Have you ever taken your dog out for a bathroom break and discover them chewing on a large mouthful of grass? While seeing your dog eating grass may cause you to panic and think that you are going to find a pile of vomit full of grass on your carpet later, this behavior in dogs is not always something that should cause you alarm.
There are many explanations that scientists have offered as to why dogs choose to eat grass. One of the explanations is that dogs engage in this activity when they have an upset stomach. However, most dogs that eat grass are not usually sick beforehand. You may find that your dog eats grass if it is bored, lonely, or anxious. There are some theories that suggest that dogs eat grass due to their ancestral heritage as scavengers. However, regardless of why your dog is eating grass, it may not be the best snack for them to delete in as they could unknowingly ingest intestinal parasites or dangerous chemicals used to treat pests and weeds.
Bored, Upset, Or Stressed
There is no common agreement as to why some dogs like to engage in the activity of grass eating. However, some veterinarians believe that dogs eat grass when they are bored, stressed, anxious, or upset about something within their environment. You may notice that your dog only eats grass when he believes that he is alone in the lawn; this may be caused by separation anxiety.
In addition, there are some scientists and vets that think that dogs eat grass in order to get the attention of their owners. If you have previously scolded your dog for eating grass or provided him with attention when he was eating grass, he is likely trying to get your attention again. Even if you have continuously told your dog not to eat grass, he is perceiving this as attention, which is something that your dog carves above everything. If you discover that your dog is eating grass, ignore the behavior. Instead, provide your dog with positive attention at a different time.
In both of these cases, dogs tend to not chew grass when their owners are outside with them. So, accompany your dog on his next outdoor excursion and see if he engages in eating grass to see if your absence was the cause.
Your dog may be eating grass due to his ancestral heritage. This grass-eating behavior may be caused by instinctive psychological needs. As you know, dogs descended from wolves which ate whatever animal they could hunt at the time. When eating, they would also eat the stomach contents of the animal they hunted. The stomach contents typically included the grass that the animals had previously been eating.
Today, scientists have estimated that up to half of all modern-day wolves still engage in grass-eating behavior at times. However, researchers do not know if this behavior is on purpose or if it is just part of their regular diet. Dogs that tend to eat grass based on normal dog behavior do not typically vomit afterward. If you discover that your dog is eating grass and does not throw up afterward, you do not really need to be worried about this behavior as your dog is just engaged in the instinctive behavior of its ancestors.
In a survey conducted among dog owners, many of them believed that their dogs were eating grass because they had an upset stomach. This association is likely due to the grass eating behavior being closely linked to vomiting.
However, it is somewhat difficult to determine whether or not the dog is throwing up because he ate the grass or if he is throwing up because his stomach was upset and he thought that eating the grass would cure his upset stomach.
There is still no common agreement as to why dogs engage in this behavior, however, most dogs that eat grass seem completely fine beforehand, which may mean that the grass is actually what is causing the dog to vomit.
Taste and Texture Of Grass
Another argument as to why dogs like to eat grass is because they enjoy the way that it tastes as well as its texture. You may notice that your dog will only eat grass within a certain location or at a certain time during the year. This plays into the idea that dogs eat grass based on its taste and its texture, as the grass has a different texture depending on the season.
Is Eating Grass A Sign That Your Dog Is Sick?
Some pet owners believe that their dog eating grass means that he is likely sick. However, there are no studies that support this theory. There was one study conducted that determined that only 8 percent of dogs were reported to be experiencing signs of illness before eating grass. Additionally, only 22 percent of the respondents reported that their dog vomited after eating grass.
In another study, researchers compared the grass-eating behavior of dogs with acute gastrointestinal illness to dogs that did not have any gastrointestinal illness. This study concluded that healthy dogs were more likely to eat grass compared to their affected counterparts. This means that dogs are not necessarily eating grass to cure stomach issues.
Should you be concerned If Your Dog Eats Grass?
If you find that your dog is occasionally eating grass, you do not necessarily need to be concerned. If you notice that your dog is eating grass due to boredom or due to a nutritional deficiency, there are some actions that you can take to stop this behavior, such as providing the dog with additional mental stimulation and taking him to the vet to ensure that he has no nutritional deficiencies.
Grass eating may lead to indoor dogs wanting to nibble on houseplants. This can be extremely dangerous and even fatal as some houseplants are incredibly lethal to our canine companions. To avoid this, be sure that you do not have any poisonous plants inside or outside of your home.
In addition, you should never allow your dog to eat grass that has been chemically treated, as this behavior can lead to poisoning and death depending on the chemical treatment used. To prevent your dog from eating grass, give him an alternative to satisfy his craving for grass. You can do this by providing your dog with a patch of herbs or wheatgrasses that are not harmful to his health. Additionally, grass-eating can lead to intestinal parasites infecting your dog.
To prevent your dog from eating grass, you should also ensure that the dog is getting enough exercise throughout the day. This exercise includes both physical and mental stimulation to prevent your dog from becoming bored. Be sure that you take time every day to play with your dog and to work on training activities to suppress boredom within your canine companion.