You might have wondered why some (your?) dogs eat grass? Your concerns about your dog’s health are valid but know that eating grass for a dog is completely normal. Want to know more about your dog’s habit of eating grass read the complete article. There might be a simple reason behind your dog’s eating grass or it could be something more serious.
It is often said that a dog is purging himself when he eats grass. This is true in the sense that the absorption of plants can help a dog to eliminate harmful elements. This can be intestinal parasites from his body, but this should not be seen as a deworming action.
Indeed, the fact of eating grass can help the dog to have a better intestinal transit but this does not exempt it from a bi-annual deworming treatment. Because often, through the ingestion of grass the dog contaminates digestive worm eggs which need treatment.
So be careful about giving a suitable deworms to your dog two or even four times a year. But purging is not the only reason your dog eats grass. Here are a few more!
Scientific Findings why dogs eat grass
Furthermore, extensive observations and tests have shown that eating grass occurs in both wolves and dogs and it can be assumed that this behavior has been retained from the wolf heritage despite domestication. It is therefore innate, whereby the mother dog’s eating habits have an intensifying effect on a puppy’s eating behavior.
According to science, there is no legitimate answer to the question of why dogs eat grass. So you shouldn’t worry too much, as long as the grass-eating doesn’t increase significantly and there are no other side effects. Many veterinarians consider this to be normal dog behavior.
However, in addition to these scientific findings, there are some interesting theories as to why dogs eat grass.
The most common theory is an upset stomach as the cause of eating grass and some dog owners know the following from their dogs, maybe you too if your dog eats a lot of grass. It is usually followed by a loud rumbling stomach, after which he begins to choke and finally vomits, usually with yellow phlegm.
Most of the time, such an upset stomach is harmless for your dog and he simply needs time until his stomach has recovered.
Unfortunately, more serious causes keep cropping up. So that you will be well informed about this, we have put together the possible reasons at this point.
Interesting Studies on Grass Consumption
- There is hardly a dog that does not eat grass. The grass usually has a positive effect on the stomach and intestines. Around 90% of all dogs ingest grass every now and then.
- On average, dogs eat grass about once or twice a week.
- Around a third of dogs that have previously eaten grass they do it to vomit.
Physical or Psychological Causes
Usually, there are physical or psychological causes behind your dog’s eating grass. An improper diet could also induce your furry friend to eat grass.
Another theory claims that by eating grass, dogs balance their diet if they lack folic acid or fiber. There are various reasons in which your four-legged friend will respond by eating grass.
1. The Wrong Diet
- Vitamin deficiency
- Lack of folic acid or fiber
- Meeting water needs
- Deficiency of various minerals
- Inadequate nutrition
- Food gone bad
- Poisoned bait
The grass contains various vitamins, folic acid, fiber, and minerals. It turns out to be the reason why your furry friend eats grass. In this case, check your four-legged friend’s diet and adjust it accordingly. If his grass intake goes down, you can be sure that it was due to the wrong diet.
The right diet or the right amount of food depends on the age, weight, and activity of your four-legged friend. For this, we recommend that you have the correct amount of nutrients calculated for your dog.
It is also important to consult about whether or not your dog is getting high-quality dog food. Some brands do not contain adequate amounts of vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
In the following points you can find out which other theories can be brought into connection with grass-eating:
2. Physical Causes why dogs eat grass
- Cleansing the gastrointestinal tract
- Worm or parasite infestation
- Stomach pain
- Poor digestion and bloating
- Inflammation of the gastric mucosa
- Too much stomach acid or poor digestion
- Liver problems or kidney disease
- Foreign bodies in the stomach (stones, clusters of hair, or pieces of bones)
- Problems with the esophagus
Many four-legged friends react instinctively when they eat grass. Like grass contains sufficient magnesium. This magnesium has a positive effect on the stomach and thus also on the intestines. It dampens the production of stomach acid and ensures that the acid in the stomach decreases. So if your dog suffers from gastric mucosal inflammation, eating grass is good.
3. Mental Causes:
- Old traits
- Stress or stressful situations
- Reinforcement of the marking behavior
Notice whether your furry friend was in stress or stressful situation before eating grass. You may notice something that you can relate to grass ingestion. If your four-legged friend reacts to stress by consuming more grass, you can counteract this by avoiding these stressful situations.
Eating grass in response to stress is not instinctual. For this reason, it has a counterproductive effect on the health of your four-legged friend.
4. Swallowed Foreign Bodies
A swallowed foreign body in your four-legged friend is an acute emergency; there is a risk of suffocation and danger to life. Your dog may want to choke out this foreign body by eating grass.
The symptoms of this are as follows:
- Constant choking
- Increased grass intake
- Trouble swallowing
- Unusual breathing noises like rustling, whistling
- Refusal of food and water
- No bowel movements
Risks and Dangers if dogs eat Grass
In many cases, it is safe for your dog to eat grass. But unfortunately, there are always situations in which it affects the health of your four-legged friend. We have listed the possible risks and dangers for you.
1. Risk of Injury if dogs eat grass
There are always dangerous objects in different places where your four-legged friend can get injured. It can certainly happen that your dog steps on glass.
There are similar risks when he is eating grass. Sometimes there are broken glasses or other sharp objects near the tufts of grass that can get into his mouth. The inclusion of these objects is possible.
For this reason, pay close attention to where your furry friend is sniffing and where he is eating grass. Sharp objects are life-threatening if picked up by injuring the stomach, intestines, or esophagus.
2. Poisonous Plants
Poisonous grasses and plants are also life-threatening for your furry friend. Commonly they do not grow in normal places where the dog owners take their four-legged friends for a walk.
