by Good Dog People August 28, 2022 5 min read

You may have noticed your dog snacking on the grass during walks or when out in the backyard. Is this behaviour a cause for concern? And why do dogs eat grass? There are several possible reasons why dogs eat grass. Read on to find out more.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Reasons why dogs eat grass

The truth is that no one knows for sure why our pooch eats grass. There have been many theories, but there is limited scientific research on this topic. However, scientists, veterinarians, and dog owners do believe that these are some of the possible reasons.

1. For Fibre

Eating grass could be a way for your dog to get more fiber into his system. Dogs need roughage in their diets and grass is a good source of fiber. A lack of roughage affects the dog’s ability to digest food and pass stool, so grass may help their digestive system run more smoothly.

Dogs would normally get their roughage from the fruits and vegetables in their diet. Good sources of fiber for dogs are broccoli, leafy greens, apples, berries, carrots, and pumpkins. If you suspect your pup’s grass-eating habit is due to a lack of fiber, adding some fresh fruits and vegetables to his diet can help to curb the behaviour. Alternatively, a change to higher-fiber dog food or adding a fiber supplement like the Dom & Cleo Fiber Blend Supplements For Dogs & Cats to your dog’s existing food will help to boost its fiber content. If supplementing, be careful not to overdo it. Too much fiber can cause gastrointestinal upset too. Follow the recommended feeding amount of the supplement, monitor your dog’s stool, and adjust the amount if necessary.  

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

2. Nutrient deficiency

Some dog owners and veterinarians believe grass-eating to be a form of pica. Pica is a condition when a dog eats strange non-food items, and this can sometimes be caused by a nutrient deficiency - missing vitamins or minerals from the dog’s daily diet.

Ideally, dogs on a well-balanced diet should not be suffering from vitamin deficiency. However, nutritional deficiencies can happen if the dog is suffering from some form of digestive health issue that limits his ability to digest and absorb nutrients from his diet. Adding a multivitamin dog supplement like this NaturVet VitaPet Daily Vitamins Plus Breath Aid Soft Chew Dog Supplement may help to improve your dog’s nutritional status. Changing his dog food to a more digestible dog food may help to prevent nutritional deficiencies too. A fresh food diet – raw, lightly cooked, freeze-dried, or dehydrated will certainly be easier to digest than a traditional kibble dog food.

Try the ZIWI Peak Daily Dog Air Dried Tripe & Lamb Dry Dog Food. This dog food is gently dehydrated and contains cold-washed green tripe, a natural probiotic-rich food, that will aid in digestion.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

For pet parents making their homemade dog food, do speak with your veterinarian if you noticed your pooch chewing on grass. The homemade recipe may be deficient in selected vitamins or minerals. To prevent this from happening, some pet parents will add a meal mixer to give their homemade diet a boost of nutrition. This Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers Dog Food Mixer is one of the best, freeze-dried dog food mixer. It’s nutritionally complete and made with grass-fed beef raised without hormones or antibiotics, and 100% organic-certified fruits and vegetables.

If after changing his dog food, adding nutritional supplements and your dog still repeatedly eats grass, consider seeking help from your veterinarian.  

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

3. Antacid to soothe an upset tummy

The consumption of grass may just be a sign that your dog is attempting to relieve an upset stomach. Some dogs would frantically gobble up as much grass as possible until they threw up some yellow foam. Usually, the yellow foam is bile, and bile can be very irritating and uncomfortable to the dog’s empty stomach. We take antacids to relieve the pain, and our pups may eat grass to induce vomit to remove bile from their empty stomachs. This behaviour of eating grass to “vomit up” excess bile usually happens when the dog hasn’t eaten for several hours. Bile can accumulate in an empty stomach causing irritation and discomfort.

Do take note that not all dogs will vomit after eating grass. Studies have shown that less than 25% of dogs vomit after eating grass, and only 10% of dogs show signs of illness prior to eating grass. This means that not all dogs that eat grass are sick or have a tummy upset.  

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

4. Instinct

Perhaps, it’s just in their DNA to eat grass. Examining stool samples shows that 11-47% of wolves eat grass. Our modern dogs do not live like their wild counterparts, but that does not mean that they have lost the instinct to scavenge. Perhaps our pups naturally crave grass as part of their genetic makeup. Of course, your pup might also just enjoy the taste and texture of the grass in her mouth.

5. Thirsty

Like most types of vegetation, grass has high water content. If your dog is eating grass primarily early in the morning, late in the evening when the grass is wet and has dew on it, or only on hot days, thirst could be the reason behind your dog’s grass-eating behaviour. This can easily be solved by making sure your dog always has a bowl (or several bowls) of fresh water when he’s at home. When he is out walking, bring along a travel water bottle like this Pidan Travel Bottle For Cats & Dogs to ensure that your dog is hydrated at all times during his walk.

6. Boredom

Boredom can be another possible reason why your dog is eating grass. This usually happens if you leave your dog alone in the garden. If your dog is hanging outside in the garden alone and eating grass, it may be that he’s just bored. You could divert his attention and stop the behaviour with play. Play fetch! Throw him a ball or offer him a tug dog toy to stop him from eating grass. 

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Nibbling on a few leaves of grass occasionally, won’t harm your pup provided the grass is not treated with pesticides. Even if the lawn is pesticide-free but if you have other dogs around, your dog may be swallowing intestinal parasites from faeces left behind by the other animals. Always make sure the patch of grass is safe for consumption before allowing your pooch to eat it.

If your dog is frantically gobbling up grass at every chance she has, please arrange a meeting with your veterinarian and work with your veterinarian in figuring out what’s driving this behaviour. Once you’ve identified the cause of this behaviour, discuss with your veterinarian the best ways to stop it.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Katherine Khoo
KATHERINE KHOO
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.

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