Is It Normal For Dogs To Eat Grass?

By kropek2021. • Updated July 1, 2021

Cows eat grass. But why does a dog eat grass frequently? Does that sight worry you? Is it because they are hungry? Do they have an upset stomach? Are they not receiving the right nutrients through their daily diet? Is eating grass going to hurt them? 

Numerous questions pop up in the pet owner’s mind. First of all, do not panic. Dogs eating grass and resultant vomit is not uncommon behavior. This habit of eating items that are not food is medically termed as Pica. Eating grass usually does not cause any severe ailments in puppies or adult dogs.

Many veterinarians consider Pica as typical behavior. Many clients in our dog training center have claimed that their dogs chew on grass every few days. At the same time, others have observed dogs eating plant materials like leaves. Grass eating is clearly by dogs is not news in medical science and dog training circles.

In this article, we will describe the factors behind your dog consuming grass and other plant materials. We will also talk about the measures you can take as dog owners to lessen this behavior in the subsequent sections.

Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

As always, there are several reasons behind every behavior exhibited by dogs. Eating grass is no different in this regard.

Source of Fiber

If your dog does not receive sufficient nutrition through their main diet, they will try to fill out that deficiency using Pica. This action will make them feel full and happy in their stomach.

Grass can be a good source of roughage for them. Grass can be a good stomach content to enable the smooth operation of their digestive tract. Ensure to consult with your veterinarian on the optimum nutrition plan for your buddy.
Make it a habit to cross-verify the ingredients of your dog food before purchasing. Food items rich in fiber can help avoid the need for extra helpings of grass and prevent inflammatory bowel disease.

Taste and Texture

Some dogs enjoy chewing on grass as they find the grassy taste and texture enjoyable and tasty. Can puppies eat grass? Yes, they can. 

My pug, Joey, would only eat grass and leaves for a few weeks during the puppy phase. As long as the grass is void of harmful pesticides and chemicals, no harm can befall your beloved pup.

Eating grass once in a while is not a cause of concern. Nevertheless, grass-eating and other signs of illness like diarrhea, lack of appetite, and constipation can not be ignored. This behavior will need to be looked into by a vet if repeated excessively by the dog. 

Induce Vomiting

Dogs, when suffering from stomach discomfort, digestive illness, worm infections, can turn to grass as a means to induce vomiting and relieve stomach pain. 

The presence of snails and earthworms in the grass can be harmful if consumed. This situation can lead to lungworm generation in dogs if not treated on time.

During this time, dogs use grass as self-medication products to make themselves feel better. This response is natural, and we should not discourage dogs from doing it being responsible pet owners. 

There is also the option of stomach-friendly alternatives to grass. You can find items like wheatgrass in the nearby pet-supply stores that are nutritionally rich and safe to consume by our canine friends.

Behavior Issues

If your dog is not engaged enough in physical activities like walking, outdoor games, and other training programs, they may feel bored and lethargic. This situation will prompt them to engage in Pica as a time pass activity or a distraction.

Joey’s attraction towards grass significantly reduced after we enrolled him in obedience training and stamina-building cardiovascular programs at our dog training center.

Enhancing their mental stimulation by gifting them puzzles and toys is another way to control their unwanted behavior.

If your canine buddy is suffering from stress and anxiety issues, ensure to leave an old cloth with your smell on it during the times you leave your house for the day. This measure will make the dog feel calm and secure and less prone to eating grass excessively due to stress.

Dogs diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are more likely to showcase repetitive behavior. In this case, pet owners can engage their dogs in therapy sessions and systematic medical treatment plans for the gradual reduction of symptoms.

These were some of the most common triggers that make dogs eat grass excessively and the suitable remedies to control the same. In the next section, we will quickly glance through a few precautionary measures to keep your grass safe for canine consumption.

Ways to Keep Your Grass Dog- Friendly

  • Double-check and select pesticides that do not contain chemicals or hazardous substances that could prove fatal and detrimental for your buddy. 
  • Clean dog poop from the grass in your garden as animal feces can harbor germs and other infections when consumed. Ensure your turf is maintained neat and tidy. 
  • Be vigilant in detecting the presence of poisonous plants and seeds in your space. Specific seeds like foxtails can be harmful to dogs. If your dog shows signs of poisoning, rush towards your trusted veterinarian at the earliest.
  • Regularly trim your grass. Consuming tall and sharp blades of grass can cause tearing of the dog’s throat. If your dog shows signs of illness like coughing and mouth-bleeding, consult a veterinarian immediately. 
  • Dogs can munch on indoor plants too. Make sure your selection of these plants falls under the dog-friendly category to avoid unwanted risks. If you are persistent in having these plants as part of decorative purposes, ensure that they are placed at a location your dog can not reach.

This list is not an exhaustive one. If your dog’s incessant eating of grass or other plant material does not stop, never indulge in self-medication. Never shy away from taking the expert help of a veterinarian.

Conclusion

In general, the dog behavior of eating grass may be expected for various reasons, as we discussed in the earlier sections. This behavior, Pica, is a recognized health condition in dogs in which they compulsively consume non-food items.

As responsible dog owners, we need to look into this habit once our dogs incessantly repeat it. Any signs of illness in them require quick treatment by a registered veterinarian for proper resolution. No one wants the medical condition to get aggravated due to negligence. 

We can adopt various measures to make sure that the grass our dogs consume is safe and toxic-free. Ensuring nutritionally balanced dog food along with physical and cognitive training activities can guarantee to keep your dog out of harm’s way!