Grass eating is perhaps the most common form of Pica seen in dogs. Many dogs like to eat grass and will do so every time they are outside. So, should you be worried? Or should you let your dogs eat grass? Let’s find out.
6 Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass?
There are many reasons why dogs eat grass. Here are some reasons listed below:
1. Your Dog Is Bored
Many dogs eat grass to entertain themselves. It’s a lot like why we would eat peanuts or sunflower seeds. Sometimes we do it just to keep our hands busy. It’s the same with dogs.
2. Your Dog Has A Deficiency
The most common reason for Pica is a deficiency. So, if your dog is eating grass quite often, it may be because they have a deficiency.
Sometimes, it may not even be a nutritional problem. Some dogs eat grass to add more fibres in their diet so that they don’t have constipation and other health problems. Research shows that a miniature poodle ate grass and vomited every day for 7 years! But when his owner switched him to a high fibre diet, he stopped eating grass within three days of the diet change.
So, if your dog is eating grass every single day, it may be because something is a miss in their daily diet.
3. Your Dog Is Sick
There are many debates about this theory because while some scientists believe that dogs eat grass to make themselves vomit and expel toxins, others believe that dogs are not smart enough to understand and treat their own sickness.
We don’t know which of the theory is true however research shows that only 25% of dogs, that eat grass, vomit regularly afterwards. So while some dogs may know how to make themselves vomit after eating grass, others have it for other reasons.
4. It’s In Their Instincts
Scientists argue that grass eating may be in their instincts. Dogs aren’t exactly carnivore. Wolves are carnivores but they too had small amounts of plants as puppies. In fact, not just dogs and wolves, but chimpanzees as well, animals that are known to grow up eating fruits and small animals, actually eat small amounts of grass when they are babies.
The offsprings of many species eat grass, perhaps out of habit that they inherit from their ancestors.
5. Your Dog Wants Your Attention
A dog that is finally getting to interact with you after a long day of wait, may actually eat grass for your attention. They know you will react if they eat grass or if they eat too much grass so they do it so that you lock eyes with them.
Dogs like these need a little more attention. Play with them, teach them new games when they are out so that they don’t feel inclined to eat grass. But don’t give them any attention when they are eating grass. Attention will only appropriate the behaviour.
6. Your Dog Likes The Taste
This is perhaps the most probable reason for them to eat grass. Simply because they like how it tastes! There aren’t enough researches on dogs eating grass. The few studies that do exist, do not rule out the possibility that dogs eat it because they like the taste and the texture.
Many dogs eat grass during the months of spring and monsoon when the grass is fresh and cool. Which shows that dogs can differentiate tastes of grass.
7. Is It Bad For Them To Eat Grass?
If you ask a vet, they will tell you that eating small amounts of grass is not a reason for concern. It’s really not the grass that’s the problem but the kind of pesticide on the grass. Grass, typically grown in public lawns and parks, usually have a lot of chemicals to prevent pests and give it that lustre so, it’s best to not allow them to eat grass in these places.
Instead, if you have your own backyard, you can use organic/pet-safe pesticides, or make a small area of grass that does not have any pesticides.
If you don’t have a lawn or a private backyard, you can grow your own dog-safe herbs and plants indoors. You can teach your dog to eat those specific plants. If dogs have access to such plants they are less likely to eat grass.
Other ways to reduce grass consumption is to increase play and attention. Dogs that eat grass if they are bored or if they want your attention, will most likely stop once that void is filled. So, play with them or take them out on a long walk to make sure they are tired.
If your dog is suddenly eating more grass or if you start to see other symptoms, it’s best to get them checked by your vet. Dogs that eat grass often need to be dewormed on time to prevent them from getting intestinal parasites.
If the grass eating is becoming concerning, doctors may do a full body checkup to find intestinal problems, gastric issues etc. However, in most cases, a simple change in their diet and substituting the grass with nutritional herbs, or chemical-free grass, is enough to help them live a healthy life.