You are walking along with your dog enjoying the sunshine when it happens. They find a nice patch of green grass and start chomping away. While this can be quite common, is it actually safe for our furry friends? Our East Setauket vets talk about why dogs eat grass and if it is actually safe for them to do so.
Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?
Dogs seem to love eating grass and this can leave their owners wondering why. Especially since many dogs will eat grass, vomit, and then return to eating grass.
Could this be an indication that something in the dog's stomach needs to be brought to the surface? Is there anything poisonous in the dog's stomach? Is the dog self-treating a medical condition that has yet to be diagnosed?
While you may witness certain dogs vomit after eating grass, this isn't actually common among all dogs. The vast majority of dogs eat grass with no signs or symptoms of stomach upset. As a result, it appears that dogs do not eat grass to induce vomiting. Why do they do it, then?
Your Dogs Eats Grass: What are the physical reasons?
Dogs, like people, require fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system. Dogs, after all, are omnivores. This means that plant foods, as well as high-quality meat, are essential for good health. The grass is a simple way for your dog to get more roughage in their diet, which can help keep things moving through their digestive tract.
However, if your dog is eating grass but also displaying symptoms of stomach upset, there could be a medical issue. Dogs can develop a variety of stomach and gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and has other symptoms like a lack of appetite, low energy, diarrhea, or constipation, you should take him to the vet for a checkup.
What are the psychological reasons why a dog eats grass?
Dogs will frequently eat grass out of boredom or anxiety, similar to how people bite their nails. Consider psychological reasons for your dog's behavior if they aren't showing any signs of digestive problems but are constantly munching on grass.
If your dog is simply bored, increasing the length, distance, or intensity of his walks could help him stop eating grass.
Separation anxiety may also be the cause of your dog's grass-eating. When you leave the house, leave an old blanket or t-shirt with your scent on it with your dog. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring, which will help them stop eating grass.
Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet will be able to advise you on how to help your pup reduce obsessive behaviors.
Is it healthy for my dog to eat grass?
You may be wondering if it is safe for dogs to eat grass. Typically the answer is yes. If your dog is otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe behavior.
To help keep your grass-nibbling pooch healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.