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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Sometimes when we are out for walks we catch our dogs eating the grass. But why do they do this? Are they sick? Today, our St. Louis vets share some insight into the reasons why your dog may be eating grass and if you should worry.

Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Eats Grass

When your dog starts eating grass it can leave you with a few questions and even concerns, especially if they vomit and then go right back to eating it.

May pet parents wonder if this means that their pup is feeling particularly unwell. Has the dog eaten something poisonous? Is the dog self-treating an undiagnosed medical condition?

It's important to know that not every dog will omit after they've had a snack on some grass. The majority of dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. So it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Then why do they do it?

Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

You aren't alone in needing fiber to help your digestive system run smoothly. This is actually the case for dogs as well. Because dogs are omnivores they actually need both plants and meat in their diet to ensure that they are getting all of the health benefits they need. Eating grass may be an easy way for your pooch to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things flowing through their digestive tract.

Even so, if you notice that your dog is eating grass but is showing other signs of being obviously unwell then you should contact your vet right away. Dogs can suffer from a number of stomach and gastrointestinal issues including conditions such as pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and has other symptoms such as lack of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, it's a good idea to take your pup to the vet for an examination.

Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Did you know that one of the ways that your dog may express their boredom or anxiety is with grass chewing? If your dog seems to be feeling fine but is excessively chewing on grass then you may want to look at whether or not they are feeling some type of emotional distress.

If it is simply due to boredom then you could make changes to your routine to allow for more activity on a daily basis.

Dogs are also prone to separation anxiety which could lead to this type of behavior. Try leaving an old blanket or t-shirt with your scent on it with your dog when you leave the house. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring and help to curb their grass-eating habit. 

Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet will be able to advise you on how to help your pup reduce obsessive behaviors.

Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?

If your dog is otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe behavior.

If you allow your dog access to grass for eating, be sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys. These could lead to serious or potentially fatal veterinary concerns which would require emergency care.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you worried that your dog may be eating grass due to illness or behavioral issues? Contact our St. Louis vets to schedule a consultation for your pup.

Compassionate Emergency Care for Pets

Animal Emergency Clinic is an after-hours emergency animal hospital providing urgent care to cats and dogs from St. Louis and surrounding areas. Contact us right away if you are experiencing a veterinary emergency.

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