Why Does My Dog Eat Grass? Should I Worry?

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why does my dog eat grass

As a comfort method, anxious dogs can chew grass pretty much like nervous people chew their fingernails. The grass-eating behavior in anxious, lonely, or attention-seeking dogs increases as human interaction time declines.

The grass is considered safe for dogs provided that the dog doesn’t vomit repeatedly, have diarrhea, or have excessive thirst after consumption.

Read this in-depth guide to learn more about why do dogs eat grass and whether or not it is bad for them.

Is Eating Grass Good or Bad for Dogs?

Grass eating among canines is prevalent. The grass is an excellent source of fiber for dogs. Dogs may also use it to relieve stomach upset or as a comfort mechanism when anxious or under stress.

No matter the reason for consumption, the grass is generally considered safe for dogs and thus unlikely to make dogs sick.

However, the grass harbors intestinal parasites, which are easily picked from animal droppings or urine. 

These may be transferred to the dogs when the grass is ingested. Additionally, grass sprayed with pesticides or herbicides may be toxic to dogs. 

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

There are various reasons why your furry friend will munch on grass. Below we will talk more about them.

Psychological reasons

At times, dogs eat grass because they are bored, anxious, lonely, or simply seeking the owner’s attention. A dog’s life typically revolves around its owner’s activities, usually watching them leave and anxiously waiting for their return. 

Although they enjoy being outside, they also get bored alone and look for something to pass time with. As a result, they often resort to nibbling on grass as a way of relieving their boredom.

Dogs love interacting with humans. As such, they may take up some weird behaviors like eating grass if they feel neglected just to get attention.

You can ask your vet about Benadryl. It is used for dogs’ anxiety and it should be given only with your veterinarian’s permission! Read more about it in the article we wrote about How Much Benadryl Can I Give My Dog?

Physical reasons

There’s a popular belief that dogs eat grass when they feel unwell to induce vomiting and relieve an upset stomach. Dogs are also assumed to consume grass to assist them in flushing intestinal parasites, which is why they may vomit after eating grass.

However, there is no scientific evidence to back this theory up. It remains debatable whether dogs eat grass because they feel sick and want to vomit or develop an upset stomach after ingesting grass.

Some people also argue that dogs are not intelligent enough to self-medicate by eating grass. Additionally, it has been observed that most dogs don’t show any signs of illness before eating grass and don’t vomit after that. 

However, dogs occasionally exhibit discomfort behaviors before eating grass, seeking out longer grass and devouring it, hence stimulating the vomiting reflex.

Health benefits

Is your canine companion lately eating more grass and weeds?

It could be pica[1], which typically refers to a condition that makes dogs eat odd, non-food items.

Veterinarians and researchers refer to grass eating as a form of pica in dogs. At times, dogs eat grass to supplement a diet lacking in certain nutrients.

Just like you and me, dogs need a lot of vitamins and minerals to support good health. 

Eating grass could be your dog’s way of adding more fiber to their menu to help in digestion and assist in the smooth running of other bodily functions.

So the next time you notice your pup munching on your lawn, examine his diet. It could be time for a diet upgrade.

When to become concerned about grass eating?

If your pup eats grass then vomits but seems to be okay, there’s no cause for concern. However, you should consult your vet in case of the following:

  • If there is a sudden excessive consumption of grass
  • Your dog is eating grass but not their usual food
  • If your dog is constantly eating grass and repeatedly throwing up
  • If your dog is eating grass but appears strange or unwell
  • If your dog seems to have a pica-like obsession with eating grass.
  • Look out for vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, blood in stool, or lip licking.

All these could be an indication of an underlying health condition. It’s best to consult your vet the soonest as possible.

How can you stop your dog from eating grass?

If you want to discourage your dog from eating grass, try the following:

Keep your dog busy: Try giving them enough exercise if your pup is chewing on your lawn because of boredom. You can engage them in activities. Ensure that he’s well entertained while alone outside. 

A tough chew toy is a great way to keep his jaws and mind fully occupied. You can also get him interactive dog toys that don’t require your involvement.

Evaluate and upgrade your dog’s diet: If your dog’s grass-eating behavior results from nutritional deficiency, switch to a better diet. Ensure the food is well-balanced and contains sufficient fiber to alleviate the problem.

Train them to ignore grass: If your dog tries to chew the grass on the sidewalk while taking a walk, lure them to another direction to distract him. 

You can also bring along some high-value snacks when you take them for a stroll, whenever they veer off course to chew grass, issue commands, and reward them for obeying your command.

Keeping your grass dog friendly

Clean up poop frequently: Regularly dispose of your dog’s fecal waste and consider building a pest waste digester. Also, ensure that your dog only eats grass from your backyard to reduce the danger of parasite transmission.

Create a dog-safe environment: Make sure any pesticide used on your lawn is toxic-free. Consider also making a safe space for your dog in your yard.

Watch out for harmful foxtails: Eliminate foxtails from your yard by digging/pulling them up or soaking them with vinegar at ground level. These invasive weeds burrow into the surroundings and pose a serious threat to dogs if consumed or walked on.

Should I stop my dog from eating grass?

Yes. Occasional chewing of grass isn’t harmful to your dog. However, it’s best to discourage this habit because the grass may contain toxic herbicides or pesticides. Also, the most common house and garden plants along the lawns are poisonous.

What should I do if my dog eats grass?

If your dog occasionally eats grass and seems okay, you do not have to take any action. It’s unlikely to cause any harm. However, consult your vet if the grass eating is excessive or your dog seems unwell.

Why has my dog started eating grass all of a sudden?

If your dog starts eating grass, it may be boring, anxious, stressed, and seeking relief, or it may just be enjoying the taste or texture of grass. It may also be seeking fiber or roughage to meet a dietary deficiency.

How do you know if your has intestinal worms?

The most common symptoms that may indicate intestinal worms in your dog include diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, lethargy, bloody stools, swollen abdomen, or worm segments in your dog’s feces.

What can I give my dog to settle his stomach?

Plain or canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, plain unsweetened yogurt, bananas, baby food, and chicken broth can help soothe your dog’s upset stomach.

The bottom line

The grass is considered safe for dogs provided that the dog doesn’t vomit repeatedly, have diarrhea, or have excessive thirst after consumption.

However, you should ensure that the grass is free from toxic pesticides or herbicides.

You should also ensure you regularly treat your pup for intestinal parasites as grass carries such.

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Author
Belinda Kendi
Belinda Kendi is a talented content marketer and dog food copywriter who produces relatable and valuable content.

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