Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? petscentral December 8, 2015 Pet Facts We mostly believe that dogs are mostly carnivores considering that they have strong canine teeth for meat. Nevertheless, there are moments when we let them lose and see them munching on an unexpected food… grass. This has baffled too many dog watchers and owners alike, and they think that there is something wrong with that grass-eating dog. The answers as to why do dogs eat grass are actually too many; some answers are just keen observations, while some are theories concluded. Yet, no matter what the answer to this dog grass phenomena, it is still very important for us to know and understand this event to ensure that we can address the issue correctly. Isn’t Your Dog A Carnivore? A dog being a carnivore is one of the most common misconceptions we have regarding our canine friend. Yes, they do love to eat meat, but that doesn’t make them a carnivore. As a matter of fact, dogs are known as very opportunistic scavengers that they eat whatever possible things that they can eat, hence, making them an omnivore. Since they love eating even the nastiest of the nastiest things, they have the mechanism of vomiting vigorously to ensure that they do not get poisoned or perhaps tummy upset. Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Going back to that basic question again, we will discuss the reasons as to why does a dog eat grass. Some of these reasons might surprise you, while some will make you nod your head as they sound quite logical. 1. Nutritional Need. The dog grass phenomena might be related to the need for nutrients of your dogs. Though they are quite healthy with all the food you are giving them, grass contains several nutrients that your dog is craving which cannot be found on the diet that you offer, specifically those commercially sold dog food. Experts agree that there is no harm in feeding your dogs grass. They even recommended that you try to incorporate natural herbs or cooked vegetables on the food you are giving to your beloved dogs. However, if you can see an increase on the grass eating habits of your dog, it can be a sign of a serious problem such as an underlying illness that you need to seek professional help from a licensed veterinary in order for it to be treated. Since grass can also be home to countless of parasites, as well as chemicals such as pesticides and other fertilizers, it is most convenient to buy a small tray of grass or start an herbal home garden specifically for your dog to ensure that what he is ingesting is safe and will not lead to any problems or complications. 2. Grass Is Tasty. Dogs are just like humans who have also distinct tastes in food that they eat. If a chocolate cake is your heaven, then probably grass is heaven for your dog too. Aside from getting the lacking nutrients on grass, your dog might find some distinctive taste or flavor on a grass that they could not find on other foods, hence, the grass eating. 3. Your Dog Is Bored. Have it ever crossed your mind that probably grass-eating is just a way for your dog to pass time? When he goes outside to your garden, and there is nothing much to do in there, he would rather use his time eating; and grass is the only available item in sight. It is also possible that your dog is just trying to catch your attention. If he tried eating grass once and it generated a reaction in you, he might do it again with the hopes of getting your attention. Some dogs tend to be playful and need the constant attention of their owners. Sometimes, your dogs are also not having enough exercise and they need to release their energies in one way or another, and that leads to their grass-eating habits. If this is the reason as to why your dog is doing such bizarre behavior, then I guarantee you that it is one of the easiest reasons to fix aside from the diet. You only need to create an activity for your dog that will require interaction between the two of you, more exercise on where he can release his energy, and mental stimulation to divert his attention from the habit. 4. Digestion Improving Technique. Just as greens improve human’s digestion, grass also improves the digestion of your dog considering that they are rich in fiber that may be missing on the diet that you are giving to your dogs. If fiber is missing or given in a minimum amount, your dog will experience indigestion and cannot excrete waste products properly, hence, they choose to eat grass to supplement this lack of fiber and make them pass stool easily. If this is the reason of the grass-eating behavior of your dog, you can treat it by providing a high-fiber diet to your pet and you will be surprised that the urge for them to eat grass will slowly diminish and stop over time. 5. Psychological Condition. Dogs also experience some psychological situations such as anxiety or fear. In such cases, they tend to deal with their anxieties and fears through diverting their attention on other stuffs leading to the development of some weird behaviors such as grass-eating. This dog grass phenomena is also a way for your dog to be at ease and calm himself in time of any anxious attacks. There are a lot of psychological conditions that can affect your dog, and a lot of coping mechanisms too. If ever you observe that this grass-eating behavior increases on occasions where your dogs are experiencing anxiety attacks, then it is best treated with desensitization therapy, herbal remedies prescribed by veterinarians, increased exercise levels, and increase owner-dog bonding moments. 