You have likely seen your dog grazing the lawn at least once and wondered exactly what was the drive behind that behavior. There is a whole slew of conjectures thrown about from generation to generation about why our dogs eat grass.
Growing up my parents always told me it was because it made their stomach feel better. A friend ‘s parents told her it was because the dog had a nutrient deficiency. With all of these conflicting ideas, it can be hard to determine the exact cause.
Common Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass:
They do it to induce vomiting.
It has been a long standing theory that dogs who eat grass usually end up vomiting which helps to relieve nausea. Most vets think that this occurs because the blades of grass irritate the pharynx and stomach lining thus triggering elimination of the stomach contents and nausea.
It helps them cleanse their digestive tract.
Just like in our diet, we use leafy greens to keep our pipes regulated and moving, so it is not a too far off a thought for why dogs eat grass as well. They may have a natural instinct to graze in order to prevent any intestinal blocks from eating large quantities of meat.
There is a nutritional deficiency they are trying to compensate for.
Dogs could be trying to make up for a fiber deficiency lacking in their regular dog food. It’s not that this actually cures any deficiency; much like a dog that eats poo, there is no nutritional value in the grass, but your dog may be subconsciously trying to fill a void from their commercial dog food. A blood test from your vet will bring any vitamin deficiencies to light if you’re worried that’s the case.
It’s an innate behavior in their genetics deriving from wild dogs or wolves.
There is always a throwback to genetics in behavior. Wild canines will eat everything available, especially after a hunt. Meaning they will eat their prey and all the surrounding grass with it. This may have left a genetic imprint on your dog’s taste buds leaving them more inclined to eat grass when they are a little hungry.
Here’s an article about a 2013 research study suggesting that wolves might have been omnivorous. It gives some weight to the theory that dogs inherited the instinct to chew on grass and keep their digestive system flowing.
So does all this mean that grass eating is safe and natural?
Simply put, no. Bigger than a tummy ache or a lacking nutrient in their diet, the real danger is pesticides and lawn treatments. Not to mention grass that has or had poop on it leaves the blades a breeding ground for parasites and bacteria. You can help make it safe by cultivating your own doggy grass, which you can usually find at your local pet store. This will allow them a healthy outlet if they truly just love to eat grass.
Of course, if you have any concerns about your dog eating grass, make sure to contact your vet.
Our staff at TAILored Pet Services will customize dog walk visits to your pet’s needs, so we can be sure to pick up the walking pace, leaving no time for a grassy snack break (or a future surprise on the carpet when he’s eaten too much). Or, we can slow down and let your pup take his time sniffing around if the grass is not a problem. For more information about our services, click here.