Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
If you’ve owned a dog for a while, this situation may sound familiar to you. You come home after running a few errands, and you hear a choking sound coming from the backyard. Fearing the worst for your dog, you rush to see what the problem is. Arriving in the backyard, you can see your dog, head down, with bits of grass and saliva right below them.
To many dog owners, dogs eating grass may seem completely unnatural. For a species of animal that loves meat, why eat the grass of all things? And why do many of them spit out the grass? We’re here to answer this seemingly unnatural phenomenon, and if it’s something you should be concerned about.
What is Pica?
While dogs eating grass may seem unnatural, it certainly isn’t the only unconventional food you’ll see them try out. Many dogs exhibit what’s known as pica, a condition wherein they try eating things that aren’t necessarily edible. This can be anything from grass and paper to even more harmful substances, like plastic.
While the cause isn’t exactly known, there are potential ways to minimize pica in dogs. A common reason why dogs end up eating inedible substances is that they lack specific nutrients. If the dog doesn’t feel like they’re well-fed, they may want to find other sources of nutrients. As long as you keep these dogs well-fed, they shouldn’t end up eating grass or anything else.
Another cause for pica may be just the behavior that the dog has. They may have picked up a habit of eating grass somewhere in life, and keeping them well-fed might not be enough. To prevent this, you’ll want to keep them entertained. Give them toys or other dogs to play with – while occupied, they’ll be less likely to wander off and chew on some grass.
Other Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Pica is a common reason as to why dogs eat grass, but over the years, many people have come up with their own explanations as to why they do so. Here are some of the most popular ones:
They lack fiber in their diet
Similar to a pica, a popular explanation as to why dogs eat grass is that they lack fiber in their diet. Fiber is mostly found in plants, and for the meat-loving dogs, you won’t find them chewing on vegetables for the most part. And since grass is a source of fiber, some people argue that dogs eat it to gain their daily dose of fiber.
But why would a dog need fiber? Well, dietary fiber is used to help stimulate the dietary tract. Without fiber, it may be difficult for dogs to digest some foods. The fiber helps by adding a certain degree of roughage so that the food becomes more easily digestible. So while the grass doesn’t make the dog healthier by any means, it can help their bellies.
They want to vomit
This may come as a surprise to some, but dogs do want to vomit – sometimes. Have you ever had an upset stomach, and you just wished you could barf it all up? Well, dogs feel the same way whenever they get an upset tummy. The only difference is that instead of taking medicine as we do, dogs use grass to feel even sicker and vomit.
While it may look like the dog enjoys eating the grass, it’s quite the opposite. Many dogs dislike the taste of grass, which is why they eat it to upset their stomach further and vomit. The reasons for wanting to do this may vary – maybe they ate another foreign, inedible substance, or they ate expired food. Either way, the grass serves as a remedy to an upset tummy for these dogs.
They enjoy doing it
Finally, here’s a simple explanation for your dog eating grass – they simply enjoy it! While it sounds like a convenient explanation, it’s actually more likely than you think. Every dog has their own quirky habit that they enjoy doing. For example, some dogs really enjoy chewing on stones, treating them as if they were toys. Other dogs really love sleeping under cars, too, and would rather stay there than in a fancy dog bed. We can never really tell what’s going on in our dogs’ heads, and for all you know, your dog may just be chewing grass because they think it’s fun.
Should I Be Worried?
Now that you know the different reasons as to why your dog may be chewing grass, you may be wondering if it’s a cause for concern for your dog. And while it may seem unnatural, the fact of the matter is that the act of dogs chewing grass is largely harmless. Sure, it may look weird, but it isn’t something that will likely cause complications in the future.
Now, of course, there are exceptions to this. For example, if your dog is eating grass because they feel like they are lacking nutrients, then you have a bigger problem with your hands. Try to check what you’re feeding your dog to see if it has enough nutrients to keep them healthy. You may be unknowingly underfeeding your dog, and that can cause some serious health issues down the line.
Then there’s the possibility of your dog eating way more grass than expected. Eating a few blades a day isn’t out of the ordinary, but chewing on entire patches can really be worrying. If you think that your dog is eating way too much grass, bring them to the local vet for a check-up.
For many dog owners, seeing their dog eat grass for the first time is definitely a confusing experience. It’s something you’d never think they’d do. Because of this, many dog owners worry for their pets whenever they do it. Dogs eating grass shouldn’t be too much of a concern for owners, though, unless it’s severe. They’re just doing dog things, and that’s what makes them so lovable.