Why Does My Dog Eat Grass (and How to Stop it)
While your dog is out on walks or in the yard, chances are that at some point you’ve noticed them eating grass. While this is a common behavior for canines it can baffle dog owners. Though in-depth studies on this behavior are lacking, there are a few good insights about dog eating grass.
Can Dogs Eat Grass?
If you’re asking yourself “Should I let my dog eat grass?” the good news is that grass is usually harmless to dogs. However, there are some things that you should look out for if this behavior happens, including:
- Plants that can be toxic to dogs – While grass is generally safe for your dog, many plants are not, including plants like tulips, azaleas and sage palm. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a comprehensive list of Plants Toxic to Dogs to keep you informed.
- Potentially harmful fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides – When your dog starts eating grass, make sure it’s in an area that wasn’t recently treated with chemicals. Consult your veterinarian about what lawn treatments are toxic and what to do if your dog ingests any treated grass or plants.
- Ingestion of more than just grass - While eating grass is okay, be make sure your dog isn’t eating things that can be unhealthy or cause digestive blockages like, rocks, leaves, sticks and, yes, even poop.
- An underlying health issue – Eating grass can be a symptom of a potential health issue, in conjunction with other clinical signs such as diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy and vomiting. If your dog starts to ingest grass and you are seeing these clinical signs, you should talk to your veterinarian immediately.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
While there isn’t always a surefire explanation to why dogs eat grass, there are some plausible hypotheses, such as:
- Dogs are instinctual scavengers and will eat anything that smells palatable
- Grass eating can help induce vomiting for a dog with an upset stomach
- Grass makes up for dietary deficiencies like fiber
- Eating grass can help alleviate boredom
- Dogs enjoy the taste and texture of grass
How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Grass
When your dog eats grass it’s generally harmless, but if you’d prefer that your dog curtail their grazing behaviors, there are a few steps you can take:
Give your dog daily exercise – If indeed your dog is eating grass out of boredom, keeping them engaged with stimulating mental and physical exercise daily may be enough to keep them occupied so that they don’t eat grass.
Purina behaviorist Dr. Annie Valuska recommends incorporating a “leave it” command into your training, to stop your dog from eating grass (or anything else they are not supposed to have).
If you’re concerned that your dog is eating too much grass, talk to your veterinarian.
Dogs can choose to eat some curious things outside of mealtime. So it’s important that what you put into your dog’s dish is complete and balanced for good health. With a personalized blend from Just Right, you can provide nutrition to meet your dog’s unique needs.