Why Is My Dog Eating Grass?

Monroe dog owners might often wonder why dogs eat grass, and if it's safe. Today our Monroe Veterinary Clinic team shares some of the reasons why dogs eat grass, and when you should be concerned.

Why Dogs Eat Grass

Worried pet parents are often left confused about why their dogs seem to consider grass a tasty treat. In fact, many dogs will eat grass, vomit, and then go right back to eating grass again.

Is this a sign that your pooch feels GI discomfort and needs to throw up to dislodge an object or 'self-treat' an undiagnosed medical issue? Has the dog eaten something poisonous? 

Some dogs do in fact vomit after eating grass, but that's not the case for all dogs. The majority of dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. So it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Then why do they do it?

Physical Reasons for Grass-Eating in Dogs

Like people, dogs need fiber to keep their digestive systems in good shape. Dogs are omnivores, which means that good health relies on plant foods as well as high-quality meat. Eating grass could be your dog's way of adding roughage to their diet, helping to keep things flowing through their digestive tract.

That said, if your dog is eating grass but also showing signs of stomach upset, there may be a medical problem. Dogs can suffer from a number of stomach and gastrointestinal issues including conditions like pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog eats grass and has other symptoms (e.g. lack of appetite, lower energy, diarrhea, or constipation) it's a good idea to take your pup to the vet for a physical examination.

Psychological Reasons for Grass-Eating in Dogs

Dogs will often munch on grass because of boredom or anxiety (much the same way that jittery or nervous people might bite their nails.) If your dog isn't displaying any symptoms of digestive issues but munches relentlessly on grass, consider psychological reasons for their behavior.

If you suspect your dog is eating grass out of boredom, try increasing the length, distance, or intensity of walks to help reduce the behavior. 

Separation anxiety could also be the reason that your dog is eating grass. Try leaving an old blanket or t-shirt with your scent on it with your dog when you leave the house. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring and help to curb their grass-eating habit.

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 safe for dogs to eat grass?

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.

If your dog's habitual grass-eating is concerning to you, contact our Monroe vets to book an appointment for your dog. Our experienced vets can help you maintain your dog's optimal health.