Why does my dog eat grass?
Have you ever caught your dog munching on some grass and wondered why they do it? You’re not alone, this behaviour is actually quite common among dogs. While there isn’t a single definitive answer to why dogs eat grass, there are several theories that may shed some light on this curious habit.
One old wives’ tale is that dogs eat grass to soothe an upset stomach and induce vomiting. According to Blue Cross, there is no evidence to support this claim. It is believed that dogs only vomit around 25% of the time after eating grass, so probably won’t be using grass to self medicate.
They Enjoy It
Another theory is that dogs eat grass simply because they enjoy the taste and texture. Dogs are known for their scavenger behaviour, and will often eat just about anything they can get their paws on! Grass may provide a new and intriguing flavour for your dog, or they love to use the opportunity to scavenge in your back garden, just like their wolf ancestors will have done.
Supplement Their Diet
Some experts believe that dogs may also eat grass as a way to supplement their diets. Grass contains important nutrients like fibre, which can aid in digestion and support overall health. As reported in petWebMD, there was a study involving a poodle who ate grass every day for 7 years. Once the owner introduced a high-fibre diet, the grass eating immediately stopped.
Grass may have also been a part of wild dogs’ diet before they were domesticated. Purina states that wild dogs would ingest grass from the stomachs of their prey, meaning that grass is in fact a normal part of their diet. Since dogs have been domesticated, their fibre intake may be lower (depending on the food they’re on) and so may supplement with grass.
Some researchers suggest that dogs may eat grass as a behavioural or psychological coping mechanism. Dogs who are stressed, anxious, or bored may turn to grass as a way to alleviate their feelings of boredom or stress. Chewing on grass can be a soothing activity that provides an outlet for pent-up emotions or energy.
Things to consider to keep your dog safe/happy
If your dog likes to eat grass, it’s important to ensure the grass hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals or pesticides, which can be toxic to dogs. Additionally, some plants can be poisonous to dogs. Battersea has an extensive list of plants which are toxic. If you believe your dog has eaten anything toxic, it’s vital you seek immediate veterinary advice.
If boredom is the cause of your dog’s munchies, try introducing new toys, puzzles and treats to keep your pup entertained.
While there are many potential reasons why dogs eat grass, there are also some important things to keep in mind as a pet owner. First and foremost, it’s important to ensure that the grass your dog is eating is safe and free from pesticides or other chemicals. If you’re unsure about the safety of the grass in your yard or neighbourhood, it may be best to discourage your dog from eating it.
It’s also really important to monitor your dog’s behaviour. If they’re eating more grass than usual, vomiting a number of times over a few hours, and/or have diarrhoea, it’s imperative to seek advice from your vet.