Why does my dog eat grass? Good question.
My dog does some weird things, but one thing she’s been doing a lot on walks and in the backyard is stopping to eat grass.
Sometimes I feel like I’m grazing a cow instead of walking a dog. It freaked me out a bit, so I thought I would look into it.
My fear was not that grass is necessarily bad for a dog, I just worried about what was on the grass. Also, I figured it might be a sign of something else going on.
What you don’t want to happen is for your canine to get sick and vomit, which often happens when it is eating grass. This behavior is defined by the word, pica – a scientific term that defines an eating disorder.
Dogs that eat grass are eating something that is not considered food. Therefore, pica may indicate that your dog is suffering nutritionally. Your canine may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals in its diet.
Sometimes, a pica behavior emerges when a dog or puppy is bored. Therefore, pica may surface when your canine simply does not know what else to do.
Actually, the incidence of eating grass—although normal for cows—is common among dogs. This type of pica typically does not cause too many difficulties, as vets consider eating grass to be normal behavior for some dogs.
In fact, one small study revealed that of 50% of dog owners whose dogs regularly accessed grass, almost 80% ate the grass. Some of the dogs were also eating plants. Another research study showed that plant-eating dogs usually preferred to eat grass over other plants.
Sometimes, a dog will eat grass to induce vomiting when it is feeling sick to its stomach. Therefore, some dogs simply feel sick before they take to eating the grass.
Other veterinarian professionals suggest that a dog may eat grass when it wants to improve its digestion. For example, grass may help a dog with intestinal worms feel better. In other cases, the dog may need fiber in its diet.
One published study showed that a miniature poodle had eaten grass and thrown up over a period of seven years. This happened every day during that time.
As soon as the owner put his dog on a high-fiber diet, the dog completely stopped eating the grass. That simple step was all it took to keep the dog from making grass a regular meal.
Learn More From Veterinarians
Maybe you are giving your dog all the nutrition and fiber it needs. If that is the case, your dog may simply be bored. To respond to the problem, you should try to give your dog more exercise. Share time with your dog in the park playing fetch or walk your dog more often.
Try to engage your pet in some fun activities, such as throwing a Frisbee. Buy your pet an interactive game or provide it with a chew toy to keep it busy.
If your dog’s pica behavior results from its meals, you need to make sure you switch to a high-fiber food with plenty of minerals and vitamins. Carefully research the different brands and varieties of dog food before deciding. Try to mix nutritional dog food with soft food to balance out your dog’s diet.
Learn What Plants Are Toxic
While most experts do not believe grazing itself is harmful, the use of pesticides and herbicides on lawns will make it dangerous, if not toxic.
Also, many of the plants featured in a garden can be toxic, especially if a dog ingests them. This could lead to some serious health issues. The best way to avoid this problem is to check the animal poison control website of an organization, such as the ASPCA. This site lists both nontoxic and toxic plants.
If you have toxic plants in your yard, remove them so your dog will not get sick.
Plant an Herbal Garden for Your Grass-Eating Dog
Professionals that cover animal behavior also suggest that you give your dog natural herbs or cooked vegetables if it has taken to eating garden plants, or plants that may be bad for it. You may want to plant an herbal garden just for this purpose.
Gardening for Your Dog’s Health
Once you review the plants that are toxic and nontoxic, you will get a better grasp as to what to include in your garden or next to your home. If your lawn is currently treated with pesticides or herbicides, try to find natural and alternative methods for treating your lawn.
For example, you may want to add a natural substance, such as diatomaceous earth. This type of organic lawn care product works by attacking the exoskeletons of insects. It does not hurt dogs and, therefore, is the ideal treatment to use if your dog likes to graze.
Many teething puppies like to eat grass, twigs, and leaves. You should monitor your dog when it is young and eating these things, as it can lead to intestinal obstruction. If your puppy likes to eat the grass or plants outside, you will need to divert its attention away from this type of consumption. Also, have the dog checked by your vet immediately, as it may indicate an underlying illness.
Why Does Your Dog Eat Grass?
Some experts suggest that eating grass is an instinctive behavior or an attempt, as noted, to induce vomiting. The long strands of grass tickle a dog’s throat, which causes it to vomit whatever is making it feel sick. If your dog vomits after eating grass, he will usually feel better after the episode is over.
Either a dog will follow its instinctive behavior and vomit or it will simply graze on the grass, and do nothing more. If your dog eats the grass to graze, make sure you give it plenty of nutritional supplementation or keep it engaged in a fun activity.
Do what you can to keep your puppy or dog focused on eating dog-friendly goods or keep it engaged so it doesn’t get boring. It is up to you to find a way to keep your dog focused on another type of activity. By knowing the exact reason for a dog’s grass-eating habit, you can make substantial improvements in your canine’s behavior.
Want access to hundreds of dog training videos from a pro? Check out Doggy Dan’s website.