Many dogs eat grass at least once in their lives. As a dog owner, it is legitimate to wonder if this behavior is normal. So why do dogs eat grass? Should we let them? We answer all the questions you may have.
In the vast majority of cases, grass ingestion is normal and should not worry you. However, sometimes it reveals a more serious problem, such as a behavioral disorder or illness, and requires a veterinary consultation.
Dogs eat grass by instinct
They have inherited this behavior from their wolf ancestors. Indeed, the latter, although carnivorous, used to supplement their diet with grasses and berries, rich in fiber. It is thought that this habit may be ingrained in the genes of our dogs even today.
Eating herbs, especially quackgrass (aptly named), would allow dogs to increase their fiber intake when their diet does not contain enough fiber.
And even though most of our dogs are now fed kibble containing all the necessary nutrients, some still eat grass because it is an instinctive behavior.
Dogs eat grass to soothe their digestive system
Eating grass can be a way for your pooch to relieve himself if he's having digestive problems or if he's eaten something that doesn't go down well. Indeed, the presence of grass in the stomach will irritate the intestinal mucous membrane and trigger a regurgitation. This will expel the food that is causing the problem and thus relieve your furry friend. This is why it is generally said that a dog who eats grass purges.
But be careful, contrary to what we are used to believe, eating grass does not allow the dog to worm! In fact, the opposite is true, because the grass eaten may have been soiled by excrement, and thus transmit intestinal parasites. Make sure that your dog is protected with a dewormer regularly.
The consumption of grass by our canine companions can have another reason: pica. This is a behavioral disorder that leads your dog to eat anything and everything: dirt, sand, rocks, etc. If this is the case with your furry friend, you'll find that he doesn't just eat grass, but also other things that are not edible.
If you suspect that your four-legged friend is suffering from pica, you should consult your veterinarian. This eating behavior may also indicate a serious medical condition, such as kidney failure or metabolic disease.
In addition, objects eaten by a dog with pica can cause serious digestive problems, such as intestinal obstruction.
Dogs eat grass because they like the taste
This may sound strange, but it happens! Even though they have a full bowl of food every day, some dogs eat grass as well.
It's possible that they just like the taste.
It could also be a feeding behavior called "craving". This is a craving to eat something that you like. You can see by observing your dog that he doesn't choose just any blade of grass!
Special case: the puppy
Puppies, like human babies, go through a phase during which they discover their environment through their mouth. So there's nothing wrong with your puppy eating grass. It's also possible that he's seen an adult dog do it and is copying the behavior. However, you must be careful because your puppy could ingest a poisonous plant or herb, which could make him sick. So keep a close eye on what he eats. This habit should pass as your puppy gets older.
When should I see my veterinarian?
You should consult your veterinarian if your dog eats grass and shows any of the following signs
- Your dog vomits frequently;
- He also eats other things and suffers from pica;
- His regurgitation contains blood;
- Your dog's general condition is altered.
These symptoms may indicate a more serious health problem and should be seen by a veterinarian without delay.
Now you know all the reasons why dogs eat grass. While this behavior is normal and instinctive, it is important to monitor your dog to make sure that it is not hiding something else.
Finally, make sure that the grass your dog eats is not treated with a pesticide or fertilizer, which could cause poisoning.
Have you ever seen your dog eating grass? Tell us if it happens to him in the comments!