Have you ever wondered why dogs eat grass? Dogs, being descendants of wolves, are known for their scavenger behaviour, inherited from their ancestors. Therefore seeing your dog chewing on grass may not be so surprising. While it might appear harmless, many pet owners do wonder about the reasons behind this seemingly odd habit.
Attributing this behaviour solely to scavenger tendencies might be an oversimplification. There are many reasons why dogs why dogs eat grass.
As we explore the various motivations behind dogs consuming grass, we’ll also talk about the dangers of dogs eating grass and provide practical insights into what you can do to prevent or minimise this behaviour in your dogs.
Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs may instinctively eat grass to induce vomiting. This behaviour could be a response to an upset stomach or an attempt to expel something they’ve ingested that doesn’t agree with them. If your dog is frequently eating grass and vomiting, it’s essential to monitor their overall health and diet.
DIGEST is formulated by a pet naturopath and includes all-natural, human-grade ingredients that promote optimal digestion, and a healthy gut microbiome, which are essential for a strong gastrointestinal system.
Read more about Gastrointestinal Problems in Dogs: Symptoms and Management
If a dog lacks certain nutrients in their diet, they may seek alternative sources, including grass.
Work with a pet nutritionist for a meal plan designed for your dog’s unique requirements. Adjustments to their diet, such as adding supplements like PetWell’s DIGEST or switching to a different food formula, may be recommended.
As mentioned above, dogs are descendants of wolves, and their ancestors in the wild would consume plant matter as part of their diet. While domesticated dogs no longer rely on this behaviour for survival, the instinct to eat grass can persist.
Providing a well-balanced diet and observing other potential reasons for grass consumption can help distinguish instinctual behaviour from other causes. Read more about Creating a Balanced Diet for Your Dog
Always consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s health or if they exhibit any unusual symptoms after eating grass.
Boredom or Anxiety
Dogs can develop habits to alleviate boredom or anxiety. If your dog eats grass out of boredom, consider increasing their physical and mental stimulation.
Dogs need both physical and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Regular exercise, interactive toys, and positive reinforcement training can help curb boredom and anxiety. Thus reducing the likelihood of your dog resorting to grass consumption as a coping mechanism.
If your dog experiences anxiety, consider using PetWell CALM Anxiety Aid supplements and LAMB + CALM functional treats. These products contain all-natural ingredients, including L-tryptophan and L-theanine, which are known for their stress-relieving properties. CALM offers a perfect solution for anxious pets.
Read more about Understanding Common Dog Behavioural Issues
Taste and Texture
Some dogs enjoy the taste and texture of grass. It might be akin to a human snacking on something crunchy or flavourful. While occasional grass consumption for pleasure might not be harmful, it’s essential to ensure it doesn’t escalate into a habit that could lead to digestive issues.
Pet-safe deterrent sprays can be applied to grass to discourage dogs from eating it. These sprays often have a taste or scent that dogs find unappealing.
Risks Associated with Dogs Eating Grass
There are certain risks associated with dogs consuming grass. Here are some potential dangers:
Grass in lawns and public areas may be treated with pesticides, herbicides, or fertilisers. If a dog ingests grass that has been recently treated with these chemicals, it can lead to poisoning. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, and, in severe cases, seizures.
It’s crucial to keep an eye on your dog and avoid letting them graze in areas treated with harmful substances.
Some plants can be toxic to dogs. If your dog consumes grass along with these plants, it could lead to adverse reactions.
Familiarise yourself with the plants in your environment and remove any that are toxic to dogs. Read more about 10 Poisonous Plants for Pets
Dogs that eat grass in areas where other dogs have defecated may be at risk of ingesting bacteria or parasites present in the faeces.
This can lead to serious gastrointestinal issues and the potential transmission of diseases. Ensure your dog’s environment is clean and consider avoiding areas where other dogs frequently relieve themselves.
Choking and Obstruction
While grass itself is not likely to cause choking or obstruction in most cases, if a dog consumes large quantities or bites off long blades, there’s a risk of throat irritation, choking, or intestinal blockage. Monitor your dog’s grass-eating habits and seek veterinary attention if you notice any signs of distress.
A holistic approach that includes a balanced diet, ample exercise, mental stimulation, and regular veterinary care can help address the various reasons why dogs eat grass. Observing your dog’s behaviour and adjusting as needed will contribute to their overall well-being and happiness.
The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. PetWell encourages you to make your own pet healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified pet healthcare professional.