Our Harrisburg veterinarians are frequently asked why their dog continues to eat grass and whether it is safe. Today, we discuss why dogs eat grass and when you should be concerned.
Why do dogs eat grass?
Pet owners are frequently left scratching their heads, unsure why their dogs seem to enjoy eating grass. Many dogs will eat grass, vomit, and then return to eating grass.
Could this be an indication that something in the dog's stomach needs to be brought to the surface? Is there anything poisonous in the dog's stomach? Is the dog self-treating a medical condition that has yet to be diagnosed?
Some dogs do vomit after eating grass, but not all of them do. The vast majority of dogs eat grass without showing any signs of stomach upset. As a result, dogs do not appear to eat grass to induce vomiting. So, why do they do it?
Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs, like people, require fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system. Dogs, after all, are omnivores. This means that plant foods, as well as high-quality meat, are essential for good health. The grass is a simple way for your dog to get more roughage in their diet, which can help keep things moving through their digestive tract.
If your dog is eating grass but also exhibiting symptoms of stomach upset, there may be a medical problem. Pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease are two common stomach and gastrointestinal problems in dogs. If your dog is eating grass and exhibiting other symptoms such as a lack of appetite, low energy, diarrhea, or constipation, he should be examined by a veterinarian.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs will frequently eat grass out of boredom or anxiety, similar to how people bite their nails. Consider psychological reasons for your dog's behavior if they aren't showing any signs of digestive problems but are constantly munching on grass.
If your dog is simply bored, increasing the length, distance, or intensity of his walks could help him stop eating grass.
Separation anxiety may also be the cause of your dog's grass-eating. When you leave the house, leave your dog an old blanket or t-shirt with your scent on it. The familiar scent may be reassuring to your dog, causing them to stop eating grass.
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 pup 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.