6. Problems On Behavior. The obsessive-compulsive (OC) behavior is not only intended for humans. Sometimes, dogs can also develop this behavior when it comes to grass. However, experts say that this is no reason for concern and to correct the behavior, it is best if you reduce your dog’s grazing time. But if the OC disorder becomes severe and out of control, it is best to consult a veterinary behaviorist. 7. Stomach Issues And Vomit Inducer. One of the theories as to why a dog eats grass is because of an upset stomach. Vets said that eating a large chunk of grass will irritate the lining of the digestive system which will cause your dog to vomit. This brings us to another reason that they eat grass to cure their nausea, and it will make them feel better once they vomit. 8. Territorial Invasion. Dogs are sensitive, most especially when it comes to their territories. There are dogs who are territorial than others, and it has been said that they eat grass to know who has been on their territory. They eat grass that has been marked in order to sniff and taste someone’s scent who invaded their territory. 9. Pica. Pica is a condition wherein stuffs that are not edible are being eaten. Some humans tend to eat paper, rocks, dirt, and some other stuffs due to pica. Pica, in humans, is caused by a mineral deficiency; this is also believed to be true in dogs eating grass. It has been believed, and as said earlier, that grass is rich in fiber. During pica attacks, many believed that dogs need to supplement the lack of fiber. You can reduce this behavior by giving a fiber-rich food to your dog and supplement his fiber needs. However, food changes should be done slowly. You need to begin with a quarter of cup new high fiber food for a week, before adding another quarter of cup. It requires a slow change because your dog’s stomach is very sensitive and rapid changes on his diet will cause it to become upset. Another way to address pica is to provide your dog with raw cooked veggies as an additional supplement on their diet. However, you need to talk to your veterinarian first before giving the new food to your dog considering that not all food are safe for your dogs and other pets. Believe it or not, there are vegetables and fruits that are fatal for your dogs, hence, the importance of proper knowledge and understanding. 10. It is a NATURAL INSTINCT. There are people who believed that eating grass is just a normal and natural instinct for dogs. Wild dogs fed on anything they could get their hungry mouths into, and they received most of their nutrients from one prey. Before, dogs would eat the whole of their prey including meat, bones, and even organs which also include the contents of the stomach. This serves as a complete meal with the needed greeneries and fiber coming from the stomachs of their prey. In today’s world, however, dogs are being served with commercially sold dog food and other food that are not complete with the nutrients they need. Due to this fact, their natural instinct is to replenish the lost or lack of nutrients through grass-eating. Is It Risky For Your Dog To Eat Grass? Generally speaking, and with the reasons stated above, grass is a safe food for your dogs to eat. However, when you are new to the area and you are unsure if the grass has been sprayed with chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, it is best to let your dog stay away from the grass and prevent him to eat the greens. Chemicals can poison your dog, and may also be one of the reasons why he is vomiting. It can harm your dog and it might lead to some serious and life-threatening problems. If you have a garden on your home and your dog loves to graze around, it is best that you keep everything natural and not use any forms of fertilizers; or you may also build a special garden for your dog and ensure that he keeps himself inside that special garden free of pesticides and other chemicals. Another key concern for dogs who are eating grass are slugs, snails and other entities that they may accidentally ingest while eating. Consumption of such can lead to lungworm, and it is a very dangerous condition for your dog to be into. Is It Possible To Stop Your Dog From Eating Grass? How? Yes, it is possible to stop your dog from eating grass. But you should only do so if the situation worsened since grass-eating is considered normal. Your vet may provide you with instructions and advices as to how this behavior can be stopped. In the meantime, you can make use of these following tips: Ensure that your dog is getting enough exercise that is required from his breed and make sure that his energy is being released positively. It is also best if you engage him on fun activities to divert his attention. Spend more time with your dog, especially if he is the type of dog who requires constant attention. Be interactive with him. Provide a sturdy chew toy to divert his attention away from the grass when he wants to nibble on something. You can use treat rewards for dogs who are food-oriented. When a dog is about to go to the garden, you may take him to the toilet or out for a walk with a treat in your hand and let him follow you away from the grass. For affection-seeker pets, you may use the same method as in #4 but choose positive verbalizations and petting rewards in order to divert your dog’s attention from the grass. A heel command is also a favorable way to stop your dog from eating grass. If your dog has mastered the technique of the heel command, he will follow you wherever you go even with a lot of distractions along the way that might grab his attention. We hope that we have solved your queries and doubts with this article. In case you need more info, do not hesitate to put a review in the Comments box.