Why Dogs Eat Grass – 7 Possible Reasons for Eating Grass Explained

For dog owners, their pets are the center of their world.

It’s an amazing feeling to go back home and be with a furry friend, who is ever excited to welcome you and pounces on you, the very moment you enter the home.

In the initial stages,…

,,,you will be observing every new gesture of your pet from its food habits to sleeping habits to barking habits to its behavior and the list goes on.

Gradually, you train your dog and you get to learn a few things too, in that process. When you take it for a walk, quite a few times, you must have observed it eating grass.

For sure, you are raising a dog and not a cow, so you must be puzzled – Why dogs eat grass?

You are feeding your pet with the most appropriate dog food and in sufficient amounts. But still, if it goes and picks some grass to chew upon, it is fair that you start thinking over what does it want to tell you or what does it mean when a dog eats grass.

Well, we have tried to simplify this aspect of dog rearing for you.

Like different human beings show completely different behaviours, even different dogs can be eating grass for completely different reasons. We have listed out various theories related to this habit of dogs.

Read on to understand your pet, in a better way:

7 Reasons for eating grass:

1. Boredom or Attention Seeking

why-dogs-eat-grassIn some cases, the owner is not able to provide required exercise and physical activities to his/her dog.

So it gets bored and chooses to chew upon the grass, as a means to kill boredom. Attention seeking is another reason due to which a dog eats grass.

We cannot draw a distinct line between…

  • boredom
  • and attention

…seeking because they are co-related. When your dog wants you to engage more with it by playing or spending time in any other ways, it tries to do all the forbidden activities.

How dogs seek attention?

Grass eating is the easiest out of them, to seek your attention.

So it is essential that you give your dog a good physical and mental exercise, before leaving home for work.

If this abnormality is not corrected soon, it may lead to destructive chewing, like chewing of shoes or furniture or any other household items.

2. For Taste

You cannot expect your dog to behave just like any other dog. Some have a natural liking for the taste or texture of grass.

They will eat it, no matter how much you feed them with quality food.

3. To induce Vomiting

Some dogs can sense stomach distress very easily. So they resort to eating grass, in order to vomit.

This is a kind of self-medication for them.

Well, this theory is not supported by many people, as various researches have shown that less than 25 percent of the dogs have vomited after eating grass.

Vomiting has been observed in the dogs that ate grass rapidly, while rarely observed in the ones that ate grass with a slow pace.

Moreover, most of the dogs that eat grass, do not show any sign of illness before doing so.

4. To cure Gastro-Intestinal Issues

Some dogs eat grass to get rid of gastro-intestinal issues like:

  • intestinal worms, (check more about worms in dogs)
  • nausea,
  • upset stomach,
  • bloating,
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • or gastric reflux.

These problems need to taken seriously and the pet needs to be taken to a vet, as soon as possible.

5. To supplement Dietary Deficiencies or Pica

Some dogs even eat grass for coping with the fiber requirements in their bodies. They may be fed with a proper diet, but still, their urge for fibers is satisfied through grass only.

How to choose the proper dog diet?

In many cases, dogs are not fed properly.

I am a dog food judge and I examined various dogs foods. Check my 6 tips for choosing the right dog food.

What is Pica?

This condition is referred to as Pica, where a dog tries to supplement its diet with grass, due to the lack of:

  • vitamins,
  • minerals
  • or fibers.

This condition is neither immediately severe, nor normal. But it should be corrected by making appropriate changes in the diet.

Take care that you do not introduce a sudden change in your dog’s regular diet or it may face some dog health problems.

Consult the vet before making any kind of change in the diet.

6. Psychological Imbalance

Researchers believe that some dogs undergo psychological conditions like…

  • anxiety
  • and compulsive

… behavior. This converts them into grass eaters. To confirm whether your dog is undergoing some mental stress or not, you should observe that around the time of eating grass, your dog shows increased anxiety levels or not.

If it does, then you need to take it to a behavior analyst and overcome the situation through medication and exercises.

Spending more time with your dog also serves a great relief in such a condition.

7. Natural Instinct

Sometimes, out of its natural instinct, your dog eats grass. Before men started domesticating dogs, they had to hunt for their own food.

They were not simply carnivores but were omnivores.

Apart from meat, they used to eat each and every part of the prey including bones, organs, stomach contents etc.

In a way, this led to a balanced diet.

In today’s times, the customized food that we feed our dogs does not satisfy their scavenging instincts. Thus, grass is the easiest available medium for dogs to satisfy their omnivores drive.

So once in a while, let your dog eat a little bit of grass.

Is eating grass safe for a dog?

Dogs are very good at selection.

They will know which kind of grass to eat and which one to avoid. It can also determine which parts of the grass have to be eaten.

So you don’t need to worry much until the grass-eating is excessive or it contains harmful:

  1. herbicides
  2. or chemicals.

Avoid taking your pet to such an area, if it has a habit of eating grass. Moreover, you should be careful that it does not consume any snails, slugs etc.

It can lead to lungworms in your dog (check my guide with 11 symptoms of worms in dogs).

Train your dog to eat grass only where you allow it and only in the amount that you can control.

This will let the animal enjoy its grass-eating instinct and not let it fall sick, at the same time.

17 Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat!

Apart from eating grass, your dog may show temptation towards eating some human foods too.

Some of these foods are healthy for human consumption, but can prove fatal for a dog.

I have made a list of 34 worst dog foods. So check it to see the full picture.

In the following part, you will see some of them.

