Have you ever been outside with your dog and caught them munching on grass? Ever wonder why they do it?
Since your dog is not a goat or a cow, you would think there would be no reason for them to eat grass. However, there are possible explanations for it. It’s an activity observed in both wild and domesticated dogs, and is even considered by some veterinarians to be a normal canine behavior.
One theory suggests that pica could potentially be the cause of their grass eating habits. Pica is the condition in which an animal (humans and other species, as well) eat strange non-food items.
Another theory is the fact that dogs are omnivorous, eating meat, vegetables, and other foodstuff. This is common with wild dogs, where they scrounge up anything they can for survival. When your dog eats grass, this may be an instinctual response. This could also be an effort on the dog’s part to get more fiber into their diet.
However, dogs lack the enzymes necessary to break down the fiber found in grass and so they are unable to obtain any nutritional value from munching on grass.
There is the common myth that dogs use grass to induce vomiting in an effort to relieve of their upset stomach. However, this is not true, as studies show there are very few dogs that vomit either before or after eating grass, and have no detectable illness during the time of the grass eating. Regardless, some behavioral scientists believe that grass could potentially be a stomach irritant, and if so, dogs have correlated vomiting with eating grass as a means to feel better.
Lastly, it is believed that dogs may eat grass simply for the fact that they like it. According to the Veterinary Centers of America (VCA), dogs are fine connoisseurs of grass, often eating it in the spring time when it’s freshly emerging.
Cause for Concern?
Generally, grass eating is not dangerous in most cases. However, be mindful of any possible herbicides and pesticides sprayed on lawns and parks that may be harmful if ingested.
If you want your pooch to stop eating grass, WebMD has several useful tips. The first suggestion is more exercise for your dog, may it be with walks, games of frisbee, or other fun activities. Another suggestion is switching to a better dog food, particularly one with more fiber.
As long as you keep an eye on what grass your dog eats, there is nothing wrong or strange with the habit!