Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Have you ever taken your dog outside only to find your furry friend enjoying a surprise snack? According to studies, roughly four out of every five dogs eat grass from time to time, but what makes grass so appealing to our canine companions? Keep reading to find out why your dog eats grass and what pet parents should do if it becomes a problem.
Why is My Dog Eating Grass?
The answer can depend on how your dog feels or if they’re trying to accomplish something. There are multiple theories about why your dog is really into snacking on grass.
Something is missing in their diet
One reason why dogs like grass is that they feel like it will help them fill the need for extra fiber. A high fiber diet helps support a healthy intestinal tract and digestion. If a dog isn’t getting enough fiber in their normal meals, they may feel the need to chew on some grass to help them digest.
Habits can be really hard to break, especially when they’re passed on from generation to generation. Wild dogs have snacked on grass for centuries when they needed to supplement their diets with more than just raw animal protein. Domesticated dogs don’t need to snack on grass to survive, but their instincts may convince them to chomp on some grass if it feels right to them.
Sometimes dogs need to find something to occupy their time. Whether they stumbled upon an intriguing smell or just need something to do, your dog may turn their attention to some nearby grass to keep themselves entertained.
They like the taste of grass
The simplest possibility is that your dog is just a fan of grass. All it takes is a single try to discover whether they like the taste or texture of grass. If your dog is a frequent grass chomper, they might not need any other reason to start chewing.
Can Dogs Eat Grass?
While we know that chewing on grass is a common dog behavior, should they partake in this particular habit? According to research from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, grass consumption isn’t necessarily all that bad depending on your dog.
One common myth that researchers found is that some people assumed that dogs are likely to vomit after eating grass. The UC Davis study found that only 22% of dogs regularly vomited after their grassy treat, and the majority of those dogs were younger pups who overdid snack time. As a result, researchers found that grass isn’t inherently bad for your dog in moderation.
Of course, there are some clear caveats to grass being fine for dogs. There are a few different situations that can cause problems for your best friend:
- Eating too much of anything can be an issue. Keep watch to make sure your dog isn’t turning a grass-chewing habit into a whole meal.
- Grass can be treated with pesticides and herbicides that can be toxic to dogs. Be careful if you don’t know how the grass has been treated in the past.
- Dogs can eat more than just grass. Your dog may also eat up trash, food, and even animal droppings, the latter of which can hold intestinal parasites that can harm your dog.
- Grass may not be toxic, but other plants can be. Make sure your dog isn’t eating any foxgloves, daffodils, or other plants that are bad for dogs.
How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Grass
Whether you’re worried about your dog getting into something bad or simply eating too much grass, you’ll need to address the situation. The good news is that there are a variety of methods that you can use to keep your dog from eating grass.
One of the simplest ways to prevent your dog from eating grass is to prevent the problem in the first place. Bad habits often form when dogs can repeat certain behaviors, which is why Professional Animal Trainer Joel Silverman recommends getting ahead of the problem.
The easiest form of prevention is to not have your dog get into a situation where they can chew on grass. If you’re worried about your dog ingesting grass with pesticides or other substances, don’t leave them unsupervised in other yards or other places.
It’s hard to avoid grass altogether, so keeping your dog on a leash and staying vigilant is important. A light pull on the leash and telling your dog to leave something alone can help reinforce good behavior while your dog is out and about.
Use a deterrent
You can’t always prevent your dog from getting into grass, but you can create deterrents to limit how much they’ll interact with it. Fencing and other physical barriers will deter dogs from accessing certain parts of your yard with bigger problem areas than others, such as a garden or spots where your dog can hide from sight.
If you can’t set up a physical deterrent, there are some products you can use to steer your dog away from snuffling around in certain areas. Deterrent sprays can make grass taste or smell bad to dogs, making them less enticing. Some sprays can work better on some dogs than others, so you’ll need to test them out to see what’s effective for your dog.
Give them something else to chew
Don’t want your dog to chew on grass? Give them something that they can gnaw. Eating grass and other bad behaviors are often caused by boredom, so redirecting your dog’s attention can be a simple solution.
One of the best solutions for a dog that wants to chomp on some grass is to give them a chew toy. Chewing is a natural impulse for dogs, so giving them something they can play with before they go out can help them get that urge out before they see grass. It’s also a good idea to have a toy on hand while you’re out in case your dog sees some grass that intrigues them.
Adjust their dog food
If you think your dog is chowing down on grass because they’re hungry or need help with digestion, it’s time to reevaluate their dog food.
It’s important that you start with kibble that delivers high-quality nutrition. Look for a good dog food like our Adult Select Formula that starts with fresh animal protein, provides canine specific probiotics, and Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids your best friend needs to get the complete and balanced meal they deserve.
Your dog food of choice is also important if your dog turns to grass for digestive help. Slow-cooked dog food is easier on sensitive stomachs than major brands that cook and shape their kibble under high temperature and pressure. Add in gentler ingredients like whitefish and a proprietary fiber blend in our Sensitive Solutions Skin & Stomach Support Formula and you can help address that upset stomach without any grass-snacking sessions.
Supporting Your Best Friend, One Day at a Time
Dogs are curious creatures, so it’s no surprise that they’ll check out grass and other potential snacks from time to time. As pet parents, it’s our job to make sure to that their curiosity – and sometime vast appetites – aren’t getting them into any trouble.
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