Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
The Mystery Revealed—Sort Of...
Dogs eat grass for a variety of reasons. Of course, all those reasons are a bit of a mystery on our part because the dog can’t tell us why. There are two categories of eating behavior, however, and some good guesses about why dogs eat grass.
The two different types of eating are grazing and quick eating. The first is the dog who feeds on grass. The other is the dog who munches some blades quickly. In either case the dog is following his natural instincts. Remember, dogs are descended from wild dogs, wolves and foxes, which eat all of their kill, including the food in the stomach and intestines. This food probably contained lots of green food because the dead animal ate greens.
The grazer theory is that the dog likes the taste of grass. It’s like a big bowl of asparagus or broccoli to us or those of us who like vegetables. Dogs need greens just as we do because they’re omnivorous, which means they eat and need all the different kinds of food.
At the same time the dog is getting fiber, which he might not be getting in his canned or dry food. So, the grass provides vitamins and roughage, which are good for the overall health of the dog. If this is the case, it’s wise to add vitamins or roughage to the dog’s food or find a new food that has what the dog needs.
The quick eater supposedly eats grass to irritate the stomach sufficiently to vomit because he has an upset stomach. Or, it could be that the grass upsets the stomach, and the dog vomits. Whether it’s the upset stomach or the grass upsetting the stomach that comes first is unclear. Those pesky little creatures just won’t tell us, will they?
Caution: Don’t let the dog eat treated grass; pesticides, insecticides and fertilizer can do great harm. It takes a few days for the poison to dissipate from a freshly treated lawn, and then the dog can eat to his heart’s content. Also, don’t let the dog eat where mushrooms or toadstools grow; they may be poisonous. There are other poisonous plants, such as oleander, that a dog must avoid.
By and large, most vets believe it’s normal behavior for dogs to eat grass. If the dog uses the grass to vomit a lot, it’s time to call the vet. Otherwise, the dog is fine with eating grass.
As always, if you are concerned about your dog's health, it is always best to contact your local vet to see if your dog's specific behavior is something to be concerned about.