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Why does my dog eat grass?

Many dogs love to smell, dig in, and eat grass. But should you be concerned if your dog is regularly dining on your lawn? Here, our Jackson vets discuss why dogs may habitually eat grass, and whether it is safe to do, in this post. 

Why do dogs eat grass?

Whether your dog eats grass on occasion or every time you leave the house, many dog owners are familiar with this behavior. But why does a dog eat grass? Some dogs will eat grass, vomit it up, and then continue to eat grass.

Should you be worried that your dog might have gastrointestinal issues? Perhaps you're wondering if they've consumed a poisonous substance, or if this is a sign that they have an underlying health condition that requires diagnosis. 

While a dog may vomit after they eat grass, this is relatively uncommon. Most dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of tummy issues. So, it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Then why do they do it?

Physical Reasons My Dog Eats Grass 

Type 'why my dog eats grass' into your favorite search engine and you'll likely find that you are among many pet parents who deal with this issue. Reasons for this habit may vary. A nutritional deficiency may be one of the simplest explanations for why a dog eats grass. A dog that eats grass might be attempting to add more fiber to their diet to help them digest their food. 

After all, because dogs are omnivores, they require high-quality plants and meat to maintain good health. Eating grass may be an easy way for your dog to get more roughage in their diet, which helps to keep things moving through their digestive tract.

There is also a chance that a gastrointestinal issue is causing your pup to eat grass. Dogs can suffer from a variety of stomach and gastrointestinal issues, including conditions like gastroenteritis and pancreatitis. If your dog is eating grass and displays other symptoms such as constipation, decreased energy, lack of appetite, or diarrhea, it's a good time to take your canine companion to the vet for an examination. 

Psychological Reasons My Dog Eats Grass 

Just as people can have feelings of anxiety or boredom, so can dogs. If your dog doesn't exhibit any signs of digestive issues but devours grass, psychological reasons may be the culprit. 

For example, your dog may simply be suffering from boredom. If this is the case, increasing the intensity or distance of their walks may help to cut back on their grass eating habit. 

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, which can help reduce their grass eating. 

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

Pros
  • Grass Eating May Be Enjoyable
  • Adds Fiber to Your Dog's Diet
  • Aids in Digestion
Cons
  • May Lead to Vomiting / Diarrhea
  • Grass May be Covered in Pesticides
  • Parasites Live 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. To help keep your grass-nibbling pooch healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys. 

Is a dog eating grass an emergency?

If a dog is eating grass occasionally, it is not necessarily an emergency. Dogs may eat grass as a way to soothe an upset stomach or fulfill a nutritional need. However, if a dog is excessively eating grass, vomiting frequently, or showing signs of distress, it could indicate a more serious issue, such as gastrointestinal problems or toxicity, and immediate veterinary attention should be sought.

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.

Are you concerned about the reason behind your dog's grass-eating habit? Contact our Jackson vets to book an appointment for your pup.

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