Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? The Answers To All Your Questions!
Have you ever let your dog outside to relieve themselves, only to turn around and see them eating grass? While it might make you anxious about the mess they’ll make later, this behavior doesn’t always cause alarm. So why do dogs eat grass, and how can you tell when it’s an issue?
Dogs require carbohydrates in their eating regimens, and grass is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Therefore, by consuming grass, their body functions run more smoothly. Dogs eat grass for several reasons, including instinctual behavior, antacids cravings, boredom, starvation, or as a tasty treat. It could also be due to pica (nibbling on non-food items out of boredom or frustration) or lacking certain nutrients in their diet.
In this article, I’ll explore some of the reasons your pup might be chewing on grass, how you can tell if it’s something to worry about and how to teach and treat this peculiar habit. So, keep reading to learn!
You can also find out why dogs roll in grass here.
7 Reasons Why Your Dog Eats Grass
Some of the most common reasons dogs eat grass are:
1. Nutrients Deficiency
Some dog owners mistakenly think that their pup eating grass is due to pica (eating strange, nonfood items), which can be caused by diet deficiencies. Often, these dietary problems come from not getting enough vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients on a daily basis.
If your dog is properly fed and showing normal dog behavior, there’s no need to worry about them eating grass. If it’s a common occurrence, talk to your vet about changing their food brand.
2. Need for Fiber
If your dog is eating grass more often than usual, especially right after they finish a meal, it’s possible that they need more fiber in their diet. This could be due to digestion issues.
Try switching to high-fiber foods that include sources of the nutrients they need. This change could put an end to grass-eating behavior. You might also want to think about the best fresh dog food brands which are all formulated by a dog nutritionist.
3. Natural Instincts
It’s also possible that your pup is simply eating grass as a way to satisfy its natural instincts. A dog’s diet is only complete and balanced if all of the recommended nutrients are accounted for. If a dog eats grass, it might not be because they’re missing something in their diet. It could just be an instinctual behavior since dogs’ digestive systems have evolved to fit the lifestyle of domesticated dogs.
Canines in the wild today may not get their key nutrients from grass, but eating an entire animal provides them with a well-rounded diet. Maybe they crave grass due to genetics that date back to when they had to hunt for their own food.
4. To Get Rid of Parasites
Eating grass can also help to rid a dog’s body of parasites, such as fleas and worms. If your pup has been playing around in the dirt or eating raw meat, there’s always a chance that they could have picked up an unwanted parasite. Eating grass can help them purge their system and get rid of any unwelcome guests.
5. Tasty Treat
Most dogs enjoy the taste and texture of fragrant, wet grass in their mouth for various reasons. Maybe it’s because new grass is emerging during springtime or your dog is thirsty. In any case, always keep a bowl of fresh water outside to prevent dehydration. Weirdly, this is often the reason why dogs eat cat poop too!
Eating grass helps dogs to release bile and feel better when their stomachs are empty. Bile is a yellow foam that’s usually caused by an empty stomach telling the small intestines to produce enzymes for digestion. But if there is no food present, the enzymes will irritate the stomach lining and cause discomfort.
If your dog is eating grass excessively, it’s possible that they are doing so to help them release the bile and alleviate any stomach discomfort.
7. Out of Boredom
A bored dog is a destructive one and eating grass can be a sign of it. Dogs with not enough mental stimulation or physical activity may turn to destructive behaviors like eating grass, digging holes, or chewing on furniture.
Keeping your pup busy and engaged is key to preventing boredom and potential bad behavior. Find activities that your dog enjoys, and make sure to spend quality time playing with them every day.
A good combination of positive reinforcement training, an exercise regime, and quality time spent together is the best way to keep your pup from acting out. Try getting them an indestructible dog toy to keep them entertained for hours.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass When Sick?
Most dogs eat grass when they’re feeling unwell. In some cases, this is because of an upset stomach from eating something that doesn’t agree with them. Eating grass can help soothe their digestive tract and make them feel better.
In other cases, dogs eat grass because of a nutritional deficiency. If your pup isn’t getting the vitamins and minerals they need from their food, they may start to seek out alternative sources of nutrition—like grass!
It’s important to note that eating grass doesn’t always mean something is wrong. Dogs may just be curious about the taste or texture, or even just bored. If your dog eats grass regularly and doesn’t seem unwell, it’s likely nothing to worry about.
Is Eating Grass Bad for Dogs?
Eating grass in and of itself isn’t bad for dogs, although it may not be a healthy habit. But sometimes even normal behaviors can be harmful if they’re done too frequently or excessively.
For example, grass eating can be dangerous if your dog is consuming grass that has been treated with pesticides or herbicides, as these can be toxic to dogs. Additionally, your pup may ingest intestinal parasites like roundworms or hookworms from animal droppings on the grass.
If you notice your dog eats grass more frequently or excessively, it may be a sign of an underlying illness. Be alert for potential illnesses (dog sick) that could be causing the behavior.
How to Stop Your Dog From Grass Eating?
Plant a Dog-Safe Garden
Keep a watchful eye on your pup if there are houseplants in the area, as some can be poisonous if eaten or chewed. If you think your dog has nibbled on a harmful plant or ingested grass that may have been sprayed with chemicals, it’s best to contact your veterinarian right away. To avoid any health risks, don’t use dangerous chemicals or fertilizers – instead opt for a safe garden for dogs.
Teach the “Leave It” Command
If you can, stop your dog from eating grass. Chewing on the lawn is typical for many dogs, but you can teach them not to do it, giving you peace of mind. Teach the “leave it” command and go outside with your dog until they understand not to eat grass that doesn’t belong to you.
Use Dog Muzzle
If your dog has a grass-eating habit that you just can’t seem to break, then a muzzle may be the answer. A muzzle will prevent your dog from being able to access the grass, but it’s important not to leave them unsupervised while wearing one.
More Frequent Feeding
If your dog is eating grass because its stomach is empty, the solution is simple – feed them more often! Smaller meals spread out throughout the day can help to ease an upset stomach and prevent your dog from feeling the need to graze.
It’s best to feed your dog smaller meals more often throughout the day, with the first meal being in the morning.
Give Digestive Supplements
Many pet owners think that their dog is eating grass due to an upset stomach, and in some cases, this might be true. To help reduce the symptoms of an upset stomach, try giving your pup a probiotic or digestive supplement. A good quality digestive supplement can help to soothe your dog’s stomach and stop them from wanting to eat grass.
Probiotics, in particular, are live bacteria that help to maintain a healthy balance of gut flora. This can help to boost immunity, digestion, and nutrient absorption. Always speak to your vet first.
Eating grass is normal behavior for many dogs, and in most cases, it’s harmless. However, there are some risks associated with this behavior, so it’s important to be aware of them.
If you’re concerned about your dog eating grass, talk to your veterinarian. They can help you to determine if there is an underlying cause for the behavior and provide guidance on how to stop it.
Have you ever experienced your dog eating grass? What was the reason behind it? Let us know in the comments below!
Head to our behavior page to find out more about the mysteries of our furry friends!