You might have caught your dog with a mouthful of grass and wondered, “Why on earth is my dog eating grass?” After all, dogs are omnivorous animals. They are believed to be meat-eaters from the beginning of time. So, why do dogs eat grass?
Contrary to popular belief, dogs munching on grass is very natural, fairly common, and is considered a safe habit. Though they are omnivorous, dogs really need access to a little green leafy material in order to get their quota of vitamins and trace minerals for the day. So, they will sometimes eat grass as a way to compensate for the nutritional shortfall.
Generally, a dog that eats grass is either bored or in search of some vitamins. This article will discuss in detail why the grass is a natural part of dog diet and what happens when they eat it.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
There can be various reasons why dogs love grazing on the lawn.
1. To induce vomiting
People believe that dogs eat grass when they are not feeling well. They might turn to eat grass to make themselves vomit and feel better. It does feel plausible that dogs decide to seek out natural remedies for upset or gassy stomachs as canines are intelligent creatures. The grass may tickle their throat and the sensation can definitely cause vomiting. However, you must know that scientific evidence shows otherwise. Research study proved that only 8% of the respondents reported their dog looking or feeling sick before they ate grass. And only 22% out of those respondents found their dogs vomiting after eating grass.
Another study showed that dogs with mild digestive issues were actually less likely to eat grass than a completely healthy dog.
Dogs have evolved from wild canines to the domesticated pet that we know today. Turns out, dogs might have retained the wild instinct of eating grass even today. Other wild canines such as wolves are also known to eat grass. Research has found plant elements in about 74% of wolf-scat samples.
3. Out of boredom
You might be getting worried thinking of a reason as to why your dog keeps eating grass. Well, at most times, your dog might just be bored. Eating grass can be a dog’s way to pass time.
There is also a possibility that your dog might like the taste or the texture of grass.
5. A psychological condition
Although rare, there are chances that your dog picks up on this habit due to a psychological condition. There are cases where anxiety, stress, or depression in dogs have resulted in a compulsive habit like eating grass, or anything they get their paws into.
Is It Common for Dogs to Eat Grass?
The habit of dogs eating grass is more common than you think. In fact, according to research by the University of California, Davis, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, more than 67% of the respondents reported that their dogs ate grass on a weekly basis.
Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Grass?
So far there has been no case of poisoning or any adverse effects on the dog’s health because of eating grass. As a matter of fact, the grass is believed to contain dietary fiber which provides dogs with nutrients. So, it is considered to be safe.
But, that doesn’t mean you can encourage this habit. Letting your dog eat grass can possess some risk, especially if there is a sudden rise in grass-eating. Look out for your teething puppy as they won’t be able to chew the grass properly and it can create a blockage in their intestine. There is also a risk of your dog ingesting too many pesticides and chemicals depending upon the area of grazing.
You might also be interested in Can Dogs Be Vegan?
How Can You Keep Your Grass Dog-Friendly?
If your dog grows the habit of grazing on your meadow, there is really not a lot you can do to stop it. But, the one thing you can do is make your grass dog-friendly so that it is properly grown in your backyard. These are the things you can consider:
- You can avoid using insecticides and pesticides on your lawn. This way your dog will be perfectly safe from any kind of chemicals.
- Remember to clean their poop as fast as you can. When poop gets mixed with grass, there are chances that your dog might ingest some poop. (Another common habit in dogs is eating poop. Find everything about this here.)
- Remove all the invasive grass-type weeds that can grow in your garden. Foxtail is a common weed that poses a serious threat to your dog’s health. In the spring season, these weeds grow rapidly, so make sure you take care of such weed plants.
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Grass?
There is a chance that your dog may be allergic to grass. Some dogs can have mild to moderate reactions to pollen and grass. If you notice your dog sneezing, being itchy, or scratching a specific part of the body aggressively, they might be allergic to grass. Another common focus of grass allergies is in their stomach and bowel. Their stool will have evidence of food absorption such as undigested grass or other material.
Sadly, there is no cure available for grass allergy, or any other allergies for that matter. You have to take your vet’s advice and follow all the necessary safety measures.
Should you be worried if your dog likes to chew on grass? Not at all. It is perfectly normal and safe for dogs to eat grass. Just make sure you don’t spoil your pup by encouraging this habit and letting them eat too much. The chemicals in the grass will also cause health problems if ingested in large quantities. If you have any confusion, consult your vet for advice. Your vet will help you in case of allergy too.
Thank you for reading the article.
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