Dog professionals often disagree about why dogs eat grass. At the root of the debate, the primary question is, “Do dogs eat grass because they need to throw up or do they throw up because they eat grass?” The one thing that most everyone can agree on is that if your dog is eating grass, he is most likely going to throw up!
There are several theories about why dogs eat grass
The dog’s diet may be lacking in nutrients that are found in leafy greens- creating an urge to eat grass.
If a dog has an upset stomach, he may instinctively eat grass to induce vomiting. This evacuates the stomach of bothersome irritants and may make the dog feel better. Many dogs diagnosed with a sensitive stomach regularly turn to grass in order to throw up. This is likely due to a bile build up in the stomach and the dog instinctively needs to relieve it.
They Like The Taste
Some dogs start out sniffing grass, and progress to eating it accidentally. This may happen when the dog smells the remains of something particularly attractive on the grass blades or directly underneath and is enticed to eat the grass to capture the scent or the remnants of what lies underneath the grass. If this happens often enough, the dog may acquire a taste for grass.
Is it normal dog behavior?
Eating grass is a normal behavior for canines and it is typically safe. Dogs may be more attracted to long, decorative grasses or tall weeds, particularly if they are blowing in the breeze.
Is eating grass harmful to my dog?
Eating grass is not harmful providing it isn’t a regular habit and the grass is free from pesticides. Most commercial pesticides are considered animal safe once the product has fully dried.
Mushrooms are also a cause for concern. If you have a grass eater, check your yard frequently to ensure it is free from mushrooms that may be toxic to your pet.
Routinely eating grass
If your dog is eating grass and vomiting on a regular basis, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian to rule out a stomach ailment.
Additional considerations include:
Eliminate an empty stomach/bile situation by increasing the fiber in your dog’s diet. Raw carrots, green beans and pumpkin are healthy choices. Your veterinarian might also prescribe over the counter fiber supplements or a specialty, high fiber food depending on your pet’s diagnosis.
Help keep your pet’s stomach full by feeding smaller meals more often throughout the day. Providing a cookie or other small snack before bed can also help reduce bile build up overnight.
Stress can also trigger this behavior. Separation anxiety, fear, excessive barking, crying or howling can all create an upset stomach, which typically starts the process of grass eating. If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, your veterinarian or dog trainer can help you identify the root cause and create a plan to make your pet more comfortable.
The goal of all dog training is to provide peaceable solutions to everyday problems so that pets and their owners live harmoniously. Paws in Training provides dog and cat training services in Raleigh, Apex, Holly Springs, Cary, Fuquay Varina and Garner, NC.