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My Dog Eats Grass: Why do they do it and is it safe?

So many dogs partake in eating grass, but is it okay for them to do so? Are there any concerns with this pastime? Here, our Killen vets talk about whether or not eating grass is safe for dogs, why they do it, and what you should know about grass-eating habits in dogs.

Why do dogs eat grass? Should I be worried?

Whether your dog is an eat the lawn every time you step outside sort of dog or if they only occasionally take a bite of grass, you may have some questions. Especially when it comes to how safe it is since some dogs will eat the grass, vomit it up then get right back to eating grass.

Should you be worried that your dog is experiencing gastrointestinal issues? Have they gotten into something poisonous? Is this a sign that they have an illness or condition that needs to be diagnosed?

While there are times when a dog may vomit after they eat grass, it is quite uncommon. 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 My Dog Eats Grass

A nutritional deficiency may be one of the simplest explanations for why a dog eats grass. Usually, a dog that eats grass is only looking to add more fiber to their diet to help them digest their food. 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.

There is also a chance that your dog has a gastrointestinal concern leading them to eat grass. Dogs can suffer from several 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 My Dog Eats Grass

Just as you or I can become bored or anxious, your dog can too. 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.

Pros and Cons of Dogs Eating Grass

Here and some of the main pros and cons when it comes to grass-nibbling habits in dogs:

  • Many dogs find grass-eating enjoyable
  • It can add fiber to a dog's diet
  • Aids in digestion
  • May lead to vomiting or diarrhea
  • There may be pesticides of other toxins on the grass
  • Many parasites live on and in grass

Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?

If your dog has no health concerns and is up to date on preventive care then feel free to let them gnaw away on clean patches of grass.

If you give your dog the green light to munch on grass, you should make sure that it is free of herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers.

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.

If you think that your dog is experiencing an internal condition or have seen concerning symptoms, contact our Killen vets to schedule an appointment.

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Center Star Veterinary Services offers walk-in veterinary services. Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Killen companion animals. Get in touch today to learn more about our services.

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