Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Most dog owners have seen their dog eat grass or heard the advice that it’s because their dog is unwell, hungry or bored, but it’s actually a very normal behaviour. We explain why dogs eat grass below:  

Instinctive behavior

The other type of grass eating is thought to be more of an instinctive behaviour. This is thought to be a deliberate attempt to induce vomiting after they’ve swallowed something that makes them feel ill. It is possible your dog is suffering from an upset stomach, and their instinct is to throw up as a form of relief.

Dogs that eat to make themselves vomit usually swallow grass as quickly as possible, barely even chewing it. It is believed that the long, unchewed pieces of grass tickle their throats to stimulate vomiting.

Safe to eat?

With all grass-eating behaviour, it’s important to keep a careful eye on the sort of grass your dog is eating. Don’t let them eat anything that has been treated with pesticides or fertiliser. Double check your lawn care products to ensure whether or not they’re safe for pets.

How can I get my dog to stop eating grass?

If your dog’s grass eating is starting to concern you, there are some things you can try to help curb the habit. As previously mentioned, your dog may have a nutritional deficiency that is causing their upset stomach, so making adjustments to their food or eating habits can make an impact on your pet’s behaviour over time. Make sure to ask your vet what would be a good food to feed to ensure you do not make their digestion problems worse. Please note that you should transition your pet’s food gradually over time.

How do I know if my dog needs to go to the vet?

If your dog eats grass then vomits and seems fine, they’ve probably taken care of whatever was bothering them. If they keep eating grass and vomiting, you should take them to see the vet. If you’re ever concerned that this might not be a normal behaviour, it is best to consult your vet immediately.

Typically, the occasional grass grazing isn’t a cause for concern, but if your dog compulsively ingests foreign objects on a regular basis, you may want to see if they have pica. Pica is a medical condition in dogs that leads them to crave or eat items that are not typically thought of as food. Cloth, dirt, paper, garbage and faeces are all things that dogs with pica may be drawn to, and if left unchecked can lead to nutritional and digestive issues.

Overall, grass eating shouldn’t be a major cause for concern, but there are things you can do to make it less of an issue for your pet (as well as the lawn). If you ever feel like the habit is becoming a concern, contact your vet for a professional recommendation.

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