Dog owners know that their canine companions may not be the pickiest of eaters, which means we need to be vigilant about what they are consuming. One of the more puzzling items on a dog’s menu is grass. Why do they eat grass, and is it safe?
Why do dogs eat grass?
Dogs are omnivores, which means their diet consists of meat and plants. The domesticated dog’s cousins—coyotes and wolves—have been known to eat plants, including berries and grass. Although we don’t know the exact reason dogs eat grass, we’ve outlined three theories here:
1. Dogs may eat grass for the nutrition
If your dog’s diet lacks fiber, some believe he will eat grass to make up for the nutrient deficiency.
2. Dogs may eat grass to induce vomiting
It is thought that eating grass can cause vomiting, so one theory suggests that if a dog has an upset stomach, he may instinctively eat grass as a way to make himself vomit.
3. Dogs may eat grass because it’s a natural behavior
Some researchers don’t believe dogs eat grass to induce vomiting or to supplement their nutrient intake. Instead, they view grass-eating as a natural behavior that some dogs enjoy or do when they’re bored. The behavior also could have evolved from wild dogs who ate plants to help control intestinal parasites and to increase intestinal motility.
Is grass healthy for dogs to eat?
If your dog has made a habit out of chowing down on grass, don’t worry—the grass itself won’t harm your furry pal. But, to keep your grass-eating friend safe, don’t forget about the following:
- Toxic plants: While grass isn’t toxic, other plants in and around your outdoor space can cause serious health problems for your dog.
- Pesticides: Follow recommendations from manufactures and ensure any pesticides or chemicals you use on your lawn are safe for pets.
- Parasites: Intestinal parasites are passed through feces. Even after the feces are picked up, infective larvae remain. If your dog eats the larvae, he may develop an intestinal infection that leads to gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
- Hard materials: If consumed, rocks, sticks, and mulch can become lodged in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract and require surgery to remove.
If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s eating habits, contact us for help.