While most dogs will occasionally nibble on grass, some dogs seem to relentlessly seek it out. If you're wondering why your dog is eating grass and whether you should be concerned, our Westminster vets can offer some advice on what to do.
Why do dogs eat grass?
If your dog regularly eats grass, you might be feeling baffled and even concerned - particularly if your dog vomits after eating grass. What would possess them to do this?
Could this indicate that the dog has something in their stomach they need to bring up? Has your pooch eaten something poisonous? You may suspect your dog is attempting to self-treat an undiagnosed medical condition.
While many dogs will vomit after eating grass, this isn't true for all dogs. In fact, most dogs can eat grass without displaying any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. This means that dogs are unlikely to eat grass specifically to induce vomiting. But, the question you're left with is, why do they do it?
Is there a physical reason your dog eats grass?
Similar to humans, dogs need lots of fiber in their diet to help their digestive system run smoothly. This means they need a good quantity of plant foods and high-quality meat to stay healthy. In an effort to keep their digestive tract on track, your pooch might be adding roughage to their diet by eating grass.
That said, if your dog is eating grass but is also displaying signs of an upset stomach, your pooch may have a medical issue. Dogs can suffer from a range of gastrointestinal and stomach issues, including conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis.
If your dog is eating grass and shows other symptoms including diarrhea, constipation, decreased energy or a lack of appetite, it's a good idea to schedule an examination with your vet at Wachusett Animal Hospital.
Is there a psychological or emotional reason for your dog's grass-eating?
Boredom and anxiety are common psychological causes of grass eating. This behavior can be thought of in much the same way as people who bite their nails. If your dog isn't displaying any symptoms of digestive issues but munches relentlessly on grass, consider psychological reasons for their behavior.
If boredom is the likely cause of your pup's grass-eating, increasing the length, distance or intensity of their walks, introduce more intense playtimes or head to the off-leash dog park to allow your dog to enjoy some social time.
Another reason why dogs will frequently eat grass is separation anxiety. 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 and help to curb their grass-eating habit.
In other cases, dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, the vets at our Westminster veterinary hospital will be able to advise you on how to help your pup reduce obsessive behaviors.
Is eating grass dangerous for dogs?
Dogs that are otherwise healthy and on parasite protection shouldn't face any troublesome issues from eating unsprayed grass. To help keep your grass munching mutt healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers on the grass your dog tends to chew on.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.