Ask any person if her dog occasionally eats grass and, 99 percent of the time, the answer is most likely “Yes!” Most of us, however, can only guess why this common behavior happens.
I have had 2 dogs who, as far as I can tell, eat grass only when they have an upset stomach; they eat it until it helps them vomit up whatever is bothering them. Other friends of mine have dogs who chew grass more frequently and never vomit, or chew grass and then soil themselves on occasion for no apparent reason.
Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?
The reasons your dog is eating grass may include improving digestion, craving some nutritional need, treating intestinal worms or just because it tastes good.
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So what do the experts say? Here are the results of my search:
1. Upset Stomach
Do dogs eat grass to make themselves vomit, or do they vomit because they are eating grass? Do dogs “know” enough to eat the green stuff when their stomachs are upset?
According to some experts, less than 10 percent of dogs who eat grass appear to be sick — and less than 25 percent vomit as a result of eating grass.
Pica is a condition that causes animals and people to crave things containing certain minerals and nutrients that they are deficient in. Sometimes dogs will eat clods of soil as well.
If your dog is eating grass and soil — or other weird things, like paint chips or licking things that look suspicious — have your veterinarian check for deficiencies. Pica is also considered to be sometimes caused by boredom, and most vets consider it normal dog behavior, according to MedicineNet.com.
If you suspect pica, try to get your dog to exercise more. I’m talking playtime with Frisbees or ball chasing and longer walks — and get him a good sturdy chew thing for when you are away from home.
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3. Territorial Invasion
Some research suggests that dogs may eat grass that has been marked to sniff and taste who has been in their territory. We all know how much more sensitive the dog’s nose is, and how important those sniff postings are on their daily walks.
Just as we enjoy a good salad, maybe dogs actually crave the taste of grass. Grazing on those tender greens may add some enjoyable variety to a canine’s daily protein-packed meals.
Watch this video for more information on why dogs eat grass:
If your pet seems to be a “connoisseur,” plant an area in your yard or grow some of these garden greens in a container.
Beware of Pesticides and Poisons
Gardeners sometimes use toxic pesticides and poisons in many parks and on lawns. Keep this in mind when taking your grass-eating dog to these places and be watchful when he starts nuzzling the lawns.