If you've noticed your dog eats grass and thought it was odd, you're not alone! Our Boulder and Westminster 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 wants 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 vomit after eating grass, but that's not the case for all of them. Most dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of an upset stomach. So, it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass so they can vomit. 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 eats grass, but also shows signs of an upset stomach, there may be a medical problem. Dogs can suffer from various stomach issues, including conditions like pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog eats grass but has other symptoms like lack of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, it's a good idea to take them to the veterinarian for an examination.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Boredom and anxiety can exacerbate your dog's grass-eating habit. Kind of like how people with anxiety bite their nails. If your dog doesn't show any signs of stomach issues, but eats grass like there's no tomorrow, the reason could be psychological.
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.