“Why do dogs eat grass?” As a vet, I get asked this question a lot.
Everyone can agree that all dog breeds are different, but there are certain behaviors that feel like it’s in every dog’s DNA like eating grass.
From a medical standpoint, dogs eat grass for lots of reasons, they might eat it to induce vomiting, get a nutrient that’s missing in their diet, or just to get your attention.
I’m going to assume that you’re reading this article because you are having some concerns, that’s why I will explain the reasons why do dogs eat grass, and whether you should be worried or not.
Let’s get into it.
Reasons Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
There are only theories and vet explanations for why do dogs eat grass as the research regarding this topic is limited. I’ll try to explain it my best, according to research studies and using my professional background as a vet, so let’s start.
#1. Relieve an Upset Stomach
The most common explanation for why do dogs eat grass is to relieve an upset stomach. Some dog parents witnessed their dogs eating grass, and after a short period of time, vomiting.
A study conducted at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine that 22% of dogs vomited after eating grass, however, only 9% of these dogs were sick or had some stomach and digestion issues.
So even though some dogs eat grass for relieving an upset stomach, this may not be true for other dogs.
#2. Compensate a Missing Nutrient
The main benefit dogs can get from eating grass is to get fiber, a nutrient that helps in digestion and promote regular stools.
Your dog might eat grass because his current diet might be deficient in fiber, and I recommend that you check his current formula to see if it has enough fiber content. If it’s not, then I would highly recommend that you consider switching to a formula that provides him dog with more fiber.
You can check the best dog food category to get a better insight into the best dog food for your dog.
I’ve mentioned before that some dogs eat grass and then vomit which helps relieve their upset stomach, well what if they don’t vomit afterward?
Dogs come from wolves, these creatures ate whatever animal they could hunt, including the grass in these animals’ stomachs, also, more than 30% of all modern wolves chew grass as part of their diet.
So, it’s no surprise that your dog might chew grass, if he’s not throwing it shortly afterward, his behavior might be an instinctual one.
#4. Get Rid of Parasites
Dogs can’t digest grass, their digestive system isn’t built for that. That’s why some researchers believe that dogs eat grass to get rid of any parasites that might be in their intestines as the undigested grass will wrap itself around the parasites and hold them all the way through the intestine.
#5. They Just Like it
Dogs can eat grass just because they like it, they like its taste and texture. You might recognize that your dog only eats grass when its fresh or in the spring
However, even though the grass isn’t harmful to dogs, it’s usually treated with chemicals that can be toxic to dogs, that’s why I always recommend that whenever you can, stop your dog from eating grass as it can be a doorway to lots of unnecessary headaches.
When Should You Be Worried?
In most cases, eating grass isn’t harmful to your dog, however, there are instances when you should be worried and seek veterinary help immediately.
For instance, if your dog is eating a lot of grass, is eating grass and not eating his food, or look sick then I would highly recommend that you consult a vet.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Grass?
To stop your dog from eating grass, you’ll need to know why he eats it in the first place, this solves half the problem, the other half is what you should do about it.
If your dog is eating grass to get fiber, or because of an upset stomach, then switching to a diet that touches on these specific needs will be enough.
However, if that’s not the case, you can always try the behavior modification as it’s been proven to help stop dogs from eating grass. Here is the simple version of how this work, when your dog starts eating grass, stop her and then reward her, keep doing this and after some period of time she will see no need in eating grass and stop it herself.
Also, I recommend that you consult a vet so that you get a better understanding and a better solution that will be specific to your dog’s situation.
Generally speaking, eating grass isn’t harmful to most dogs. However, stop your dog whenever you can as it can be harmful in other ways.
Even though you might think that your dog might be eating grass for one of the reasons I mentioned above, he might be eating it for whole other reasons, he might have a health condition, a specific need, or a reason why he’s eating it so please consult your vet to get a better understanding of this behavior.