If your dog frequently munches on grass and you find yourself concerned and wondering why, then you’re not alone! We have attempted to tackle some of the explanations for this behaviour to give you a better idea of why your dog may be nibbling on the green stuff.
They’re feeling under the weather or have eaten something harmful and so are eating grass to clear out their system.
- Most dogs that eat grass do not show any symptoms of being unwell before or after grass eating. For many, it just forms part of their daily routine, and no association with ill health has been proven.
- It is certainly true that dogs sometimes eat grass because they are feeling sick. In these cases, they tend to swallow grass as quickly as possible, without taking the time to chew it. It is thought that the longer pieces of grass may stimulate their gag reflex and irritate the stomach lining to induce vomiting.
- If your dog is repeatedly eating grass and vomiting, or if they seem unwell then please seek veterinary advice.
They have a nutrient deficiency.
- There is no evidence for this claim. It also seems unlikely, given that many dogs that eat grass regularly are fed a commercially prepared complete diet, which contains all of the nutrients that they need in the correct quantities.
Dogs are omnivores so they need fibre in their diet.
- Yes! Just like humans, dogs need fibre in their diet to help their digestive system function effectively. A healthy omnivorous diet requires plant foods as well as meat, so grass eating could be your dog’s way of adding roughage to their diet.
They like the taste!
- This may well be the case, especially with fresh spring or summer grass. They may just be eating it because they like the taste and texture, just like we enjoy eating salad!
They have intestinal worms.
- Possibly. Certainly, dogs that regularly eat grass are at more risk of picking up worms, even if they didn’t have them to begin with. For this reason, it is a good idea to keep your dog regularly wormed if they eat grass.
- At PocketVet we offer a subscription service for flea and worming treatment, so once this is set up your pet’s medication automatically arrives when it is next due. One less thing to remember!
They are bored or anxious.
- This may be the case for some dogs, with it becoming a habit a bit like a person who bites their nails.
- It is a good idea to make sure your dog has plenty of enrichment through play and exercise, using toys and aids such as puzzle feeders to keep them occupied!
Most of the time grass eating is nothing to worry about, but you need to make sure that it has not been sprayed with harmful pesticides. If the habit seems to be excessive, your dog appears unwell in themselves, or they are repeatedly eating grass and vomiting then please seek advice from your vet.