If you've noticed your dog eats grass and thought it was odd, you're not alone! Our Citrus County vets get asked about this issue quite often, and they are here to share some common reasons why dogs eat grass and when to be concerned.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass
Pet parents are often left confused wondering why their dog seems to enjoy eating grass. In fact, many dogs will eat grass, vomit, and then go right back to eating grass again.
Could this imply that your dog isn't feeling well and want to get something unpleasant out of their stomach? Have they gotten into something poisonous? Is your dog drawing attention to an undiagnosed medical condition?
Some dogs do in fact vomit after eating grass, but that's not the case for all dogs. The majority of dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. So it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Then why do they do it?
Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs need the right amount of fiber in their diet to keep their digestive system moving properly. After all, dogs are omnivores, so their good health depends on plants as well as high-quality meat. Eating grass may be an easy way for your dog to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things moving through their digestive tract.
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 pup to the vet for an examination.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Boredom and anxiety can play a role in your dog's grass-eating habit in the same way that people with anxiety bite their nails. If your dog doesn't show any signs of digestive issues but eats grass like there's no tomorrow, psychological reasons should be considered for the behavior.
If your dog could simply be suffering from boredom, increasing the length, distance or intensity of walks could help to reduce grass eating.
Separation anxiety could also be the reason that your dog is eating grass. 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.
Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet will be able to advise you on how to help your pooch reduce obsessive behaviors.
Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?
If your dog is otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe behavior.
To help keep your grass nibbling pooch healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys.
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.