores and require the right amount of fiber in their diet to maintain proper digestion. Easting grass can be an easy way for your dog to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things moving through their digestive tract.
That said, if your dog is eating grass and showing signs of stomach upset, there may be a medical problem. 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.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Boredom and anxiety can play a role in your dog's grass-eating habit in the same way that people with anxiety bite their nails. If your dog doesn't show any signs of digestive issues but eats grass like there's no tomorrow, psychological reasons should be considered for the behavior.
If your dog is simply bored, increasing the length, distance, or intensity of walks could help reduce grass eating. Separation anxiety could also be a reason for grass eating. Consider 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 healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe behavior.
However, to keep your grass-eating pooch healthy, ensure that the grass your dog eats does not have any herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers.
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.