Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

April 4, 2017
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

Keeping a pet is taking on a huge responsibility. It is often said that having a pet is no different than taking care of a child. This is because a pet is completely dependent on you and it is your duty to cater to all its requirements. Among the various animals that people keep as pets, it is dogs which are found to be most common. This does not come off as a surprise since dogs are affectionate, loyal, and easy to train. If you have a dog as a pet, there is not much that you will need to do because, on the whole, dogs are capable of taking care of themselves. However, it is their diet that you would need to give attention to. You will have to be rather vigilant with regards to what they eat, lest they eat something that puts their health in jeopardy.

Do dogs eat grass?

This is not something that many people tend to believe. Grass is not a part of the usual diet of a dog. Hence, when one sees their dog feeding on grass, they are bound to be confused. The first question which would then spring to mind is, why is the dog doing so? Is there a reason for you to worry? Is it harmful to the dog? What can you do about it? These are some of the questions that would swarm your mind when you first notice your dog eating grass. You can be assured that you are not the only dog owner who has to go through this worry.

When anyone or anything eats something that isn't suitable for its diet, the disorder is termed pica. Pica can be a sign of some form of nutritional deficiency. In other cases, it can also be completely normal with no reason to worry. It is not uncommon to see dogs eating grass and, on the whole, the grass would not incur any harm to your dog. Therefore, if you see your dog feasting on grass, you do not have to worry about its health being placed in the realms of harm.

According to many vets, this is a normal behavior which should not be given much attention. Studies have shown that quite a large numbers of dogs eat plants at one point or another, and grass is the plant that is mostly eaten. Therefore, there is no reason for you to panic.

The reason behind eating grass

There could be quite a few reasons that contribute to your dog viewing grass as its potential diet. There is a conception among some people that when dogs feel unwell due to poor digestion, they eat grass which would induce vomiting, thereby making them feel better. However, most tend to negate this idea because they do not think that a dog can be smart enough to come up with a remedy for an upset stomach on its own. According to studies, only a very small proportion of dogs start eating grass because they were unwell. Most dogs did not show any signs of illness prior to eating grass. Furthermore, grass eating does not lead to vomiting in all cases, so this theory does not hold much weight.

Treating intestinal worms is among the reasons that can make your dog eat grass. When there is worm infestation in the gut, the dog is compelled to indulge in all sorts of dietary habits, and eating grass one of the things that it might do in such a situation.

Nutritional deficiency is also a reason that can lead to your dog eating grass. It might be doing so to fulfill some of its dietary requirements that are not being met. The common requirement which is seen in such cases is that of fiber. According to reports, deficiency of fiber can provoke a dog to eat grass.

One of the most common causes of a dog eating grass is boredom and the taste. It could be that your dog simply likes the taste of grass and wishes to indulge in it because the taste appeals to it.

Is it dangerous?

This is the ultimate question that a dog owner would have when they notice their dog eating grass. Is it something that they need to give attention to or is it something that can be ignored? While grass in itself does not inflict any harm upon the dog, you still need to be cautious.

If your dog starts eating grass excessively, there could be an underlying illness which is responsible for its behavior. Similarly, if a dog vomits after grazing, you need to consult a vet because this can cause weakness and other problems in the dog.

Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that lawns and grass are treated with all sorts of chemicals in the form of herbicides and pesticides. These can be quite toxic and if ingested, they can pave the way for a lot of trouble. Certain garden plants are also detrimental to health. Therefore, this is something that warrants attention. If you notice dogs eating grass and plants, the first thing that you need to make sure is that the plant is not dangerous for the dog and immediate medical attention is not required.

Attention particularly needs to be given if a teething puppy starts to eat grass. This is because ingestion of grass and leaves at this stage can lead to blockage, which can pose a significant danger to the puppy. Therefore, if you see your puppy eating grass, it would be a good idea to take measures that would thwart the habit.

How to stop the dog?

If you want to stop your dog from indulging in eating grass, there are various measures that you can take.

If you have a suspicion that your dog is eating grass because of boredom, it might be a good idea to ensure that adequate exercise is provided to it. Perhaps, it is a bit of attention that your dog requires. Make an effort to keep your dog occupied in different types of activities that would keep it engaged. An interactive game such as playing fetch with a Frisbee would be a nice idea. Another option that you have is to get the dog a chew toy which would keep it captivated and off the grass.

If it is a nutritional deficiency that is responsible for the dog eating grass, you should switch to a different dog food. Endeavor to opt for something that would fulfill all its nutritional requirements. You can also incorporate cooked vegetables in its diet which would prove to be quite effective in preventing the dog from eating grass.

A bit of attention is important

At the end of the day, it is your attention to the matter that would make a world of difference. When it comes to pets, it is important that there is no negligence exhibited in any aspect. Therefore, if you notice your dog eating grass suddenly, you need to dig deeper to find out the reason for it. Failure to do so might cause a great deal of harm to your dog. This is because there is a chance that eating grass was a sign of some underlying illness and by not giving it any attention, you failed to detect it. This could put the health of your dog in grave danger.

Keep in mind that when you keep a pet, you are the one who would be responsible if any harm befalls it. Therefore, chances should not be taken. You need to make sure that you pay adequate attention to all the aspects associated with the pet so as to ensure that optimal care is provided to it. By not doing so, you are basically neglecting your duties. Therefore, make sure you keep a close eye on the diet of your dog and seek help if any abnormality is noticed.

Another reason for people to seek help when dogs start to eat grass is that they do not want their beautiful lawn to be destroyed. Whatever the reason for you taking preventative measures against your dog eating grass, make sure you are patient in your approach. If your dog likes to eat grass, you cannot expect it to give up the habit within a short span. Therefore, do not lose patience and continue to make efforts. You will notice a difference soon enough.

Keeping a pet is all about being patient while you nurture it. This is something that you should be prepared for before you take on the responsibility because once you undertake it, there is no turning back. You will have to take care of the dog to the best of your abilities and protect it from all sorts of harm.

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