Most dog owners at some point have seen their dog eating away at the grass as if it’s a once-in-a-lifetime delicacy.
Often, this causes anxiety among the owner, and rightfully so. Most of the time, there is nothing to worry about. However, this isn’t always the case.
There are a host of reasons why a dog may be eating grass, be it minor or severe. It’s essential to look at how long and how much grass your dog is eating; a little or a lot?
The more of both, the better the chances of something being wrong.
Here, we’re going to cover five reasons why your dog may be eating grass and what you should do about it, if anything at all.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Dogs are always looking for ways to get into trouble, even if they don’t think they are.
Grass provides the perfect chew toy, so it’s natural for dogs to go straight to eating grass when they’re bored. This is especially the case if the dog has no real chew toy or under-stimulated.
Some dogs may eat grass no matter how many toys they have, as some just love eating grass for the fun of it. If this is the case, consider training your dog not to eat grass.
You may use a spray bottle, soft newspaper, or a simple “NO!” whichever works best.
Most grass is safe to eat, but if it’s been fertilized or sprayed with weed killer or other chemicals, it could prove dangerous. Because of this, it’s best to avoid it at all costs.
According to WebMD, just 10% of dogs feel unwell before eating grass. Many have debated on the idea that grass helps to soothe a dog’s stomach.
Most dogs start feeling unwell after eating grass.
My theory is that it’s a nervous behavior once the dog feels unwell, which leads to further nausea, and ultimately, vomiting.
Grass has a sharp flavor, which has a similar bite to mint or some other sharp taste, which could soothe the nauseous “feeling” in the throat.
The evidence shows that stomach aches are not the primary reason a dog eats grass.
However, if your dog has “suddenly” begun eating grass “frantically,” the most likely reason is due to stomach upset.
Dogs worldwide eat many types of dog food, ranging from primarily lamb, chicken, or beef base. Cheap brands may lack certain nutrients and fiber, leading to a nutrient deficiency.
Grass, a plant, is high in many of the nutrients lacking in some dog food, therefore offering the dog what it would otherwise be missing out on.
This behavior is more instinctive than anything. Plus, the grass is high in fiber, which helps move along the contents of the intestines.
If your dog has recently changed dog food, switched to a different treat, or stopped taking its supplements (if applicable), then a nutrient deficiency may be to blame.
Luckily, this is easily fixed by switching dog food in most cases. Do this slowly, and over the course of 10 days.
I know, right? How can anything love the taste of grass? You’d be surprised; it’s not only enjoyed by dogs but humans as well, among other herbivores.
Grass has a very earthy, sweet, sharp taste that’s in between spinach and pickles. This is surprisingly very attractive to dogs, as it’s sort of like a treat.
However, it’s not just about the taste. The consistency is also a reason why dogs love grass. Grass in itself is not unhealthy to dogs in small amounts, but added chemicals are.
The taste can cause dogs to wander into new territory and try poisonous plants, so it’s best not to allow this type of behavior.
If your dog does not stop eating grass, bring a few treats with you on the walk to keep its mouth full when it will not stop.
Lastly, parasites are also a reason why dogs may be eating grass. Parasites come in all kinds of forms but are most commonly contracted by eating spoiled food.
Spoiled food has a very high chance of growing parasites, such as leftovers (never feed your dog leftovers or any human food).
However, the most likely scenario would be by licking up food outside near a garbage can or a dead animal such as a deceased squirrel.
Keep in mind, eating grass can help fight parasites, but only very mildly, yet it can also give your dog parasites, so it’s a win-lose situation.
This is another instinctive behavior, which can be resolved by simple training.
What To Do About It
Give it Time
Frequently, dogs eat grass because they simply do not feel good. If this is the case, give your pup a day or two and see if it naturally stops eating grass.
If the stomach upsets do not stop after a few days, take your dog to a vet.
The most likely scenario is a minor one, but it’s not worth waiting it out for more than a day or two, which could lead to worsening symptoms.
In the meantime, do not let your dog eat any more grass. It may make the situation worse.
Remember to keep a close eye on it and watch for any behavior changes such as lethargy, sleepiness, or aggression.
Train Your Dog
Most of the time, dogs eat grass because they like it or because they’re bored.
In any case, training them is a great first step to stop them from chowing down on your lawn.
One effective way is to carry a small spray bottle with you on walks.
If you see your dog eating grass, give the spray bottle a squeeze; grass will be the last thing on its mind at this point.
If that does not work, consider carrying a soft newspaper to tap him on his behind. In extreme cases, professional training or a change of outdoor scenery may be needed.
Visit The Vet
Dogs that fail to follow instructions not to eat grass, be it verbally, spray bottle, or simply do not feel good, may need a visit to the vet.
Even if your dog appears well, there may be an underlying problem.
As mentioned before, worms, parasites, and deficiencies can be reasons dogs eat so much grass, which needs medical attention in most cases.
These types of visits are most often cheap and require just a simple diagnosis, so there shouldn’t be a worry of any extreme vet bills so long as the problem is minor.
No matter the case (or cost!), if a vet is needed, visit one.
It can be scary watching a dog eat grass, and even more so if it’s eating it frantically. In most cases, dogs eat grass “frantically” because they’re sick.
If they’re eating it slower, then it may be worms, deficiency, or another cause.
Nevertheless, it’s most often a minor issue. If your dog is sick, bring them to the vet if the illness has not subsided by a significant amount by the next day.
If your dog is acting odd and lethargic, drop your device and go to an emergency vet right now.