Why do dogs eat grass, this is something we dog owners constantly scratch our heads about when we see our dog munching on blades of grass. We worry they might have health problems either because they eat grass or after they have eaten some grass.
There is quite a list of explanations for why do dogs eat grass. As unusual as it might look to see your dog trying to graze, it’s in fact very common for many dogs. So what is there to be done if your dog eats grass?
Why do dogs eat grass?
The fancy medical name for eating things that are not food is pica, and a dog eating grass falls under that description. The general theory about why dogs eat grass is that they make themselves sick to throw up something they’ve eaten.
Another theory says that by eating grass a dog might need to compensate for some lack of nutrients. Unfortunately, these theories are just that, theories, as there are no factual studies that support either. Sometimes the reason dogs eat grass is because they like it, which usually happens more with fresh grass in spring.
When it becomes a problem?
Like with anything, excess is a problem and your dog eating too much grass can have side effects. Some factors come into play that can affect your dogs due to their grass-eating needs.
For one, the grass could have been sprayed with pesticides which can be harmful to your dog. It’s possible that small amounts of pesticides won’t have drastic side effects but better to be safe, especially if they eat a lot of grass.
Another thing that can go wrong is lungworms, which are not good for your dogs. These worms come from snails and slugs that slither around in the grass. Usually, lungworms are not always included in the worming treatment, but you can talk with your vet about it.
Why does my dog throw up after eating grass?
A dog can vomit because of various reasons, some of which are more dangerous than others.
A few regular causes of vomiting are:
- Infections of the gastrointestinal tract
- Dietary changes
- Food allergies
- Sensitive stomachs
Grass eating is not among these but pesticides on the grass and parasitic leftovers can lead the any of the causes above. Sometimes it seems the blades of grass either irritate the stomach or scratch a dog’s throat and cause vomiting.
Nothing is conclusive, however, and the jury is still out on why some dogs just puke minutes after ingesting grass.
When to be concerned?
Occasional grass-eating and vomiting are normal for many dogs. They like some grass and sometimes, not every time, throw it up.
Some extreme cases where you should seek expert help are the following:
- Your dog doesn’t want to eat normal food
- Eating grass in large amounts
- Your dog looks unwell, hours after after eating grass
What to do about your dog’s grass-eating habits?
You can help your dog traverse this period of grass-eating. If you know your dog eats too much grass, make sure to have them on a leash. Pay attention while walking and stop them when they start eating grass.
Find out if your vet can give your dog some worming treatment that tackles lungworms. If you cannot under any circumstance avoid going into grassy areas, use distractions. Food, toys, exercise, anything that motivates your dog, use it as a distraction to avoid letting them eat grass.
Conclusions – why do dogs eat grass?
Sometimes dogs simply like the taste of grass, and might just want to eat something they enjoy. Don’t fault them for it and don’t scold them because of it. Use reasonable methods to distract them from eating grass, and make sure they are protected from any pests that can cause harm.