It’s a common sight for most dog-owners—as we see our furry friend chowing down on the nearest clump of grass, happy as can be. While it may be a startling sight, dogs eating grass is quite natural, and most veterinarians consider it perfectly normal dog behavior. Even though dogs cannot properly digest grass, it is the most commonly eaten plant by dogs. There are a few explanations about why they could crave a mouthful. Dogs eat grass for various reasons, and while we’re not 100% sure why they do it, we can appreciate their unique motivations and address them accordingly if necessary.
Some people have said that dogs may turn to grass as a snack when they feel nauseous, gassy, or bloated to induce vomiting and make themselves feel better temporarily. This self-remedy is more likely the reason for your dog’s grass-eating if it comes on suddenly, often extending his neck and making gasping gestures before vomiting. Tummy troubles and vomiting can be a sign of something more serious like gastric reflux or IBS, so please consult a veterinarian if vomiting occurs often.
It has been speculated that some dogs still have an appetite for grass that they have maintained from their wild ancestors—wolves. Wolves still eat grasses to clear their stomachs from intestinal parasites and worms. The fiber from the grass increases intestinal movements and helps to move out the worms. So our pets, domestic and parasite-free as they are, may just have inherited this habit.
While grass has very little nutritional value for dogs, the fact that it’s his new favorite snack may be suggesting something about his diet or rather what’s lacking. If your dog is indulging in grass too much, he could be craving nutrients that is lacking in his food. As grass contains high levels of fiber, phytonutrients, chlorophyll, and potassium, you could consider switching him over to a high-fiber diet. You can also add probiotics and digestive enzymes to their meals could help your pooch process food better while fortifying the beneficial bacteria in their gut.
Like many behavioral ‘problems,’ lack of stimulation and exercise could explain your dog’s habit when it comes to eating grass. If a dog is alone in the backyard for an extended period, eating grass could be seen as an easy way to keep busy and pass the time. To keep his choppers off the lawn, ensure that your dog has an ample supply of toys to keep entertained along with a good exercise schedule.
It’s entirely possible that your dog, a natural scavenger, genuinely enjoys sniffing out delicious green grass and even relishes something a little different to his food. If this is the case, it’s essential to know that you do NOT have to prevent your dog from eating grass unless it has been treated with pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals.