Have you ever wondered, why is my dog eating grass? Is it bad for them? Are they ill?
In this blog post we talk why your dog is eating grass or plants and is it such a bad thing?
Why is My Dog Eating Grass All of a Sudden?
Believe it or not, eating grass is a pretty normal thing for many dogs. Pica is the technical term for eating things that aren’t actually food, and in this case, probably isn’t a bad thing. Most veterinarians consider this normal behaviour.
So why is your dog eating grass? Some people say eating grass is a way of inducing vomit because your dog might not feel well, although evidence suggests less than 25% of dogs vomit after eating grass.
Some say eating grass might help improve digestion, treat intestinal worms, or help fulfil some other nutritional need. According to the American Kennel Club, about 25% of dog owners have seen their dogs eating their own faeces, usually to fulfil nutritional needs their diet falls short of (also according to the AKC), supporting the nutritional grass eating theory. Others think this may simply be due to boredom.
- Improve digestion
- Inducing vomit
- Fulfil nutritional need
- Possible boredom
Pica is sometimes evidence of a dietary imbalance. What type of food are you offering, and does it offer quality nutrition, or was it simply the cheapest thing you could find on the grocery store shelves?
Dog Eating Grass and Being Sick, are They Ill?
Many pet owners and veterinarians alike think that eating grass might be your dog’s way of making themselves throw up. Though it hasn’t been proven, there is strong theoretical evidence here.
Your dog probably isn’t badly ill just because he threw up once. It would make much more sense for your dog simply to have eaten something he shouldn’t have, and this is his way of helping get rid of it.
If your dog has been throwing up several times throughout the day, on the other hand, there is almost certainly a problem. Even if the issue has nothing to due with digestion, frequent vomiting can lead to dehydration. Pet owners who have seen this should contact their veterinarian as soon as possible.
Why Does My Dog Eat Grass and Weeds?
Biologists don’t yet know for absolute certainty why dogs eat grass, but they have a few pretty strong theories. Dogs eat grass probably to either induce vomiting because they ate something they shouldn’t have, improve digestion, to fulfil some unknown nutritional need, or out of simple boredom.
Many people argue dogs aren’t intelligent enough to know they need to eat grass to help with stomach issues, but any educated animal biologist would tell you this has nothing to do with conscious thought at all. Eating grass is probably an instinctual behaviour stretching back thousands of years to early wolves.
Should You Let Your Dog Eat Grass?
In most cases, it is probably going to be fine for your dog to eat grass. In fact, eating the grass in your yard is probably helping your dog.
Fertilisers, GMO’s and Pesticides
On the other hand, many people treat their lawns with pesticides, other chemicals to promote growth or cure a problem. In fact, the mere ph of a dog’s urine (more common in Labradors) will kill a lawn, so owners might decide to chemically treat it.
If your lawn has been treated with anything, you most certainly should Not let your dog eat the grass! Your pup might not be able to tell the difference, and many man made chemicals are toxic to animals.
What Are the Side Effects of Dogs Eating Grass?
Most experts say that allowing your dog to eat crass poses no real risk (outside of the situations mentioned above). Because it is a natural behaviour, there usually wouldn’t be any severe side effects- past throwing up.
If the grass has been chemically treated, the possible side effects of consuming those chemicals become much more severe, ranging to the point of death. Though it is possible, in most cases a dog isn’t going to keep on eating something that tastes terrible (assuming the chemicals have a taste at all).
Though it isn’t a direct side effect, a sudden increase in grass eating could mean there might be another problem going on, and you should consider having your pet seen by a veterinarian.
What Grass and Plants are Poisonous to Dogs?
Unless it has been treated, most grasses, both natural and man made/ornamental, are safe for dogs. Pampas and grass palm (ornamental grass) can be dangerous, but most other ornamental/man made grasses are fine.
There are in fact many, many plants that are poisonous to pets, not just dogs. The entire listing can be found here, although we’ve listed some of the more common household plants to avoid below. Symptoms of digesting any one of these can be as mild as oral irritation and stomach upset, ranging to potential death. If you have any of these at home, make sure you research them further!
- Autumn Crocus
- Sago Palm
How Do I Stop My Dog Eating Grass Frantically?
When it comes to dogs or dog training, the first step in stopping a problem is understanding why it is happening in the first place. Why or what is causing your dog to want to eat grass?
If he is sick immediately after, you might want to look at his diet, or even talk to your veterinarian about any possible digestive issues. If you think your dog is eating grass due to boredom, give him something to constantly keep him occupied. Try to walk your dog more often, or/and provide better opportunities for exercise.
So the Conclusion, Why is My Dog Eating Grass?
So, In conclusion, is all this grass eating really that big of a deal? Is it something you need to be deeply afraid of? The answer is no; it is probably actually a good thing. If your dog is eating grass to help with some sort of digestive issue, or help induce vomiting to get rid of some irritant, you certainly don’t want to prevent it. Of course, there are always exceptions, and you should be sure to know what they are!
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