While most dogs will happily play and nibble on grass once in a while, some dogs will seemingly munch on grass endlessly. But is this normal dog behavior and should we be concerned about it? In this article, we discuss whether or not it’s safe for puppies to eat grass and what you can do about it.
Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?
If you see that your pup regularly eats a lot of grass, it could leave you wondering why it does this and whether or not it’s part of normal canine behavior. Maybe you’re thinking that it could be an indication that your dog has an upset stomach. Is the dog self-treating a medical problem or maybe it ate something poisonous?
Even if a dog vomits after consuming grass, this doesn’t happen to all dogs. In fact, a majority of dogs can eat grass without going through any symptoms or signs of stomach upset. As such, it’s not likely that dogs eat grass in order to vomit — so why do they do it? Below are just a few reasons why.
Physical Reasons for Eating Grass
Much like humans, dogs also need a high-fiber diet to keep a well-balanced diet, and to ensure that their digestive system is running smoothly. This means that they need plenty of high-quality meat and plant foods to get enough fiber. If you think your pup is eating too much grass, it could be their way of adding a good source of fiber to their diet.
However, if your dog is also showing symptoms of stomach upset while eating grass, there might be more serious health issues. Unfortunately, dogs are vulnerable to many serious medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis. If you notice that your dog suffers from other symptoms such as a lack of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, or decreased energy, then it’s a good idea to take your dog to the vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet.
Psychological Reasons for Eating Grass
Both anxiety and boredom are common reasons why your canine companion might eat the grass on your own lawn. We can’t be sure why dogs like the taste of grass, but this instinctive behavior can be likened to the way that people bite their nails. If your furry friend isn’t showing signs of illness, consider whether your pup has psychological reasons behind munching plant material.
If boredom is the cause of your pup’s desire to eat long grass, then try to increase the distance and intensity of your walks. You can also introduce off-leash running at the dog park or provide more intense activities during their social time. Not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation can lead to a sign of boredom, which is eating a little bit of grass.
Another type of grass-eating comes in the form of separation anxiety, which occurs when dog owners are apart from their four-legged friend for too long. To solve this problem, try leaving a t-shirt or old blanket with a familiar scent whenever you leave the house.
Moreover, there are times when dogs can show obsessive behaviors. If your pup starts obsessively eating or you see a sudden increase in grass vomit around your yard, be sure to speak to your vet to get medical advice.
When is Eating Grass a Concern?
While grass can be a great way to bridge a nutritional deficiency in your dog’s diet, and chewing is considered a normal behavior in dogs, there are potential reasons to worry about grass eating.
When a dog whines and ditches commercial dog food in favor of grass, then it’s likely that there’s a problem with your dog’s digestive tract. When a dog’s stomach is suffering from eating something toxic or your pup has a kidney infection, you can expect it to whine. If your puppy drinks and consumes food normally but keeps whining, it’s time to see the vet.
If your puppy’s stomach contents consist of nothing but grass, its small internal organs won’t be able to handle it and everything can build up and get clumped together. Because your pup won’t be able to pass it, surgery may be needed to remove this obstruction.
Intestinal parasites are common in wild dogs and can be found everywhere. One place in particular to find them is the lawn and the dog park. Younger dogs have natural instincts that make them want to eat grass, which is a quick way to eat a parasite. You can protect your pup from this possibility by giving them a dewormer every month.
Should you notice that your pup is eating and retching grass, it could be due to bloating, gastrointestinal problems, bilious vomiting syndrome, and gastric reflux. Be sure to keep an eye on your pup during this time and quickly contact your vet if needed.
If your puppy eats anything and everything then it may be suffering from a form of pica, a condition where your puppy will eat non-food items. This includes dirt, poop, socks, plastic, garbage, metal, and grass. Potential reasons behind this condition may include a lack of nutrients or a gap in dietary needs.
No matter the reason, this condition doesn’t lead to good health in dogs. It’s also a weird thing for your pup to experience, so visit your vet to get to the root cause and discuss treatment options.
Should You Allow Your Puppy to Eat Grass?
According to experts, eating grass is completely normal, even in healthy dogs. While there’s no nutritional value to be gained from eating any type of grass, there’s also no harm in doing so, provided that they have no herbicides, pesticides, or hazardous fertilizers on them. You can also protect your pup from getting any toxic products inside their bodies by prohibiting the use of products on your lawn.
There are, however, a few grasses and herbs that you can grow in your garden that are actually beneficial for your pup to eat. Here are just a few that you can try in your home:
Is it Safe for Puppies to Eat Grass?
If your pup has a nutritious and well-balanced diet, then there should be no need for them to eat grass. But if your dog keeps eating grass then it’s probably because they enjoy it, or have a natural instinct to do so. Fortunately, dogs that are protected from parasites and healthy should have no problems with eating grass.