Why do dogs eat grass?

You may have heard all kinds of reasons as to why your dog eats grass.

One common belief is that it is to make themselves sick because they have eaten something they shouldn’t have.

Another reason is that it is caused by a deficiency in their dog’s diet. But there is little evidence to support either of those explanations.

The most likely reason that our dogs eat grass is simply that it tastes great.

It probably has quite a sweet and refreshing taste. This is where we have to remember that for tens of thousands of years, our dogs survived by being what’s called ‘an opportunistic scavenger’. So, that means that they devoured pretty much everything edible that they came across.

But what about the fact that many dogs do vomit after eating grass?

Well, that’s because unchewed pieces of grass will tickle the throat as they’re swallowed, and that causes the vomiting.

Is eating grass bad for your dog?
Generally, there is little to worry about as long as the grass-eating doesn’t become excessive.

It’s generally thought that there is little danger in allowing your dog to continue eating grass. But, do watch out if they suddenly begin to eat more grass than usual; it could be an indication of an underlying health problem that needs immediate attention from your veterinarian.

If your dog has been head down in the long grass looking for that tasty morsel, remember to check them over for grass seeds after each walk. The pointed end of a grass seed can easily become embedded in your pet’s skin, with the paws, armpit, and groin region all prime spots for problems.

Care is also needed if your dog munches on grass outside your own home. That’s because it may have been sprayed with harmful pesticides and weed killers, which could cause a toxic build-up in your dog’s system.

Do also make sure that your dog is up to date on their lungworm treatments. Lungworm can be passed on by slugs and snails, which may be lurking in the grass.

How to stop a dog from eating grass
Dragging your dog away and shouting at them may prevent their grass-eating behaviour in the short term, but it’s unlikely to stop them wanting to go back for more come the next walk, Ms Miller explains.

The best way to stop a behaviour you don’t want is to provide your dog with a great alternative instead.

If there’s a possibility that walks have become a little dull, then your dog may be eating grass to relieve the boredom. To provide them with something different to do, try dropping a few treats or some of their kibble onto the ground or even among the long grass.

Most dogs are much happier to search out their food rather than grazing on grass. There’s also the added bonus of your dog tiring themselves out from having to use their nose and hunt out the goodies.

Many dog owners also feel that a sprinkling of different herbs on their dog’s food brings a whole range of health benefits.

After all, dogs are omnivores, and in the wild they do eat all types of plants. So, providing your dog with their own mini herb garden can also provide them with a safe and appropriate range of greens to eat. Chamomile, dandelions, and sage are popular choices for many dogs.

If you need a quick resolution, rather than waiting for appropriate plants to grow, then providing your dog with a carrot or some apple chunks to munch on can be a healthy alternative.

•••

Charlotte has the rewarding, yet challenging job of being a Dog Rescue Worker. Although she encounters quite distressing situations, it’s all worthwhile when a pup is nurtured back to health and re-homed. She shares her home with Pete the Pitbull, who incredibly, was the very first dog she ever rescued. Find out more about your dog at www.breedadvisor.com

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Written by Charlotte Miller

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