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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

 by yunus on 25 May 2016 |
6 Comment(s)
Every dog owner’s seen his pet rush to the door only to chow down on the nearest patch of grass. While common knowledge holds that this is a quick fix for Fido to make himself sick, vets have largely debunked this myth. Dogs lack the enzymes needed to digest grass, too, meaning there is little nutritional value in their grazing. So the question remains: Why do dogs engage in this seemingly senseless behavior?
 
Unlike their feline counterparts, dogs are not full-fledged carnivores. For thousands of years, canines operated as opportunist omnivores, scavenging most anything that met their dietary needs. Modern dogs, however, no longer eat like their predecessors. While wild dogs often ate their prey in its entirety, including the stomach contents of plant-eating animals, our pets consume a very different diet. This may explain why some seek out grass as an alternative food source. Some theorize that grass helps improve digestion, especially in cases where Fido is lacking in fiber.
 
While eating plant matter may come naturally to dogs, this doesn’t explain why your canine companion sometimes throws up after eating grass. Some theorize that dogs intentionally graze on grass to make themselves sick when they’re not feeling well— to ease nausea or bloating, to clear a blocked digestive tract, or as a reaction to parasites or bacteria, for example. Evidence suggests the vast majority of foraging canines aren’t ill when they start eating grass, however, and veterinarians have found that less than a quarter of dogs that eat grass regularly throw up afterwards.
 
While some dogs seek out grass and other vegetables matter due to nutritional deficiencies or an upset stomach, vets believe many cases of “pica” — eating things that aren’t food, including grass — are simply a sign of boredom. If you suspect your dog’s pica is due to under-stimulation, ensure he’s getting enough exercise by engaging him in fun activities such as playing interactive games together or buying him a chew toy. If, on the other hand, you suspect your dog’s grazing is due to a nutritional deficiency, try switching to a higher quality dog food with more fiber. Some dogs, however, may continue eating grass simply because they like eat. Though experts agree that grazing isn’t harmful in and of itself, pesticides used on lawns can be toxic when ingested by your canine companion. And while some afternoon snacking on grass is normal, you should take your dog to the vet if he seems distressed or eats grass often in order to vomit, as these may be signs of underlying veterinary conditions.

Comment(s)6

Bob Lersch - Comment
Bob Lersch27 May 2016Reply
We have found that the dogs are trying to get MSM that is in the tips of the grass. Feeding them MSM stops the grass eating. They throw up the grass because they have absorbed the MSM and have no need for the grass itself.
Vickie - Comment
Vickie27 May 2016Reply
What is MSM?
Bob Lersch - Comment
Bob Lersch27 May 2016Reply
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a natural supplement that is available at almost any health food store. The powdered version is easier to work with. 1/4 teaspoon for every 50 lbs seems to work well. I just sprinkle it on the food. It really helps old dogs and helps with skin issues too.
Richard  - Comment
Richard 27 May 2016Reply
What is MSM, and how do you feed it to your dog?
Libby Henry - Comment
Libby Henry27 May 2016Reply
My dogs like to eat only certain types of grassy plants. When we are out walking, they forage through what's growing on the side of the road, but only eat one kind of plant.
Lisette - Comment
Lisette28 May 2016Reply
My girl has always been a grass eater. She doesn't throw up afterwards. Just likes to nibble on blades every once in a while. She's always had a clean bill of health and feed her higher end kibble and veggies.
Shelley Little - Comment
Shelley Little23 Jun 2016Reply
My German Shepherd has eaten grass when hiking for over 7 1/2 years, she always throws it up after if she eats enough of it. I do believe it is because she has an upset tummy, however, she only eats a certain type of grass, I have never seen her munch down any of her own large lawn or any one elses. Most of the long bladed healthy looking green grass she eats grows along rivers or near water, or damper ground. Twice when I knew she was sick, she ate more of it, & vomited more. She won't vomit it if she has only eaten a few blades. My dog gets more exercise and outings than most are able to provide, and eats a top line of dog food that has kept her stool healthily consistent. I grew up on a hobby farm, it seems many vets still don't have answers, but I feel the only thing that causes this is an 'instinct', to rid anything that gets into there system that causes the least little bit of upset, & it doens't have to be much. Drinking unhealthy water at times is what I believe causes, it most of the time. If they are really forging for grass like crazy, and do it all the time, then they likely should see a vet. However, if your food is of good quality, and you allow your dog to eat any vegetables it might want is great and should be fed to them in their diet. Mine will only eat veggies if smothered in meat lol Dogs need lots of freedom, as in running in fields etc, and should be loved as part of the family, like children :) Their attachment is as strong as a child's and I believe much stronger even. Dogs need their grass, but like a certain type of grass, and I believe completely that it helps them rid themselves of 'troubles' ... good luck everyone with your animal family members! :) And thanks Bob Lersch for your information, I shall look into the MSM thing, sounds like this could be another reason they have this craving every so often, or often, depending :)
R Godfrey - Comment
R Godfrey22 Jul 2016Reply
My dog eats dirt as well as grass but never brings it up.
She will dig a hole for the dirt..

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