Pet Tips

Dogs eating grass – Pet tip 18

Dogs eating grass? Some people will have never heard of this before as their dog has never exhibited this behaviour, but others may be wondering why their dog sometimes acts like a lawnmower. The reasons are not clearly known, but the current belief is that both healthy dogs and sick dogs will both indulge in grass-eating behaviour.

Dogs that have an upset or queasy stomach may go looking for something that will help them vomit. If you remember back to a time when you felt sick, vomiting can often relieve some of the uneasiness. Your pet will find that grass can be a useful tool to induce vomiting when they swallow it without chewing. The reason being that the long grass stalks will tickle the insides of their stomach, eliciting an automatic body response to get rid of this stomach irritation by vomiting. So a dog with an upset stomach may eat grass, then why would a healthy dog eat grass?

Oftentimes an owner will let their dog outside, and the dog will pull a mouthful of grass out of the ground, chew it well, and then swallow it. Some dogs may even eat a couple of mouthfuls of grass. The difference here may be that healthy dogs do not have the additional stomach irritation added on top of an already queasy stomach. Many will chew the grass well enough that it will not cause discomfort in tickling the stomach, and if they tend to devour it indiscriminately then the tickling may just not bother them. A dog that randomly eats grass may just eat grass because it likes the taste of it. This certainly may not look appealing to us, but look at what else dogs can find tasty: cat poop, dead animals and garbage. Your canine companion is certainly not picky about what it will eat, which could stem from the scavenging behaviour their wild dog ancestors needed to survive. This being said, your beautiful lush green lawn may just appear to be a gigantic salad bar to your dog. Remember, that even though you feed your dog mostly kibble, they are actually omnivores which means they need both greens and meat to get proper nutrition. Even though a good quality kibble provides a properly balanced meal, it may leave some dogs feeling like they are missing something or not getting enough greens and fiber. This is similar to some people who enjoy eating more greens, while others can only tolerate only a minimal amount of ‘salad.’

This may be all very upsetting for you, the owner. If only your dog could tell you why it was eating grass – it would answer all of your questions. Alas, your dog will continue eating grass as it pleases, so what can you do to ensure that it does not harm your pet? The number one concern is to ensure that there are no chemicals, like pesticides or herbicides, on the grass upon which your dog is chowing down. This can poison your canine companion. A chemical free lawn is a lawn fit for dog grazing. If your pet seems healthy otherwise, it is likely that grass grazing will not start causing problems for your dog. If you are not sure if your pet is feeling unwell and notice that after eating grass it vomits, a visit to the veterinarian would be your best option. If it turns out that your pet has a gastrointestinal problem, it may be best to actively prevent them from eating grass even though they may want to. This will just act to further irritate their stomach and may worsen their condition. In these situations, your vet will collaborate with you to determine the best method of care and treatment for your beloved pet.

Whether your dog is eating grass because it has an upset stomach, just likes the taste of it, or it does this just because it’s there, your awareness and interpretation of this behaviour based on your pet’s previous history, is crucial to gathering a partial answer as to the reason why he/she is grazing the lawn. Chances are that you may never actually get a complete answer to this issue, and your pet’s strange grass eating habits will remain one of life’s greatest unsolved mysteries.

By Laura Platt – writer

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