Dogs have a separate metabolism. The foods which are safe for humans can be harmful to dogs. Therefore, they are given food according to a list. Foods like fruits, dairy products, white rice, fish, chicken, etc. are common for both humans and dogs. In addition to this, dogs eat grass to add fiber to their diet. There are also other reasons for your dog eating grass– it can be to distract itself from boredom, to fill in the emptiness in its nutrition, or to induce vomiting in case they feel sick.
This article is all about Why do dogs eat grass? Know the interesting fun facts.
Pica is a technical term for a disorder that is characterized by eating things that are not ‘food’. Thus, eating grass might fall under this disorder. Pica often indicates that the dog is going through a nutritional deficiency. Switching to a portion of better dog food with a high-fiber variety can stop the problem. However, eating grass by the dogs may also be considered a sign of boredom and is mostly practiced by puppies and young dogs. This common practice is also observed in wild dogs. It can also be described as normal canine behavior that you need not worry about.
Why do dogs eat grass?
There are two specific reasons why a dog eats grass.
- Physical reasons: For efficient functioning of the digestive system, proper fiber is required in the diet of the dogs. This is not a problem since dogs are omnivorous. They rely on healthy plants as well as good quality meat. Dogs consider grass to be the best way for adding roughage to their diet and to help things keep flowing through their gastrointestinal glands. If your dog is still facing stomach problems after eating grass, then a medical aid is required. There can be some gastrointestinal issues that a dog can go through, namely gastric reflux, pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel diseases.
- Psychological reasons: Another reason for dogs eating grass is that they face anxiety and boredom. To pass their hours of anxiety, they nibble grass as a pastime. Try increasing the distance of walks so that the dogs can get away from their anxiety. They also suffer from separation anxiety and may do things to attract their owner like chewing grass. Therefore, keep a blanket or a shirt with your scent on it. It will help the dog curb grass eating. You can also take your dogs to a good Doggie daycare for socialization.
- Grazing: Another reason for the dogs eating grass can be due to grazing. The grass they chew gives them the required fiber for their roughage. In this case, the dog happily munches on the grass even without suffering any illness. However, this trait is not common for every dog.
- Instinctive behavior: In this case, the dog swallows grass to induce vomiting in case he has eaten something that is making him ill. This suffering of the dog creates an instinct where he wants to throw up everything eaten as a form of relief. They swallow the grass as fast as they can without even chewing it so that, when the swallowed parts of the grass tickle their throat, they are stimulated to vomit it out. Researches show that around 11-47% of wolves eat grass. The ancestral dogs ate everything of their hunted prey, including the bones and internal organs. Therefore, they were never void of fiber because they received it from their prey who had eaten grass. As a result, it made their digesting system easier.
Is it safe to swallow grass?
On a healthy and regular parasite prevention medication, it is considered safe for dogs to eat grass. As the owner of a dog, you should be very careful as to what kind of grass the dog is swallowing. Make sure that the dogs do not eat any grass which is treated with fertilizers or pesticides. It is seen that only 25 percent of the dogs have the urge to vomit after they have swallowed grass while 10 percent of the dogs show symptoms of illness after swallowing the grass. The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Centre Website has a list of those herbs which can be toxic and non-toxic to dogs.
Do dogs like grass?
This is a question that comes to your mind the moment you see or hear dogs eating grass. Dogs do like eating grass. They enjoy the texture and the taste of the grass. Many canines are grass connoisseurs and prefer eating them while they are newborn.
Which is the right time to take action?
Eating grass can be good but not all time. While plucking the grass from the ground, they are likely to digest parasites like hookworms which contaminate the grass. Also, the pesticides sprayed on the grass can be harmful to the dog. Therefore, the dogs should be trained not to eat grass for a better substitute. You can do this by carrying treats for your dog while you take him on potty rounds. With the help of the treats, you can distract him before he starts nibbling the grass. Since dogs are affectionate creatures, you may train them to listen to you and act according to your verbal command to distract them.
Your dog can also have a nutritional deficiency. Keep a check on all the food habits of the dog and make necessary adjustments. A transition in your pet’s food is also recommended. Take suggestions from your concerned vet so that your pet’s digestive system is not worsened.
The habit of eating grass can be a topic of concern when out of control. In such cases, take help from a professional veterinarian. It is suggested not to allow your dog to eat the greener grass much often. In case you feel your dog has indigested a large amount of grass with toxic chemicals, you can contact your vet. The veterinarian will perform several tests like fecal samples, blood tests or even physical tests to clear your worries.