My Dog Is Eating Grass: Is That Normal?

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Your canine companion is definitely not a cow or a sheep but you might have noticed your dog snacking on grass like livestock. Worried about why your dog is eating grass? We would like to first assure you that your dog is not alone to eat grass. During a survey, 1,500 dog owners were asked if their dogs eat grass and 70% of them said that their dogs eat grass every day, or at least once a week.

So why do dogs eat grass? Are they hungry? Or do they just enjoy eating grass? Well, researchers have still not figured out why exactly dogs eat grass, but there are many theories about why they do so.

Here are 7 reasons why your dog may eat grass. Keep reading.

They Have Intestinal Worms

If your dog eats grass and has diarrhea, it is possible that it has 'intestinal worms' or some other Gastrointestinal illness. Studies have shown that undigested grass help to flush out the intestinal worms from the gastrointestinal tract by wrapping them around the blades of the grass.

They Want to Induce Vomiting

Some dogs vomit after eating grass and sometimes that’s exactly what they want to do. When they have an upset stomach, they want to relieve themselves from the pain, and as they know that eating grass could lead to vomiting and a better stomach, they intentionally do so.

They Are Anxious

Maybe your dog is feeling anxious and that’s why it is eating grass. Some dogs become apprehensive when another dog or person approaches them, and in some cases, they suddenly start eating grass. Moreover, sometimes grass-eating is a regular anxious habit for dogs: it is similar to a nervous person biting on their nails.

They Like Its Taste

There’s a high chance that your dog is eating grass simply because they like the taste and texture of it. Newly cut grass produces a chemical called (Z)-3-hexenal which make it appetizing to dogs. There is no concrete evidence but it is also possible that dogs eat grass just for fun: we can compare this with people who enjoy chewing gum or with children who eat dirt.

Instinctive Behavior

Scientists have confirmed that grass eating is dogs’ instinctive behavior that evolved from their wolf ancestors. As per the report, 2-10% of wolf’s stomach contents contain plant material and it is possible that grass-eating behavior in dogs has been passed down from wolf-like ancestors. Researchers have found that around 47% of wolves eat grass.

They Need Fiber

Some experts believe that dogs eat grass to crave nutritional components like fiber. They say grass contains vitamins that your dog may be missing in its diet. It is not confirmed if dogs with low-fiber diets eat more grass but some evidence suggests that dogs stop eating grass when they are fed a high-fiber diet.

They Are Simply Bored

Maybe your dog is bored and eating grass may help it pass the time. If you have locked up your dog in the backyard alone all day, there is a high chance they will eat grass. Keep your dog entertained by providing them with a lot of dog toys.

Is Eating Grass Normal for Dogs?

It's completely normal for dogs to eat grass and it is usually harmless to dogs. Grass-eating behavior is especially common in younger dogs. As dogs are omnivores, eating both plants and meat is natural to them. However, it's time to be concerned when your dog starts eating grass excessively. Unusual symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting or aggression are signs of an underlying condition like intestinal worms. When you see such symptoms in your dog, you must consult with a veterinarian.

Should You Stop Your Dog from Eating Grass?

It’s not something to worry about when your dog eats grass. However, grass treated with pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides, could be toxic for dogs. Eating grass may also cause your dog to ingest intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms, that contaminate the grass by droppings from other dogs. Snaking on such grass may cause gastrointestinal disease in unvaccinated dogs. If you suspect that your dog has eaten grass treated with pesticides, immediately bring it to your local veterinary clinic.

In general, veterinarians consider grass-eating to be normal behavior for dogs. Although they don’t gain any nutritional value from grass, it may also not be harmful to them – as long as the grass they eat is treated with fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. One way to protect your grass eater from getting sick is not to put toxic products in your backyard. Alternatively, you can even grow a grass or herb garden for your dog to snack on.

How Can You Stop Your Dog from Eating Grass?

Although eating grass is usually not harmful to dogs, to prevent them from intestinal disease, it’s better to stop them from eating grass. Below are some effective tips you can follow to stop your dog from eating grass.

  • Avoid taking your dog to grassy areas.
  • Take your dog for a walk immediately after a meal when its stomach is full.
  • Redirect its attention back to you whenever it tries for a quick snack.
  • Distract your dog with a command as it is up to eat grass.
  • Bring along your dog’s favorite treats as you plan an outing with it.
  • Make sure your dog is not bored, entertain it with a lot of toys.
  • Make sure your dog has good nutrition.
  • Give the dog grass that you have grown yourself.
  • Take advice from a vet.

We hope these tips will help you stop your dog from eating grass.

When Should You Visit a Vet?

It is occasionally normal for a dog to eat grass but you should consider visiting a vet if you see the following symptoms in your dog.

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Eats grass excessively
  • Acting aggressive

If you are concerned about your dog’s health then you should ask your vet for advice, or can connect with Little Furr for counseling.