Many dog owners become quite puzzled when they see their canine eating grass. Why do dogs eat grass? It is a common misconception that if you see your dog eating grass, that means they have a stomachache. In addition to this, according to the American Kennel Club, no matter how balanced a diet you are feeding your dog, they may still choose to chomp down on your grass like a lawnmower. Is eating grass harmful to your dog? What if he vomits after he eats it? Let’s take a look at how the experts weigh in on the subject.
Defining the Situation
When a dog (or a person for that matter) decides to eat something that is not food, this condition is called pica. Some examples include grass, paper, rocks and dirt. In some cases, having pica can indicate that a nutritional deficiency is present, however this isn’t the case most of the time. Keep this in mind. Dogs enjoy eating all sorts of things that we as humans generally find repulsive…cat poo out of the litter box anyone?
Possible Reason #1: A Tasty Treat
Dogs may choose to eat grass because they enjoy the taste of it. A natural scavenger, your dog is naturally inclined to hunt for nutrients wherever they can be found. He or she may enjoy the texture of this earthy delicacy, along with its unique flavor. Nibbling on the lawn may be giving your dog the fiber that is missing from their diet. If you think your dog may be eating grass to up their fiber intake, consult your vet about possibly switching to a dog food that is higher in fiber.
Possible Reason #2: Boredom
It is also possible that your dog is eating grass simply because he or she is bored. Does your dog have any activities to keep him occupied while outside? Are you spending time walking and/or playing with your pup on a regular basis? People have busy schedules, and don’t always have time to give their dogs the attention they deserve. However, the experts suggest that in some cases, simply providing your dog with a chew toy can make your dog stop chewing on the lawn.
What About Vomiting?
Studies indicate that less than 25% of dogs vomit after they have eaten grass. The argument becomes, did the dog eat the grass to vomit in order to feel better, or did eating the grass make them sick? Experts believe that it is not likely that dogs turn to grass eating as a form of self-medication. This is supported by the fact that only 10% of the dogs in their studies showed any signs of sickness before consuming the green stuff.
Is Eating Grass Safe for Your Dog?
Here is the bottom line. The grass itself is not harmful for your dog to consume. However, the pesticides and herbicides that may have been sprayed upon it may be toxic for your dog. In addition to this, your dog may inadvertently consume hookworms or roundworms that may be present in the grass. Either one of these situations make grass-eating for your dog a bad idea.