While spotting the occasional grass chewing isn't usually any cause for concern, that may change if you begin to frequently catch your dog eating and even sometimes vomiting up this grass. Our La Mesa vets answer the question of why dogs eat grass and provide some advice that may give you some peace of mind.
Is There a Reason Why Dogs Eat Grass?
If you are catching your dog eating grass and then vomiting on a regular basis then you may become concerned for their health. Why on earth could they be doing that? Could this be an indication that the dog feels there is something in their stomach that needs to be brought up? Has the dog eaten something poisonous? Is your dog doing it to make themselves feel better if they are suffering an undiagnosed illness?
Although many dogs will vomit after eating grass, it's not the case for all dogs. In fact, most dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. This means that it's unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting, so what might the reasoning be behind this grass-eating habit?
Do Dogs That Eat Grass Have a Physical Condition?
Dogs, like humans, need plenty of fiber in their diet in order to keep their digestive system running smoothly. This means that good health relies on a good quantity of plant foods as well as high-quality meat. Eating grass may be an easy way for your pooch to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep their digestive tract flowing.
That said, if your dog is eating grass but also showing signs of stomach upset, there may be a medical problem. Dogs can suffer from a number of 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 dog to see your vet for an examination.
Could The Cause of Dogs Eating Grass Be Psychological?
Boredom and anxiety are common psychological causes of grass-eating. Just as a person may chew on their nails as a response to these emotions, your dog may do the same by chewing on grass. If your dog isn't displaying any symptoms of digestive issues but munches relentlessly on grass, consider the psychological reasons for their behavior.
If boredom is the likely cause of your pup's grass-eating, increasing the length, distance or intensity of their walks, introduce more intense playtimes or head to the off-leash dog park to allow your dog to enjoy some social time.
Your dog may also be resorting to grass eating as a form of self-soothing due to separation anxiety. 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.
In other cases, dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, then your vet may be able to provide some advice on how to help deter your dog from expressing these behaviors.
Is it Safe For Dogs to Eat Grass?
As long as your dog is up to date on parasite protection and routine vaccinations then you shouldn't have anything to worry about if your dog decides to eat some grass. To help keep your grass-munching mutt healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers on the grass your dog tends to chew on.
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.