Concerned dog owners often wonder if it is safe for their canine companions to eat grass. Here, our Denver vets tell you why some dogs eat grass and explain if it is safe.
Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dog parents often scratch their heads and wonder why their dogs seem to love eating grass. In fact, a number of dogs will eat grass, vomit, and then continue eating grass again.
Is this a sign that the dog feels like there is something in their stomach that needs to be brought up? Has the dog eaten something poisonous? Is the dog self-treating an undiagnosed medical condition?
Some dogs do vomit after eating grass, but this isn't the case for all dogs. Most dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of an upset stomach. So it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. So why do they do it?
Like people, dogs need fiber to keep their digestive system running smoothly. After all, dogs are omnivores. This means that good health relies on plant foods as well as high-quality meat. Eating grass could be an easy way for your pup to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things flowing through their digestive tract.
Although, if your dog is eating grass and is also showing signs of an upset stomach, there could be a medical issue. Dogs can suffer from various stomach and gastrointestinal problems including conditions such as pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and has other symptoms such as lack of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, it's a good idea to take your dog to the vet for an examination.
Dogs will often eat grass out of boredom or anxiety, similar to the way some people bite their nails. If your dog isn't displaying any symptoms of digestive problems but munches relentlessly on grass, there could be a psychological reason behind this behavior.
If your dog is simply suffering from boredom, you may be able to reduce their grass-eating behavior by increasing the length, distance or intensity of their walks.
Separation anxiety could also be making your dog eat grass. Try leaving an old blanket or t-shirt with your scent on it with your dog when you leave the house. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring and help curb their grass-eating habit.
Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet will be able to provide you with some ways you can help reduce your pup's obsessive behaviors.
Is Grass Safe For Dogs to Eat?
If your dog is otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe behavior.
To help keep your grass nibbling dog healthy, make sure there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your pup eats.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.