Getting Their Greens: Why Dogs Eat Grass
If you’re a dog owner, chances are you’ve seen your pooch nibble on a few blades here and there. Maybe your dog eats and swallows grass, or maybe just gives it a few chews and spits it out, but either way you’ve likely wondered why this supposed carnivore on the end of your leash seems to be drawn to the green stuff.
Client education is important to us at Naperville Animal Hospital. We’ve delved into the topic of why dogs eat grass with the hopes of shedding some light on this interesting dog behavior.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
In truth, no one knows exactly why dogs eat grass, but there are some prevailing theories:
- Dogs are scavengers – Like their wild cousins, pet dogs are scavengers by nature and can thrive on a wide variety of food items. Although animal protein should make up a large portion of a dog’s diet, dogs are not obligate carnivores (meaning that they must eat only meat) like cats, and can derive nutrients from many different types of food.
- Nature’s antacid – Many of us believe that dogs eat grass when they don’t feel well, and while there is no scientific data to back this theory, many pet owners notice that their dogs vomit after ingesting grass.
- Doggie vitamins – Besides fiber, grass has plenty of nutrients to offer, and your dog’s grass eating may be an instinctual way to beef up his or her intake of essential vitamins and minerals.
- Boredom – A dog may eat grass due to lack of mental stimulation. Combat boredom by taking time to play and interact with your dog daily, and make walking a non-negotiable part of each day.
- Simple pleasures – Perhaps the reason your dog eats grass is that he or she simply likes the taste, texture, or both!
When to Worry
Under normal circumstances, eating small amounts of grass is a harmless activity for a healthy pet to engage in. However, if your pet is gulping large amounts of grass and vomiting on a regular basis, or if the behavior seems obsessive, give your veterinarian a call to rule out any underlying medical causes of the behavior.
Otherwise, let Fido enjoy the occasional “lawn salad”, just make sure that he or she doesn’t nibble from chemically-treated grass, as it could be harmful to your pet if ingested.
We accept walk-ins during our Doctor's Hours to meet your busy lifestyle. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, we offer those too!
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