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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? What Should You Do?

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? What Should You Do? | BetterVet

If your dog is eating grass, then you are probably a concerned pet parent who’s wondering why it’s happening.

So why do dogs eat grass? Does it always mean that they have an upset stomach?

Eating grass is a very common and normal behavior for dogs; some dogs simply like the taste and texture of grass, and this strange behavior isn’t always linked to health problems or deficiencies.

It can also be a sign that something else is wrong, so let’s learn more about what eating grass means and when you should contact your vet

6 Common Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

It’s common to worry that a dog is feeling sick or has a nutritional deficiency if we spot them chewing on grass. But there are lots of reasons why your dog might be eating grass. 

1. Your dog is bored (lack of stimulation)

Chewing and digging behaviors are commonly linked to boredom and a lack of mental stimulation. Your dog might go into the garden to tear up your lawn if they want your attention, or is simply looking for something to do.

2. Your dog likes the taste of grass

Some dogs simply love the taste and texture of grass, especially in spring and summer when the grass is long and fresh. Many dog owners report that their dog regularly eats grass, and it’s particularly common in younger dogs.

3. Your dog needs more fiber in their diet

They need more fiber – there is a small amount of research to suggest that dogs might eat grass when they are lacking enough good quality fiber in their diet. This may be a downside of grain-free diets, as they tend to have a lower fiber content.

4. Your dog is feeling sick

They do feel sick – it’s widely believed by pet parents that dogs eat grass because they feel sick or to try and make themselves sick. However, research shows that less than 1 in 10 dogs showed signs of illness before eating grass. Only a quarter of dogs who ate grass were regularly sick afterward. So, while some dogs are sick after eating grass, it isn’t always the case.

5. Your dog is experiencing pain

Paindogs often struggle to tell us they’re in pain, and often try to hide or distract themselves from it. A change in behavior such as eating grass could be a sign of either abdominal pain or pain somewhere else.

6. Your dog is trying to flush out parasites

To get rid of parasites – it’s thought by some researchers that undigested grass might help remove parasites from the gut by wrapping itself around the parasites, so they are passed out of the digestive tract.

What Should I Do if My Dog is Eating Grass?

If your dog eats a bit of grass every now and again, there’s no need to be concerned as it can be a normal and natural behavior. Grass isn’t very nutritious, and your dog won’t gain much from it.

However, there is a risk of parasites associated with eating grass. You should always make sure your dog is up to date with their regular parasite treatments anyway, especially if your dog has a habit of eating grass.

There is also a risk of your dog ingesting slugs or snails when they eat grass; in the winter months especially, this poses a lungworm risk, so speak to your vet to make sure that your dog’s parasite treatment includes protection against lungworm. 

You should never let your dog eat grass that has been treated with fertilizer or pesticides as these are often toxic and can make your dog very unwell.

If you are concerned about your dog’s grass eating habit then you should contact your vet for advice, especially if:

  • Your dog is eating grass excessively
  • Your dog is sick regularly after eating grass
  • Your dog appears unwell in any other way 
  • Your dog is eating grass but not eating their usual food

How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Grass

Eating grass can be a benign and occasional habit, but if your dog is eating grass obsessively and tearing up your garden, you’ll want to find ways to stop this. You should always speak to your vet first and get your dog examined to rule out other causes of the grass eating habit. 

If your dog is eating grass for attention or through boredom or anxiety, then there are some ways you can help. Identifying the cause of your dog’s boredom or anxiety will help you to find ways to manage it. Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise each day, and that they aren’t left home alone for more than 4-5 hours a day. Provide plenty of toys, and additional mental stimulation such as lick mats and puzzle games to improve their mental well-being. Sometimes, it’s necessary to restrict their access to certain parts of the garden. Your veterinarian can be a good place to start for pet behavior counseling.

In conclusion, eating grass may be an occasional habit for some dogs, or it could mean that your dog is unwell, in pain, or suffering from boredom or anxiety. But it can also become an obsessive and challenging behavior to deal with.

If you are concerned that your dog is suddenly eating a lot of grass or showing signs of illness, then it’s important to get them examined by their veterinarian. 

You can also have your dog examined from the comfort of your own home. Book a mobile vet visit and we'll come to you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do dogs eat grass and then throw up?

Eating grass may ease their nausea, and it can also help to induce vomiting in dogs if they are feeling sick.

Why do dogs eat grass when they’re sick?

Eating grass can help induce vomiting, so dogs will often eat grass when they feel unwell or have eaten something they shouldn’t. It’s also thought that dogs might eat grass to help remove parasites from their gut.

Do dogs like eating grass?

Some dogs like the taste and texture of grass, especially when it is very green and fresh in spring and summer.

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