Why do dogs eat grass?

I hear this question often – “Why do dogs eat grass?”.

It may sound like odd behaviour. It’s not something us humans do (at least I don’t know anyone who strolls into their garden and munches on a clump of grass), so why do dogs eat grass?

There are two reasons, and it’s important to distinguish between the two. The first is to cause vomiting, and the second is because they enjoy it or get nutritional benefit from doing so.

Let’s investigate further…

Eating grass and vomiting

When a dog is feeling ill as a result of gastrointestinal issues or a virus then eating grass can bring on a purgatory effect to clear out their system. This is similar to when we feel sick and instigate it by putting fingers down are throat (gross, but has the desired effect).

This can be normal behaviour for a dog on occassion, maybe once or twice a year, but if it’s a regular occurrence then there’s more reason to be concerned. When a dog eats grass from feeling unwell they are not selective what grass they eat – your lawn, the park, whatever is available. They may attempt to eat large quantities and promptly vomit straight after.

If it’s a common occurrence it’s important to consider their health. It may be a result of poor diet – are they being fed the right food, or is something they’re eating a cause of digestive issues? Hopefully our reviews can help guide you in that respect. It’s also strongly recommended you seek the advice of your vet, as your pet may have a more serious gastrointestinal condition or virus.

Eating grass for nutrients and/or enjoyment

Grass is a leafy green herb, and as such your dog may simply enjoy eating it. Perhaps it offers them nutrients they feel they need that they’re not getting from the food you’re feeding them. Grass contains a number of nutrients, as well as fibre, potassium, and digestive enzymes. If your dog is eating grass for these reasons you may find they’re more selective about the grass they eat, often sniffing out longer grasses around fence posts or trees.

This is common in the canine world, with foxes and dingoes also being culprits for eating grass as part of their diet, so no real cause for concern.

Warning: Avoid grass covered in pesticides or herbicides

If your dog does eat grass, it’s vitally important to ensure they’re not eating grass covered in pesticides or herbicides. They will eat it regardless, so it’s up to you to be responsible for them and take care.

“Why do dogs eat grass?”, written by David D’Angelo

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David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

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