Why do dogs eat grass?

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Why do dogs eat grass?

It is common to see dogs who like eating grass. Many owners worry when their dogs eat grass; however, in most cases there is nothing to worry about. But what are the reasons for dogs eating grass?

1- Your Dog Is Following An Ancestral Instinct

Canines are opportunistic scavengers, which means that they eat a variety of foods to meet their nutritional requirements. Dog’s ancestors used to eat their prey completely, including bones, viscera and the grass inside the stomach of some plant-eating animals. In wildlife, some canines also eat fruits and vegetables as part of their diets. Even though some dogs eat plants, they do not possess the enzymes needed to digest vegetable matter. If your dog eats some grass now and then it is probably due to his/her instincts and you have nothing to worry about.

2- Your Dog Has An Upset Stomach

Sometimes your dog may feel bloated or have an upset stomach. In these cases, your dog may eat grass as a natural remedy to relief the upset stomach. Eating grass may help your dog vomit and, therefore, alleviate a stomach problem. If your dog eats grass and then vomits you should keep a close eye on she/he since there might be an underlying disease affecting her/his health. If your dog vomits more than once in a 24-hour period you should take him/her to the vet because this can be an indicator of sickness.

3- Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs Are Not Being Met

Another possible reason for your dog eating grass is that his/her nutritional needs are not being met. Maybe you need to increase the amount of food that you are providing to your dog or you might need to choose another kind of dog food. If you suspect that grass eating is caused as a result of a low fiber diet then you should switch their dog to a food that has higher fiber content. You should consult your dog’s veterinarian to choose the most appropriate food you're your dog.

4-Your Dog Is Bored

It is also possible that your dog is eating grass just because he/she is bored. Remember that dogs need daily physical activity. If you think that your dog is not having enough physical activity consider taking him/her on daily walks or playing with a tennis ball at least 30 minutes each day.  Some dogs can also develop a form of stereotypy behavior (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and become fixated on grass chewing, but this is relatively rare.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Eats Grass?

In most public parks and locations grass is treated with pesticides that can be poisonous to your dog. Pesticides and herbicides are one of the leading causes of pet poisoning. If possible, prevent your dog from eating grass in public places. You should also pay close attention to your dog if he/she is vomiting since this could be a sign of disease. Otherwise, eating grass is considered something normal and you should not worry about it.

Sources:

Goldberg, M. A Vet’s Take On Why Dogs Eat Grass. Retrieved on January 14 from: http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/vet-s-take-why-dogs-eat-grass/297%20#sthash.w2fMeDz8.dpuf

Brannan, A. Why Dogs Eat Grass: How To Train Them To Stop. Retrieved on January 14 from: http://www.caninejournal.com/why-dogs-eat-grass/

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