Why Do Dogs Eat Grass, And Is It Bad For Them?

I take my little dog out for a two-mile walk twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Like most (if not all) dogs, he will check out interesting things to eat or chew on as we walk. For some reason, he is especially interested in grass.

As we walk along, there are times he surveys the different types of grasses growing like hes choosing what looks best at a salad bar before diving in. I pull him away from what looks like wild onions, since I learned that onions are in the allium family, which is toxic for dogs and cats.

Sometimes, however, I let him chew a little grass because he seems to like it. I have seen no harm from it, and Ive always believed the old wives tale that dogs eat grass when theyre sick so they can get better. But is that really why dogs eat grass?

Is Grass Bad For Dogs?

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LittleThings / Morgan Swofford

I do not know of any grasses that are toxic to dogs, but I would not say that grass is good for dogs, said Jessica Potosky, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). They definitely dont need to eat it.

Ive always watched dogs eat grass and thought, Aww, how cool; he has a natural instinct that tells him to eat grass when hes sick. But apparently, thats not really the case. Weve all seen dogs eat grass and then throw up, but the experts say dogs dont need to eat grass.

Fewer than 10 percent of dogs seem to be sick before eating grass, according to their owners and less than 25 percent of dogs that eat grass vomit regularly after grazing,WebMD Petsstates.

This does not mean, however, that only 25 percent of dogs eat grass. Most of them do, apparently. WebMD Pets alsocites a small-scale study of 49 dogs in which 79 percent of the dogs with regular access to plants had eaten them.

Grass can be bad for dogs if it has been sprayed or treated with herbicides, pesticides, or even fertilizers. If youre not sure, then its best to not let your dog eat the grass.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

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There are several theories as to why dogs eat grass, though most veterinarians agree that it is normal dog behavior.

One possibility is that a dog may be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease or acid reflux. Dr. Michael Goldberg told Modern Dog Magazinethat hes occasionally seen dogs lick the air, stretch out their necks and show swallowing behavior before rushing outside to find some grass. They eat it furiously, and then throw up. Following these dogs endoscopically, Dr. Goldberg has found that they often have prevalent conditions in their digestive tracts that might indicate inflammatory bowel disease or acid reflux. This is not to say that inflammatory bowel disease or acid reflux is a common condition in dogs. However, if your dog continues to get sick after eating grass, you may want to take him to the vet to be checked.

Another theory by experts is that dogs may eat grass because their digestion or nutrition is poor or they may have contracted worms. They may be eating grass to attempt to fix what is wrong or to get whatever is lacking in their diet.

Unless she suddenly starts eating grass when she has never done it before, there is no reason to be worried. But the reverse is also true. Dr. Potosky says that if your dog doesnt normally eat grass but suddenly begins to eat it all the time, then your baby needs a visit with the vet because there may be a gastrointestinal issue going on.

Dogs also may eat grass just because they like the taste of it or feel hungry. She could also be eating grass because shes bored, just as they may be when it seems like shessleeping all the time. Is your dog getting enough exercise? Does she have any balls or chew toys when shes outside by herself with all that grass? Is she getting enough Mommy/Daddy time with you? Maybe its time to remedy the situation.

Should I Let My Dog Eat Grass?

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LittleThings / Morgan Swofford

Dogs dont need to eat grass, but as long as the grass hasnt been sprayed or treated with pesticides or fertilizers then it shouldnt be toxic for your dog to eat. But we do need to watch what our dogs eat and look out for red flags that could suggest a problem.

My dog has never vomited after eating grass and seems to just like the taste of it. If he occasionally chews on a blade of ordinary grass or two, Ill let him and not be concerned. Its certainly a lot better than some of the things he tries to eat!

A couple of weeks ago, I was worried Mason had eaten some berries from my neighbors holly trees. After calling my vet, I learned that holly berries can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Fortunately, Mason never suffered any side effects whatsoever, so he probably wasnt chewing on one of those little red berries. Still, the experience made me realized the importance of monitoring what our dogs eat.

What If My Dog Is Eating Grass And Vomiting?

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LittleThings / Morgan Swofford

If your dogs vomit every time after eating grass and youre concerned, its best to go to a vet. While eating grass can be common in dogs, its best to rule out any possibilities of a hidden health problem.

If you have learned things from this article that will help you in understanding and taking care of your dog, please SHARE with your friends and other dog owners so that they can also benefit.

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