Sometimes you might notice your furry family member has taken a liking to eating grass. On a walk, in your yard or just about anywhere they can get it. Biting off a few pieces here and there, this odd behavior can make you ask why is my dog all of a sudden eating grass?
Seeing your pooch chew on some grass could make you worried or just downright confused. It doesn’t seem like it would be a tasty treat. Why do dogs randomly get a desire to graze?
Let’s talk about why your dog may be eating grass, whether it is a sign of a medical condition, and how you can stop it.
Reasons your dog might be eating grass
Not particularly delicious, grass seems like an odd choice for your canine pal to pick up and eat off the ground. But don’t worry; there are a couple of simple explanations for why your dog might have grown a taste for it.
It is commonly said that dogs will recognize when they feel sick, eat lots of grass, and then throw up. This belief assumes that dogs are intuitive enough to know that eating grass will make them throw up. Data disproves this as less than 10% of dogs who eat grass were sick beforehand, and it only makes less than 25% of dogs who regularly eat grass vomit.
If dogs aren’t munching on the grass to make themselves throw up… why are they doing it?
- They’re missing something in their diet.
Pica is a condition that vets will often cite when people ask why their dogs eat grass. This condition is a deficiency dogs develop when their diet lacks certain vital nutrients. A lack of the right vitamins and minerals in their food could lead them to eat strange foods that they typically would not be interested in.
Dogs need lots of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals daily. These are as follows:
- Vitamin A
- B vitamins (biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
If you have asked your vet and checked your food brand and believe that your dog is receiving adequate amounts of these, these might not be the reason:
- They need more fiber.
Like the nutrients listed above, fiber is crucial for a dog’s health and digestion. Getting enough fiber enables them to have solid stool and good bowel movements.
If your dog is eating grass and you think their diet might be too low in fiber, look for food that contains higher levels of it to help your dog’s digestion system.
- Pain from an empty stomach full of bile.
Like humans, if dogs have an empty stomach with bile in it, they can feel very sick and uncomfortable. To relieve this pain, dogs might eat grass to try and put something in there for them to digest. This will often make them throw up small amounts of yellow foamy bile, and this is an easy sign to look out for.
If this is happening when you know your dog has not eaten yet – or in a long time – you might want to start giving them small amounts of food when you know their stomach will be empty. Bile breaks down the food in dogs’ stomachs, and if there is nothing in their belly to break down, it can make them experience stomach pain.
- They are bored, and it’s instinctual to them.
If your dog doesn’t seem to be feeling sick and their diet is well rounded – they might just be acting out of instinct or boredom. Sometimes if your dog is just relaxing outside, they will randomly start picking up clumps of grass to pass the time. After all, dogs come from wild animals. It is not unnatural for them to consume items they find on the ground.
Keep your dog active and entertained to avoid this and if you observe them in your yard ripping up your grass – bring them some toys for playtime or run around with them.
How can I stop my dog from eating grass?
It is good to look out for this behavior for multiple reasons.
Not only can eating grass be an indicator of sickness or deficiencies within your dog’s diet, but it can also be dangerous. Lots of grass is treated with chemicals and could be unsafe for your dog to ingest, even certain plants can be poisonous. It is important to get to the root of the issue quickly to avoid any risk of your dog eating grass with pesticides on it.
- Talk to your vet about a different diet.
Making sure your dog’s nutritional needs are met is important for a multitude of reasons. It will help their immunity, energy levels, dental health and happiness. If your dog is eating a lot of grass, it might be their way of showing they need something more in their diet, such as fiber. Paying attention to this and asking your vet about it could resolve the issue quickly.
- Discourage grass eating.
If you think your dog might just be eating grass for the heck of it, let them know that you don’t accept that behavior. Just as you would with any other disobedience, tell them to stop and pull them away. They might soon catch on that they are not allowed to do this.
- Keep your dog active and busy.
If your dog is constantly sitting in your backyard eating grass, you may want to go out there and spend some time playing fetch or exercising them. Like with any unwanted behavior, a great way to get them to stop is to tire them out and keep them distracted. Making sure your dog has enough active outdoor time can stop them from wanting to eat the grass outside.
Don’t worry, grass eating is common.
Eating grass is a phenomenon many dog owners will observe at least once throughout their dog’s life. It is not necessarily a reason to worry but instead might indicate that you need to make a few changes – whether it be to their diet, activity levels, or discipline. Accident & illness dog insurance plans provided by Spot cover eligible treatments prescribed for your dog’s accidents and illnesses, so you can have help if your furry family member is eating grass because of an underlying disease or illness.