Nevertheless, there are annual cases in which a dog suffers health damage from eating poisonous grasses or plants so you have to be careful.
Awns, Easter bells, lily of the valley, or hogweed are plants that are toxic and dangerous for your pet. More poisonous plant species include:
- Cherry berry
Some houseplants are also listed here. Therefore, we recommend discussing the type of plant with your veterinarian before buying it.
3. Sprays, Pesticides and Weed Killers
These spraying remedies are used again and again in nature. They are used more especially in spring. If you are unsure about the spray it is better to only go to places and parks that are especially suitable for dogs at this time of the year. But keep an eye on your dog as dog pitches or dog parks are popular places for poison bait.
4. Your Dog eats grass, but Feces Too
The popular tufts of grass can often be found near the excrement of other animals. Therefore, it is not unlikely that your fur nose in addition to the grass ingests the droppings of other animals.
- Particular cautions are required here!
The excrement usually contains dangerous and unhealthy bacteria. These bacteria limit the health of your furry friend significantly.
Therefore, please always pay attention to what your little one takes in while walking. Not only the excrement of other animals is dangerous but because of the spread of poison bait, you have to pay close attention to what your dog is eating outside.
It often happens that your dog soaks up some earth with the grass. Commonly dogs like the tips of the grass. They are particularly soft, easier to digest, and taste better.
Some fur noses maybe yours too eat whole clumps of grass with the roots. Such eating behavior causes soil to enter the gastrointestinal tract.
However, you normally don’t need to panic if your four-legged friend eats some dirt in addition to the grass, just take care when he takes it excessively. Usually, he tries to balance his nutritional content with this action.
The reasons for eating feces and soil are as follows:
- Wrong training by the dog owner
- Bad habit
- Pack behavior
- Learned by the mother when she was a puppy
5. Poison Baits
Poison baits are usually supposedly distributed at popular dog parks. Dog haters add poisonous or dangerous items to attractive treats. The most commonly distributed baits are slug pellets, meatballs containing poison or studded with sharp pieces like razor blades or metal.
The number of affected dogs through poison baits does not seem to decrease in recent years. Research shows that in 2015 there were around 1,800 reported situations by August of that year. The number of unreported cases is far higher as many dog owners tell and report the real reason for the injury or poisoning.
Your dog may be poisoned if:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- increased saliva
- Restlessness and tremors
- Circulatory problems (stagger, stagger your four-legged friend)
- dilated pupils and red eyes
- Bleeding in the mucous membranes, vomit or stool
- Difficulty breathing; to the point of shortness of breath
6. Constipation and Gastrointestinal Problems
If your four-legged friend eats too much grass the gastrointestinal problems occur.
If the grass is consumed in excess, the stomach will no longer digest the grass and other food properly. Most of the grass thus enters the intestine undigested which results in constipation.
- It’s best to avoid these places!
If your dog is eating grass that is primarily not worth considering then you should pay attention to the places where you go for a walk. There are always places that are not suitable for your four-legged friend to eat grass.
For example, forest edges can pose a threat. Of course, you can still run cross-country trails in these areas, just make sure that your dog doesn’t eat grass there. Poison baits are often found at the edge of the forest.
Roads with heavy traffic or roadsides are not the right places for sniffing either. Here the grass is polluted by exhaust fumes. These harmful residues end up in the gastrointestinal tract when your dog eats grass.
Places near allotments or other private gardens should also be watched. The owners of these gardens regularly distribute pesticides that the wind can spread to the surrounding area.
7. Sometimes Dogs Eat Grass Because of Pica Syndrome
It is a behavioral eating disorder that prompts the dog to ingest various substances. Usually they are initially not made to be eaten like sand, excrement, grass, etc.
Thus, if you observe your dog eating grasses also considered other matters and regularly, consults your veterinarian because this disorder causes a nutritional deficiency or illness in many cases. Must act quickly because pica disorder can also lead to intestinal obstructions or perforations.
If You See These Signs, See a Veterinarian
The first thing to do is not to worry without observing your dog for several days. If you go to the vet and tell him “my dog just ate grass”, he might laugh in your face so better observe your dog first.
Here are the different situations for which it will be preferable to consult a veterinarian:
- If your dog eats too much grass we recommend that you see your vet. There may be a disease behind it that can be life-threatening for your furry friend.
- If your four-legged friend only eats grass and he no longer pays attention to the food, it is also advisable to visit the vet. He may have a foreign body in the esophagus or trachea.
- If your dog vomit several times after eating grass, please also consult the veterinarian. Especially if vomiting occurs every time after consuming it. This is a sign that the grass is negatively affecting the gastrointestinal tract and digestion.
Other dangerous symptoms are:
- Bloody stool
- Blood in the vomit
- Slimy residue in the excrement
- Failure to have a bowel movement
- Restlessness and fatigue
- Other symptoms of a disease
What to do if your dogs eats grass
Make sure that your four-legged friend does not ingest any grass that is in dirty places. During this time, distract him with a treat or put him on a leash. This way you avoid the ingestion of dirty plants or pesticides.
Always keep a watchful eye. This applies to every walk. Track your fur nose and make sure that it doesn’t eat grass too often or look out for feces and poisonous baits near the grass.
Stress is often a cause of grass consumption. Try to find out what situations caused this behavior. Keeping a journal listing, any major concerns are best for investigating.
Did you find out the situation of your dogs eating grass?
If yes then try to lift or reduce the stressful situation. If you are unsure about your pet’s consumption of grass and it is still questionable, you should simply ask your vet for advice.