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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: July 24, 2017
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

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The first time I saw a dog eating grass I was left wondering what on earth was wrong with the poor animal. Maybe they were ill? Hungry? Bored? Or did the poodle think they were a sheep? At the time I found it strange, but it turns out it's not such an uncommon behavior. While many first-time dog owners might be as confused as I was, it is simply a little-known but normal habit.

Unlike cats, dogs aren't complete carnivores. This means that, without becoming omnivores, these animals don't only eat meat.

In this AnimalWised article we will answer the question why do dogs eat grass? Keep reading and discover the reason behind this strange behavior:

You may also be interested in: Why Do Cats Eat Grass?

Why does my dog eat grass?

Much has been speculated about the reasons why dogs feel compelled to eat grass, and many hypotheses have been developed, but the only thing that has been agreed on is that there is not one single cause:

  • The most widely accepted theory - although by no means necessarily correct - is that dogs eat grass and other herbs to detoxify themselves or to alleviate a gastrointestinal problem. In accordance with this, consuming grass would make dogs vomit and therefore rid the body of any toxic which is causing them discomfort. Whilst this may be true in some cases, the issue with this theory is that not all dogs vomit after eating grass. In fact, the majority don't. It is a bit of a myth.
  • Another alternative proposal is that dogs are looking to obtain the fiber that they need to improve their digestion. This would especially help dogs that don't have enough fiber in their diets and those who are fed on exclusively on dog food and other dry industrially-made products.
  • Finally, there are some dogs who seem to simply like eating grass. It's possible that some dogs like the taste of grass and enjoy eating it. It's almost like a small appetizer.

In any of the above cases - getting rid of toxins, improving digestion or purely for pleasure -, the act of eating grass would improve dogs' digestive problems. It's possible that all theories are right, and that in some cases dogs remove toxic substances by vomiting, whilst in others they improve their digestion by consuming more fiber.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? - Why does my dog eat grass?

Is it dangerous for my dog to eat grass?

Normally there is no risk in doing so, especially if you follow the dog vaccination schedule. In many cases, even a first-time dog owner can notice that their dog has alleviated their upset stomach after eating grass.

However, there are situations in which eating grass can be harmful for your dog. If the lawn has been treated with pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, its consumption can be harmful and even lethal for the dog. This is the reason why dog-friendly grass seeds are available on the market, which you can plant in a small flowerpot for when your dog feels the urge to eat it.

On the other hand, if your dog eats grass very regularly, it's recommended to go to the vet for a general check up. There may be some gastrointestinal problem, or it might be advisable to change its diet. If, besides eating grass, your dog vomits frequently, it's urgent that you take it to the vet. Occasional vomiting (once or twice a year) isn't uncommon in young dogs and puppies, but more often than this can be a sign that something bad is happening.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? - Is it dangerous for my dog to eat grass?

If you want to read similar articles to Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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