Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

01/22/16 at 11:51 AM | Published Under Dog Behavior by Quaker Pet Group

Your dog is now a cow, but it seems your dog has developed a habit of eating grass. Why? Grass eating dogs are actually quite common. The “condition”, referred to as Pica, is considered normal behavior by most veterinarians.

Some contend that dogs eats grass when they don’t feel well, and use it as a way to purge their systems. Others say that dogs aren’t smart enough to know that eating grass will eventually lead to vomiting and feeling better.

Evidence tends to suggest that dogs who eat grass aren’t driven by an upset stomach. According to owners polled, fewer than 10% of dogs seem to be sick before eating grass. And it doesn’t always lead to vomiting. In fact, less than 25% of dogs that do consume grass throw up regularly after grazing.

A 2009 dog study covered in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that puppies were more inclined to eat grass if their mothers did while nursing. Wolves and other wild dogs are also known to regularly eat plant matter, which suggests that your dog’s grass eating is innate behavior that’s perfectly normal.

Also consider that he may be bored. So make sure your dog gets enough exercise by tossing a ball, throwing a Frisbee or providing a heavy-duty chew toy to provide mental stimulation.

Other reasons for grass eating include intestinal worms, an aid in digestion, or fulfilling a nutritional need such as lack of fiber, minerals or digestive enzymes. Another theory holds that dogs eat grass simply because they like it. In such cases, your dog may appear to be searching for a specific type of plant instead of ingesting any grass he can find. After identifying the correct grass, he’ll calmly munch on the plant.

While this grazing behavior isn’t really considered harmful, your dog may be consuming grass treated with toxic herbicides and pesticides. To make sure the plants aren’t dangerous in and around the area where your dog is eating grass, refer to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center website (www.aspcapro.org/poison) that features a list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

If your dog’s pica stems from a nutritional deficiency, consider switching to a higher quality dog food, or add a fiber rich supplement such as sweet potato to your dog’s diet.

 

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