Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

I would bet that this is one of the most asked questions in all of veterinary medicine. The fact of the matter is no one knows for sure why dogs eat grass, but there are a number of prevailing theories. The good news is most veterinarians consider this normal behavior. Dogs don’t gain any nutritional value from grass (they lack the necessary enzymes to break down the fibers), but it is not particularly harmful.

Nausea: The most common theory about dogs eating grass is that doing so relieves nausea by inducing vomiting or that it temporarily soothes an irritated/upset stomach.  This could be true if it happens out of the blue or on occasion and the dog shows signs of trying to vomit– like licking the air and making swallowing motions. But most studies have found that this is actually quite rare — less than 25 percent of dogs vomit after eating grass and only 10 percent showed signs of illness beforehand.

Boredom: It could be that your dog is eating grass simply because he doesn’t have anything else to do. Make sure your pup is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day. Also you can try chew toys or treat balls to help keep him occupied.

Nutritional Deficiency: Another theory is that the dog is experiencing some sort of dietary insufficiency. This theory is not proven but feeding your dog better quality dog food high in fiber will alleviate any nutritional worries.

It’s Enjoyable: One other belief is that dogs just like the taste of grass and it is a fun and natural behavior. There is even evidence of wild dogs eating grass.

Again, most veterinarians believe that eating grass isn’t harmful, but you must keep mind is that certain herbicides and pesticides can be quite toxic if ingested, along with certain plants. Please check the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center web site for a comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

 

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