Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

Sometimes your dog eats so much grass that you start to think that she/he is part cow and confused because she/ he is very clear that they are not. So why are they eating grass? A meal of grass is actually common for dogs and even though some people refer to this as being Pica (a disorder where one eats something that is not considered to be food), this form of Pica is not usually harmful to your dog. Well, here are two main reasons why your dog could be munching on grass.

One of the biggest assumptions as to why your dog is eating grass is because they are not feeling well. This is based off the knowledge that dogs cannot digest it, they do not have the enzymes required to breakdown grass fibers and has very little nutritional value. People believe that this will help them throw up whatever has caused them to be ill. However, a study done in 2008 by the University of California, only 8% of dogs in the study of twenty five students majoring in veterinary medicine threw up regularly after eating grass. This was backed up with another study of 47 dog owners that only six dogs threw up after eating it. Yet in the study, dogs that were already sick threw up after eating the grass more often than the dogs that were in perfect health.

In these two studies, it was concluded that having a meal of grass was a normal and common behavior in dogs and suggested that it was an instinct passed down from dog’s wild ancestors. This suggestion was based on research conducted on wild wolves, having found up to 47% of wolves in the studies ate grass. This study found that wolves eat grass, because it helps get rid of intestinal parasites that are quite common in the wild. The fibers of the grass wraps around the parasites in the intestinal tract. Another suggestion is that dogs’ ancestors passed an instinct of eating anything that satisfies their basic dietary needs such as eating prey whole. Now, that need has evolved where dogs meet their needs normally with store bought food but are known to eat fruit, berries and other veggies, too. Also, there are many times where they will eat anything that they can fit into their mouth, such as keys, rocks, and other things that aren’t as edible as grass.

Another unpopular opinion is that your dog may simply think that grass is delicious and munch on it happily. Just make sure that they are not eating grass treated with pesticides or other chemicals harmful to your dog. The area should be marked to tell you that it has recently been treated and to keep away from it if you have children or pets with you. If you want to take it a step further, you can even create a small herbal garden in your yard for your dog to have an alternative to grass and make sure that they don’t ingest any chemicals that could harm them. Don’t be worried if you find your dog is eating grass if they are healthy and show no signs of illness such as vomiting, lack of appetite, change in their normal behavior, or difficulty moving. However, if your dog is showing the signs listed and is consuming grass (and possibly throwing it up) when they normally would not, you may want to get them to an animal clinic so that they can be looked at by the veterinarian, because they may be eating grass due to an upset stomach.