Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
If you are a pet parent, there may be some behaviors your dog does that are baffling to you. One of those behaviors may include your pup’s fascination with grass, and you want to know why they are eating it.
There may be some essential nutrients that the dog is lacking, and grass may be compensating for it. Your pup may need fiber, and eating the grass can help them eliminate their stool. It could also be instinctual for them to gnaw on the lush green lawn.
Eating grass may not be safe for your dog, as it has some potential dangers. If you want to learn more about why dogs eat grass, this article is for you.
What Are the Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass?
Many pet parents have had the peculiar experience of taking their dog out for a walk and having to stop for their canine companion to eat grass. Pups sometimes become entranced with the grass on the ground and devour it. Why do they do that? Well, there may be many different reasons.
There may well be various reasons your dog finds the grass appealing. They may be bored or anxious, or it just tastes good. They may also be getting fiber from the grass they are not getting from their diet.
Dogs are funny sometimes and can do some things you may not understand. Seeing your pup eat grass is one of those instances in which your dog’s behavior can be quite puzzling. The following reasons may explain why your dog is eating grass.
They Are Missing Key Nutrients in Their Diet
Some kids eat dirt because it contains nutrients they lack; it is the same with dogs and grass. Sometimes, dogs do not obtain all the nutrients they need from their diet. They may be in such dire need of these nutrients that they see grass as food. Dogs are also like humans in the sense that they need:
Some nutrients that grass contains include phytonutrients, potassium, and chlorophyll. The grass may be an adequate supplement to certain commercial dog foods.
They Need the Fiber
You will often see cows and other livestock grazing on the green stuff, but dogs are another story. Just like livestock, dogs need fiber to keep themselves regular. If they are not getting sufficient fiber in their diet, they may seek out the grass instead. If you observe your dog eating grass, it may be time to consider giving them food that contains more fiber.
They Are Just Plain Bored
Sometimes dogs crave companionship, but they eat the grass instead. It could result from your pup spending too much time in the yard alone without you. If you see your dog eating grass, they may be bored. Spend some time with them playing catch or frisbee. It can do you and your pup a world of good to hang out together.
It Can Act as an Antacid
When they get sick to their stomach, some dogs turn to grass as an antacid. They may eat so much grass that they vomit up bile. Yellow foam is an indication that the pup has an empty stomach, which can make the dog nauseated. The dog may eat the grass to expel the bile and make themselves feel better. It may help your dog for them to eat smaller, more frequent meals.
They Are Feeling Anxious
Your dog may eat grass because they are anxious. Sometimes dogs eat the grass as a coping mechanism. It is the equivalent of someone twirling their hair or biting their lip when they become nervous. Your dog may be bored, lonely, anxious, or above. Apprehensive dogs may exhibit unusual behavior, and eating grass is one of these behaviors.
It is Instinctual
Dogs in the wild, such as wolves, must hunt for food. They will usually consume whatever meets their nutritional needs, which includes prey. The stomach contents of the quarry will often contain grass. Dogs share the same wild instincts as wolves, even though domestic pups do not need to hunt for food. The compulsion to eat grass may come from these wild instincts.
The Grass Just Tastes Good
Your dog may enjoy the texture and taste of grass, especially during specific times, such as the spring, when it is all fresh and new. You never know what your pup may be tasting, as grass tastes sweet to cows. Grass tends to have a lemony flavor and scent. It may also contain moisture, and your dog is thirsty. Ensure your canine has access to fresh, clean water at all times.
Are There Safety Risks if Your Dog Eats Grass?
There are safety risks if your dog eats grass. You should discourage your dog from consuming grass, even if they only eat a little of it. If the grass your pup is feasting upon does not come from your lawn, you never know what they could be consuming. The following include the safety risks involved in your dog eating grass:
You never know if the grass your dog is eating contains pesticides, which are toxic to your pup. Some of the common signs your dog has eaten pesticides include:
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid breathing
- Fast heart rate
- Dilation of pupils
- Lack of appetite
If you believe your canine may have eaten grass with pesticides, take them to the vet immediately, especially if they demonstrate any of the above signs.
Grass can be infected with the fecal matter of other dogs or animals. If your pup eats contaminated grass, they can develop a severe intestinal illness, such as parvovirus. Parvovirus is dangerous for dogs, primarily unvaccinated pups.
Defecation or feces from other pups and animals may also have egg larvae from intestinal parasites. Puppies tend to be at a greater risk of becoming anemic, or they could even die if the worm count is high. Dogs with weaker immune systems are also at a higher risk.
How Can You Stop Your Dog from Eating Grass?
If you believe that your dog is a grass eater, always make it a point to supervise them when they are outside. If you see your pup starting to eat grass, distract them with a treat or an impromptu game of catch.
Sometimes the treat trick can work better because if your dog likes the taste of grass, it is almost guaranteed that they like the taste of their treats even better. You can also try some basic training skills. If your pup knows how to heel, use the command to get their attention, and they will likely stop eating the grass.
To put it simply, utilize positive reinforcement to reinforce a new behavior. You may also try to give the dog grass that you have grown yourself. If your pup likes the taste of grass, they will appreciate it, and there is no danger of your dog ingesting poison or egg larvae.
There are many explanations why your dog could be chowing down on the grass. Sometimes they do this out of boredom, and other times they like the taste. Make sure your pup is not eating pesticides that are harmful to them. If your pup continually eats grass and throws up, it could be an underlying health issue, and consulting your vet as soon as possible is the best course of action.