Our dogs sometimes do the most perplexing things, and since they don’t have the power to speak to us with words, it often can be hard to figure out the reason for some of their more mysterious behaviors. One question that has plagued most dog owners is ‘Why does my dog eat grass?”
Truthfully, there isn’t one definite answer! Although veterinarians will usually advise that eating a bit of grass from time to time can be normal for a healthy dog to do, there may be other times when the behavior can be a sign that something’s not quite right with your furry friend.
If your dog seems to be eating a lot of grass at one time, seems obsessed with constantly eating it, or you notice any other abnormalities in your pet, it’s a good idea to bring it up to your veterinarian. Dogs are thought to eat grass for reasons like:
- Nutritional cravings. Just as we humans may eat a nutritionally balanced diet and yet still have cravings for certain foods, it’s thought that our canine companions may occasionally crave grass, for the additional trace nutrients it provides.
- Behavior: Some dogs are compulsively driven to eat non-food objects that don’t have any nutritional value, such as rocks or paper – a behavior called pica. Pica can be a possible sign of a neurological problem, however.
- Illness: Some dogs seem to eat more grass when they’re feeling nauseous, either to help with digestion or seemingly to trigger themselves to vomit. Some dogs with intestinal parasites have also been noted to be drawn to nibbling on grass more often.
- Unknown: Sometimes, no particular reason is discovered for a dog’s grass eating.
So what should you do if your dog is a grass eater? Well, you probably don’t need to rush your furry friend to the vet right away, but you should watch them carefully to gather more information. Is he eating a lot of grass or is the frequency of the behavior increasing? Is their appetite for food normal? Have they vomited at all? Is there any pattern to the grass eating – for example, does my dog eat more grass on days I give him specific treats?
If your vet feels that the grass eating is a concern, they may suggest screening your dog for medical issues. Some tests they may perform are:
- Stool examination to rule out parasites
Many dogs who eat grass occasionally are problem-free, however, so there’s no particular reason to stop your pup from nibbling a blade or two. Just make sure that you don’t treat your lawn with pesticides or fertilizers, and keep them away from poisonous weeds and decorative plants.