Pet parents often ask our Brentwood veterinarians why their dog keeps eating grass, and whether it is safe. In this post, our vets list some reasons dogs eat grass, and when you should be concerned.
Why Dogs Eat Grass
If you discover your dog is eating grass, you might be scratching your head as to why - or even concerned enough to ask your vet about why your pup seems to love dining on the green stuff. In fact, many dogs will eat grass, vomit, then return to eating grass.
You may wonder if this indicates your dog feels there is something in your stomach that needs to be brought up, or if your pooch has eaten something poisonous. You might even suspect your dog may be treating an undiagnosed medical condition that should be treated at our Brentwood veterinary clinic.
While some dogs do in fact vomit after eating grass, that's not the case for all dogs. Most dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. So, it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. But if that true, why is this still happening?
Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Similar to their humans, dogs require fiber to keep their digestive system running smoothly - after all, dogs are omnivores. This means they need plant foods in addition to high-quality meat to stay healthy. Eating grass might be an easy way for your pup to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep themselves regular when it comes to their digestive tract and the process of digestion.
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 such as pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and has other symptoms such as lack of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, it's a good idea to take your pup to our Brentwood vet clinic for an examination.
Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass
Dogs will often eat grass due to boredom or anxiety in much the same way that people will 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 your dog could simply be suffering from boredom, increasing the length, distance or intensity of walks could help to reduce grass eating.
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 at our Brentwood animal hospital will be able to advise you on how to help your pup reduce obsessive behaviors.
Is it safe for my dog 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.
At our Brentwood pet hospital, our vets are always happy to answer any questions you may have about your pet's psychological or physical health, and perform a routine exam if necessary.
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.