A dog eating grass! I know…it can be baffling and confusing to any pet owner, especially if you are experiencing it for the first time. You might be wondering what’s causing this peculiar kind of behavior; are they sick or just hungry? And you can’t even begin to imagine what eating grass will do to his health. Don’t worry, you are not alone in these thoughts.
Why does my dog eat grass? It is natural for a dog to eat grass, they are omnivorous and need some plant-based materials to supplement their diet and give them the natural minerals that canines require. This may be a result of a poor diet, or that your dog is looking for something to purge their digestive system. Eating grass can help relieve stomach distress, possibly to ease the pain of a bloated stomach or to make themselves sick to help get rid of a virus or bacterial problem. Or maybe your dog just likes the taste of grass, if it appears over frequent take them to the vet for diagnosis and if there is no health condition, don’t worry.
In this article, I will explain some of the reasons why your dog might be eating grass and the measures you can take if you need to, to prevent such behavior.
Dog eating grass is a disorder that is technically referred to as Pica. It is very common among dogs, (it has also been observed in other members of the canine family like wild dogs) and shouldn’t necessarily be a cause for concern.
This behavior may indicate a variety of issues; sometimes it can be a nutritional deficiency while in other cases, your dog could simply be bored. Whichever the case, this is something that dogs do naturally; in fact, most veterinarians perceive it to be normal canine behavior.
A small survey carried out among 50 dog owners whose small dog had easy and regular access to grass revealed that almost 80% of the dogs had at one point in time eaten grass.
A different study also showed that grass is the most commonly eaten plant by dogs. However normal it may seem that your dog is eating grass, it makes sense for you to want to know why this may be happening.
Why is My Dog Eating Grass?
Different dogs may have different reasons for eating grass. The truth is, there is no certain answer to this question but understanding why your little pooch is acting like this will go a long way to knowing if you need to stop the behavior or at least mitigate it. In most circumstances, your dog will be eating grass because:
1. Grass is Tasty
The contemporary domesticated dog generally has a limited diet; unlike its wild relatives who continue to benefit from a diverse food bounty. For instance, coyotes basically feed on vegetable matter that they in find the intestines and stomachs of prey animals.
Additionally, a good majority of wild canines eat grasses, roots, and even fruits apart from the meat that they get from hunting or scavenging. This kind of behavior is likely to be displayed by your dog from time to time. And it is likely that your dog enjoys the taste of raw plant snacks like lettuce, carrots, green beans, and apple slices.
Even though your dog may be hesitant to eat raw veggies; he will really enjoy them when cooked. It is, therefore, possible that your pooch finds the texture and flavor of grass to be yummy.
The tips of new grown grass can be sweet tasting to a dog, a bit like us having a sugary treat.
2. He is Bored
Sometimes, grazing is an activity that your dog may indulge in an attempt to pass the time. Imagine him in the backyard, by himself, bored; No toys, no playmate what’s a dog supposed to do?
He might as well experiment with something new, by eating grass. If you are not providing your pooch with adequate physical and mental activity, you might notice that he eats grass mostly when you’re not engaging him in play or walking.
3. Nutritional Deficiency
Dogs can eat almost anything, including various types of veggies, fruits, and even certain kinds of human food. However, to find out how eating grass fits in the equation, you need to consider the basic nature of canines and the natural self-healing instinct in dogs.
While we safely assume that dogs enjoy the taste of grass, there has been some speculation that suggests grazing might provide tiny elements of vitamins that they’re not getting in their everyday food.
4. Stomach Distress
Some animal behaviorists believe that eating grass is a way to self-medicate. When your dog is experiencing stomach troubles, he may turn to grass for relief a bit like us with indigestion tablets.
5. Eating to Induce Vomiting
Eating grass doesn’t always cause vomiting in dogs, but this can be the fate of dogs that are not regular grass eaters. It may be that dogs who occasionally eat grass are trying to use it as a natural emetic to induce vomiting when they are feeling out of sorts.
You might observe this behavior if your furry friend is a little gassy before heading out to graze. This may also be the case after he has eaten something he probably wasn’t supposed to.
The long, ticklish strands of grass naturally prompt your dog to vomit up that which was making him nauseous. Often when your dog finishes vomiting, he will often go back to feeling normal almost instantly with no signs of illness.
However, most studies have suggested that less than 25% of dogs vomit after feeding on grass, with only 10% displaying symptoms of illness beforehand.
How do I Stop My Dog from Eating Grass?
You shouldn’t be getting sleepless nights if your dog eats grass once in a while. However, some situations do call for you to bring the behavior to a stop, and this is for the good of your dog’s health.
The following are ways you can try to prevent your dog from eating grass:
• Provide your grass-loving pooch with an alternative to satisfy the urge. For example, you can find some healthy wheat grass that your dog can munch. You can also find herb and grass growing kits in some pet supply stores that are safe for your dog to eat.
• Many people have found that the behavior stops when you alter the dog’s diet to high-fiber foods or raw foods. However, consult the vet before you decide to change your dog’s eating routine again.
• Try keeping your dog engaged every time you come home. Think about games that keep him physically and mentally active to play with him every time he seems bored and idle.
• Apartment dogs may indulge their need to eat grass by nibbling indoor plants. Depending on the plant he is eating, this may be dangerous if the plant is poisonous.
You, therefore, want to ensure that there are no potentially poisonous plants inside your home keeping indoor plants out of reach.
Things to look for
• Be cautious about the grass your dog is eating, especially if he is wandering onto the neighbor’s lawn. Many homeowners treat their lawns with pesticides and insecticides which can be very poisonous to your dog if consumed. This can also be true for public spaces such as parks or roadsides where the grass may have been treated. Be sure to watch your dog’s movements closely when your outside in public places.
• Although eating grass occasionally may be a normal thing, you should be concerned if your dog exhibits regular grazing behavior. This may be a sign that he is sick. The best course of action would be to take him to the vet just in case.
• If your pooch is tending to eat grass for more than two consecutive days, leading to vomiting each time, this should prompt you to take him to the vet’s for examination.
An upset stomach that becomes chronic should be checked to dispel any fears of intestinal parasites such as roundworms, tapeworm or a more severe issue.
FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR DOG, IF IN DOUBT VISIT THE VET.