We have listed below some food items which you should never feed your dog with:

  1. Alcohol

Alcohol is commonly found in our households. It is not good for human consumption, as well as dog consumption.

However, ill effects of alcohol may be seen in a dog very soon and very intensely like stomach upset, vomiting, breathing problem, depression, coma or even death.

So even if you are an alcohol lover, be careful that your adorable pet does not consume any of your liquor, accidentally.

  1. Tea or Coffee

Tea, coffee or anything containing large amount of caffeine can be harmful to a dog.

Also keep in mind, items like red bull, cola drinks, cocoa beans, cold medicines, pain killers etc. also contain caffeine.

So keep your dog away from all these things.

  1. Onions or Garlic

Onions and garlic should not be given to a dog in any form.

If your dog consumes a small amount of these, by mistake, then it does not create a major problem.

But feeding your dog a large amount or regularly a small amount of these may destroy its RBCs and lead to anemia and poisoning.

  1. Avocado

You may be amazed that one of the healthiest foods for humans is fatal for dogs.

But it is true! The substance called persin in avocado is toxic to dogs. If you are growing avocados in your backyard, take proper measures that your dog stays away from it.

Or else, you’ll be facing a difficult situation with your dog.

  1. Grapes and Raisins

It is very common that your dog may eat some grapes or raisins that you may have kept over the counter. Eating these items may cause kidney failure in a dog.

The early symptoms are vomiting, depression, laziness.

  1. Raw Eggs

Raw eggs may lead to food poisoning in dogs, due to bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella.

It may also cause skin irritation and harm the coat of your dog, due to an enzyme present in eggs, which inhibits the absorption of vitamin B in a dog’s body.

  1. Chocolates

Any kinds of chocolates, whether white or dark, are harmful to a dog.

The substance called theobromine that is present in chocolates may lead to excessive thirst, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, tremors, distorted heart rythm or death, in a dog.

  1. Gums and Candies

It is quite possible that your dog may pop in some candies or gums accidentally, especially around the time of Halloween.

So you have to keep them away from your dog, carefully. For that matter, other items like baked goods, toothpaste or some diet foods are harmful.

All the mentioned items contain a substance called xylitol, used for sweetening. Xylitol drops the blood sugar, by increasing the amount of insulin in a dog’s blood.

This leads to failure of its liver within few days. It may also cause seizures in some dogs.

  1. Dairy products

Dairy products like milk, ice-creams etc. cause upset stomach in dogs. They also cause allergies.

  1. Fish and Raw Meat

Fish and raw meat contain a lot of bacteria that can cause illness. Within few weeks, it may also die.

  1. Table-scraps and Bones

Leftover fat, trimmed from meats, may lead to pancreatitis in dogs.

Feeding bones to your dog may cause it to choke or splinter any digestive muscles.

  1. Salt

Feeding your dog with foods that contain too much of salt can lead to sodium ion poisoning in it.

This happens due to frequent thirst and urination. If the condition becomes severe, it may also lead to the death of a dog.

  1. Plums, Peaches or Persimmons

These fruits contain seeds which can cause obstruction in the intestine of your dog and may even cause inflammation of the small intestine.

Moreover, the pits of these fruits contain cyanide which is fatal for dogs.

  1. Human Medicine

Keep all your medicine out of the reach of your dog. Ingredients in human medicine like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are very dangerous for dogs.

Do not give any of your own medication to your dog, without the permission of a vet.

  1. Yeast

Your dog may reach out to the dough yeast and may eat it, accidentally. As the common property of yeast is to rise, it will rise in the stomach of your dog and may cause its rupture, if the condition gets severe.

In normal condition, you will just be facing a lot of farts from your doggy!

  1. Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts may damage your dog’s muscle, digestive and nervous systems.

  1. Cat Food

If you think that you can feed your dog with the cat food that you have at your home, then you need be alert about that.

Cat foods contain high amounts of fats and proteins that are not appropriate for your dog to consume.

8 “Human” Foods for Dogs

These are some foods that you should strictly keep away from your dog for its well-being. There are many other human foods which you can offer to your dog. Some such food items are listed below:

Pumpkin– It is a good source of vitamin A and fibers.

Yogurt– Yogurt without any sweeteners and with live active bacteria is good for the digestive system of your dog. Moreover, it is a rich source of calcium and proteins.

Carrots– They are high in vitamins and fibers, while low in calories. Their crunchy texture helps to keep the dog’s teeth healthy.

Green Beans– They have high contents of fibers, manganese and vitamins C and K. They are low in calories too.

Sweet Potatoes– They provide fibers, manganese, vitamins, beta carotene etc. to your dog. Moreover, they are easy on pockets.

Oatmeals- They are high in fiber content and beneficial to the dog for its bowel movements. They are a good substitute for wheat, if your dog is allergic to wheat.

Pasta and Rice– They are good bland food that you can give to your dog. Brown rice is the best thing to feed your dog with.

Well cooked meats– You can give any meat to your dog if it is well cooked like lean meats or chicken.

I hope, I have answered your query about why dogs eat grass, correctly. In addition, you also learnt what human foods are harmful to dogs and what it can eat. If you have any suggestions, which you want to share with other readers, feel free to drop them down in the comments box.

About Author:

I'm a dog food judge. I specialize in examining dog food nutrition so that I can recommend you food that will preserve your dog's health and extend his life. Good food will help you prevent dog health problems like obesity, diabetes, pancreatitis, gastroenteritis, nutritional imbalance, and many others. Also, by preventing serious illnesses you won't have to pay huge veterinarian bill later.

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