Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?


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Your dog is your most loyal friend besides your immediate family members. This means you should understand him better than anyone else.

When he’s happy, you will notice by observing his behavior towards you. The same is true when he is unhappy, unwell, tired, sleepy, or scared. So, you must know your dog in and out if you truly love it.

Why do dogs eat grass? No one can tell why nearly all dogs eat grass or what triggers them to do so. Most of the pet experts believe that eating grass is normal behavior among dogs. For them, this should not be something to worry about.

The habit of eating grass in dogs is popularly known as “pica” and is associated with a lack of some nutrients, minerals, and vitamins in their diet. But it’s still not the main reason why these pets feed on grass.

Because you can provide your canine friend with a well-balanced diet that is nutritionally rich in essential nutrients but still find him eating grass. This begs the question of why they find grass to be edible when you know pretty well that they are carnivores.

Below are reasons why dogs eat grass:

Physical Need

There are two types of dog grass-eating habits and these are grazing and instinctive behavior. With grazing, your dog will be seen munching on the grass happily without suffering any ill effects.

This can be normal behavior for dogs but you should know what triggers it. Since dogs come in different species, sizes, traits, and ages, each one of them is unique in one way or the other.

That being said, it is not uncommon to discover that your canine friends start eating grass when they are a little bored or even anxious. Pay attention to your dog and you will be surprised to realize that anxiety is one reason they feed on grass.

A certain group of vets suggests that dogs eat grass in order to make up for what they are missing in their normal diet. But that suggestion is yet to be proven right given that almost all dogs regardless of the nutritional value in their diet, will still munch on grass. Maybe they like how this type of plant tastes and that is the reason they reach out to help themselves when the need arises.

What of the instinctive behavior? This is another grass-eating behavior in dogs. It’s assumed to be an intentional or deliberate attempt to trigger vomiting after swallowing something more likely to make them sick.

Instinctive behavior is a clear indication that your canine friend might be suffering from an upset stomach. For this reason, their instincts may push them to eat grass as the only remedy for their stomach problems.

Whenever you see your dog eating and swallowing grass quickly without even chewing it, just know it’s doing so to induce vomiting. That explains clearly why your dog chooses pieces of grass to help his throat to stimulate vomiting to get rid of something harmful in his stomach.

There is another explanation as to why dogs feed on grass at certain times. This explanation points to the dog’s digestive need, just like other animals. Your dogs need roughage for digestion and grass seems to be the ultimate choice for them.

The grass is believed to contain some fibers and this can supplement your dogs’ diet as a source of fiber. Lack of roughage interferes with their digestive system. As a result, the affected dogs experience difficulties in digesting food or passing stool. The grass is believed to offer a solution to this problem.

On the other hand, you should not take things lightly when your dog shows signs of stomach upset despite eating grass. Your dog likely has a medical problem such as gastric reflux, pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, you must seek advice from a reputed vet to know where the real cause of the problem lies. The vet will also determine if your dog needs medical intervention or not.

Psychological Need

Your dog will spend most of his time focusing on what you are doing at home. Sometimes he may watch you leave and become agitated or anxious for your return or want to keep you company wherever you go. This makes your canine friend restless even if he’s left to spend the rest of the day outside.

Normally, dogs prefer staying outdoors, but sometimes they get bored and feel lonely when there is no one to keep them company. When this happens, the affected dogs resort to doing something that will keep them fully occupied as they pass their time. One of the activities they are likely to engage in is nibbling grass within their reach.

Sometimes your dog may crave your interaction and in a bid to get your attention, he will do something extraordinary like eating grass. This inappropriate behavior shows that your pet feels neglected.

Also, anxiety makes your dog munch on the grass as a way of acquiring some comfort just in the same way humans do when they are nervous or anxious. So, the act of feeding on grass when your dog is lonely, bored or anxious increases as your attention decreases.

To control this behavior in your dog, you need to provide him with a toy or anything that will distract him. Such objects will provide mental stimulation and eventually relieve boredom. Alternatively, you can take your pet for a walk or subject him to strenuous play to take away his habit of eating grass.

Maybe it’s their Instinct

Dog’s follow what their ancestors did in the wild and this includes finding ways of balancing their diet. And the best way of achieving this goal was by consuming what they hunted which included the bones, internal organs as well as stomach contents. So, eating the entire prey gave them a fairly balanced diet whereby grass and plants provided them with enough fiber for their digestion.

Another interesting thing about dogs is that they aren’t true carnivores. When in the wild they eat anything that comes their way as long as their basic dietary needs are fulfilled. For instance, 11 to 47 percent of the wolves’ stool shows that they eat grass besides other types of food.

Even though modern dogs don’t have to hunt for their meal, it does not imply that they lost their instincts of scavenging for food. A few dogs, including those that feed on commercial dog food, enjoy munching on grass as a clear indication of their heritage.

So, the tendency to eat grass may not be a bad behavior among dogs after all. What you should be concerned about is the effects brought about by feeding on grass such as sickness or parasite infestation.

On the contrary, behavior modification may not be a good option when it comes to controlling your dog’s grass-eating habits. As a matter of fact, it may cause some interference with their natural instincts, thus doing more harm than good.

Does Your Dog Like Grass?

The fact remains that your dog or other dogs like grass although there is no proper explanation as to why they do.

Maybe dogs enjoy the taste and texture of grass on their tongues and that’s why they find it delicious.

Most of the canines are believed to be grass eaters whereby they prefer feeding on this type of plant. This happens mostly in the spring when new grass sprouts from the ground.

Is it Safe for your Dog to Eat Grass?

You should always be on the lookout for the type of grass your dog eats. There are different species of grass out there and not each one of them is safe for your dog.

Apart from that, watch out for anything that has recently been treated with fertilizers or pesticides.

Ensure that the lawn care products you are using are safe for your pets. Otherwise, your dog might be at risk of being poisoned if you just let him roam your compound and feed on grass anyhow.

How to stop your dog from eating grass?

One of the reasons why dogs eat grass is the lack of essential nutrients in their diet.

So, you can curb this habit by providing them with well-balanced dog food that has all the nutrients.

How do you know when your dog needs medical intervention?

When your dog feeds on grass and then vomits, just know he is fine. But if he keeps on eating grass and vomiting, you must take action immediately and look for a working solution.

And the best solution is to take him to the vet as soon as possible before things get out of hand.

Final Thought

Grass eating among dogs should be treated as a normal thing given that these animals do so for various reasons. All these reasons seem to be valid if you understand your dog well.

Some eat grass to help them with their digestion, while others do it to draw their owner’s attention.  Overall, there is no cause for concern when your dogs eat grass.

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