There are many reasons why dogs eat grass, and in most cases it’s nothing to worry about. But if your dog feasts on your yard whenever he gets the chance, it might be a sign of ill health.
You’ve probably seen your dog grazing on grass. If you’re concerned about this behavior, you’re not alone. Many pet parents worry that eating grass will have a negative effect on their dog’s health – but the truth is, it might be his way of telling you that’s something is already amiss! While the exact reasons that dogs eat grass varies from case the case, here are some of the possibilities:
1. Nutritional deficiency
If your dog is suddenly eating grass, it may be a sign that he’s missing key nutrients in his diet. Dogs need vitamins and minerals just like people do, and they know that eating grass may help them gain what they’re lacking. Dogs eating grass frantically may be a sign that he needs extra fiber in his diet, for instance. Grass and plants are naturally fibrous and act to aid digestion.
If your companion eats grass, start by feeding him a better dog food that contains all the nutrients he needs to thrive.
Sometimes dogs eat grass simply out of boredom, much like humans do when they graze on a bag of chips. If your dog is stuck in the yard for many hours each day and doesn’t have much else to do or chew on, he may turn to munching on grass.
This behavior is especially common in puppies and young dogs, who have higher energy requirements. To alleviate your dog’s boredom, give him a toy that matches his play style and make sure he gets plenty of exercise every day. Even if it doesn’t stop him from eating grass, his overall health will improve!
3. Stomach problems
Without a doubt, witnessing a dog eat grass and then vomit is a worrying sight. In about 10 percent of cases, dogs that eat grass have an upset stomach and are munching to induce vomiting. They know this act is likely to bring relief – but there are better ways to soothe his digestive upsets.
Chances are, nothing is seriously wrong with a dog that eats grass and then vomits. Your dog will likely be back to his old self soon afterward. However, if he starts eating excessive amounts of grass very suddenly, and you notice other behavioral changes, it could be a sign of a deeper stomach issue that won’t be solved by eating grass. Contact your veterinarian for advice, and consider taking him in for a checkup. Better safe than sorry!
4. It tastes awesome
Sometimes your dog eats grass just because he likes the taste of it! Eating a little bit of grass won’t hurt him, even if he throws it back up. That being said, lawns that are coated with chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers can be toxic to dogs if consumed, and certain plants can also harm him. Do some research about the foliage that adorns your yard, and stay away from chemical-based gardening products. If your dog likes to eat grass just for the fun and taste of it, eliminating these toxicities will keep him safe and happy.
Should you let your dog eat grass? The bottom line is that a little grass never hurt, but it could be a sign that he has other needs that aren’t being met. Get him a higher quality food, exercise his body and brain, eliminate toxins – and hope the habit doesn’t persist!
Olivia Harper is the co-founder of the blog Daily Dog Stuff. She is a passionate pet parent who loves to spend time with her dog, Sparky, who keeps her active and social. Read more of her guides and tips at dailydogstuff.com.