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Why is my dog eating grass?

Seeing your furry friend chomp on some vegetation can throw you off for a moment and lead to questions about their health and habits. Here, our vets at Marcello Veterinary Hospital answer the question 'Why do dogs eat grass?' and talk about whether it is safe for them to do so.

Why does my dog eat grass?

You're out on your evening stroll with your canine companion and everything is going as usual when they suddenly stop and start chowing down on some grass. This can lead to many questions about why your dog is eating grass and if it is dangerous. It may happen once in a while or every time you leave the house, a grass-eating habit is something that many dog owners know very well.

Should you be worried that your dog is experiencing gastrointestinal issues? Have they gotten into something poisonous? Is this a sign that they have an illness or condition that needs to be diagnosed?

The good news is that vomiting after grass-eating doesn't actually happen all that often. The majority of dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. So it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Then why do they do it?

Physical Reasons Why My Dog Eats Grass

Some vets consider nutritional deficiencies to be a leading cause behind dogs that enjoy eating grass. Fiber is easily obtained when eating grass. Eating grass may be an easy way for your dog to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things moving through their digestive tract.

There is also a chance that your dog has a gastrointestinal concern leading them to eat grass. Dogs can suffer from several stomach and gastrointestinal issues 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 pup to the vet for an examination.

Psychological Reasons Why My Dog Eats Grass

There's also a chance that your dog is just plain bored. If you catch your dog chomping away in your yard but they aren't showing any signs or symptoms of health issues, they may just be looking for something to do. 

If your dog could simply be suffering from boredom, increasing the length, distance or intensity of walks could help to reduce grass eating.

Separation anxiety could also be the reason that your dog is eating 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 to curb their grass-eating habit. 

Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet will be able to advise you on how to help your pooch reduce obsessive behaviors.

Pros and Cons of Your Dog's Grass-Eating Habit

  • Grass Eating May Be Enjoyable
  • Adds Fiber to Your Dog's Diet
  • Aids in Digestion
  • May Lead to Vomiting / Diarrhea
  • Grass May be Covered in Pesticides
  • Parasites Live in Grass

How can I stop my dog from eating grass?

If the grass eating isn't caused by a medical condition there are a few things you can try to help curb this behavior like:

  • For dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, try leaving an old t-shirt (unwashed) or blanket with your dog while you're away from home. Having something close by that smells of you may help to reassure your pup.
  • If your dog is bored, it's time to add some extra mental stimulation to their day. Try occupying your dog with a puzzle toy to help provide extra mental stimulation.
  • High-energy dogs will likely benefit from longer, more frequent, and more vigorous walks, combined with some strenuous play sessions to help settle their restless mind and body.
  • Dogs that enjoy socializing with other dogs may need extra socializing time. Perhaps taking your dog to a doggie daycare or on visits to the local dog park will help to stop your dog from eating grass.

Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?

If your dog has no health concerns and is up to date on preventive care then feel free to let them eat grass to their heart's content.

To help keep your grass-nibbling pooch healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys. 

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.

If your dog is showing other symptoms along with eating grass, please contact our vets at Marcello Veterinary Hospital to schedule an examination.

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Marcello Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Louisiana companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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