Why Dogs Eat Grass
Many dog-owners can attest that their dogs often act
as their own personal lawn mowers, "trimming" the lawn
whenever they are outside. Sometimes dogs appear to
be merely supplementing their diets, while others are
known to eat grass and almost immediately throw it up.
Inevitably, many have found themselves asking why their
dog eats grass.
It is thought that dogs who devour grass only to throw
it up actually cause themselves to vomit on purpose.
A dog who partakes in this behavior usually does so
because they have an upset stomach, and deliberately
devours grass without completely chewing it. As they
swallow this grass, in-tact blades of grass tickle the
dog's esophagus, causing them to vomit and, oftentimes,
providing the dog with relief.
Why, then, do some dogs appear simply to snack on grass?
Dogs act as scavengers, and are highly opportunistic
in choosing their food sources. Therefore, a hungry
dog, or a dog of a breed known to eat voraciously, may
be inclined to nibble on grass, chewing it thoroughly
so as not to induce vomiting. Dogs may also eat grass
because they enjoy its texture. Lastly, dogs might also
eat grass out of necessity; it is believe that dogs
may consume grass when their diets need more roughage.
Though some may worry that eating grass could be unhealthy
for their dog, there is actually some nutritional value
in grass, and most veterinarians argue that dogs should
not be discouraged from eating grass. In addition to
being a source of fiber, grass contains important nutrients
that dogs may crave. This is particularly true of dogs
who subsist on commercially available food, which may
not always offer a sufficient supply of such nutrients.
There are, however, potential downsides for dogs who
habitually eat grass. Though grass itself is not harmful
to dogs, grass may be grown with harmful chemicals and
pesticides. A dog owner who is concerned about this
may want to consider buying or growing a small tray
of grass or starting a small herbal garden in their
home for their dog. Grass may also host the eggs of
parasites that can afflict a dog's intestines. However,
this should only be of concern to owners of dogs who
do not take heartworm medication, as heartworm medication
also protects against common intestinal parasites.
A dog's habit of eating grass is generally only a cause
of concern if a dog abruptly begins to eat a large amount
of grass or a significantly greater amount than they
normally do. This behavior may be worrisome not because
of any properties of the grass, but because it may suggest
an underlying health problem that the dog is trying
to self-medicate. Should this happen, it is best that
the dog's owner immediately consults a veterinarian.
Though many dog-owners may find it bizarre, frustrating,
or worrisome, the tendency of dogs to eat grass is overall
natural and safe, and is nothing to fret over.