Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
April 28, 2021 | 3 min read
Updated April 28, 2021
By Sarah Milton
Published: April 28, 2021
Updated: July 6, 2022
Summary: In this blog, we learn all about why dogs eat grass! We’ll discover whether dogs can eat grass, why they eat grass in the first place and whether eating grass is a sign of a health problem. Read on to find out more about dogs eating grass…
Have you ever caught your pup chomping on a bit of your lawn? The theory is that dogs do this to relieve a sickly stomach and some pet parents may panic at the sight of their pup gnawing on a big chunk of grass. But, what are the actual reasons behind this unusual taste for turf? Why do dogs eat grass and should you let them…?
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
There are actually a few reasons behind dogs eating grass, and rest assured, it’s not always because they’re feeling sick… Reasons include;
1. They’re bored
Some dogs eat grass out of boredom, so engage in the behavior for something to do. As well as meeting their daily exercise needs, make sure you’re engaging in play both indoors and outdoors and regularly interacting with your fur baby to alleviate any potential boredom.
2. They need more fiber
Some vets believe that our pups start to eat grass when they’re not getting enough fiber, vitamins, minerals, or nutrients in their day-to-day diet. Eating grass could be the way your dog’s trying to fill that need.
Many dogs lack fiber in their modern, domesticated diets too, so to help reduce their instinctive need to lap up your lawn, try popping the odd carrot, cooked pumpkin, blueberry handful, cooked broccoli, or some chopped cucumbers into their bowl each day to help deliver the suitable amount, which in addition can improve their overall bowel health too.However, remember that not all human food is safe for dogs to eat. To help you establish which ones to keep your pooch away from, we’ve put together a list of foods you should avoid giving your dog at all costs:
3. It tastes nice
Some dogs simply love the taste of grass, especially when it’s smelling all super fresh in the Spring!
4. It’s instinctive
Dog’s digestive systems have evolved since being domesticated by humans. However, they are omnivores (naturally eat a combination of both meat and plants) and when they were wild they would instinctively eat grass even alongside hunting their own prey.
5. They are attempting to self-treat an illness
Some dogs do eat grass in an attempt to make themselves feel better if they’re unwell, but this is often accompanied by other symptoms which are detailed below.
Should I Let My Dog Eat Grass?
It is usually safe for a dog to eat grass, unless you treat your lawn with pesticides which can make a dog very sick. If you suspect they’ve eaten grass treated with harmful pesticides, get them to the vet stat.
It’s also essential that your dog is receiving regular flea, worm, and tick prevention treatment too. This protects them, your home, your family, and your community from the different types of intestinal worms in dogs which can be picked up via eating grass if they are not properly protected. Make sure their preventative worm treatment also protects against lungworm, as lungworm can be picked up from slugs and snails.
PetLab Co. Pro Tip: If your dog also likes to chew on your house plants, it may be time to ethically train them out of it as some house plants can be toxic for dogs. These include Lily-Of-The-Valley, Foxgloves, Dragon Trees, Poinsettias, Ivy, and Hyacinths. Read more here.
When Should I Take My Dog That Eats Grass To The Vet?
Dogs can sometimes eat grass to self-treat an illness. You should get your dog checked out by their vet if:
- they’re eating grass but not also eating their normal food
- eating grass and doesn’t seem themselves/appears unwell
- your dog’s eating grass frantically or excessively
- your dog is eating grass, and then throwing up repeatedly
- they’re eating grass but also have diarrhea or blood in their stool
- they’re eating grass and noticeably licking their lips
- they’re eating grass and have recently lost a lot of weight
PetLab Co. Pro Tip: If your dog loves eating grass and rolling in it, it’s good practice as a pet parent to be mindful of grass seeds. Grass seeds are notorious for getting into places they shouldn’t and are a very common problem, especially in the summer months. They are most commonly seen to get trapped inside the ear, the eye, in between the toes, and in the skin. Because of their one-directional dart-like shape, they are sharp enough to penetrate the skin or a crevice, but they cannot come out themselves and instead keep migrating forwards. This can cause swelling, abscesses, and infections if not found and removed early! They’ll often need to be removed by the vet, as well as then require the necessary medication to reduce swelling and clear the infection. Make sure you don’t ignore the signs because grass seeds can become VERY painful for your pup, and may damage the internal structures (such as the eardrum) leading to serious problems further down the line.
"Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?" Blue Cross, May 10. 2015 https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/why-does-my-dog-eat-grass
Author Zachary, Jessika "Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?" American Kennel Club, Oct 30. 2020 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/why-does-my-dog-eat-grass/
Author Brownie, Cecil F "Houseplants and Ornamentals" MSD Vet Manual, Aug. 2015 https://www.msdvetmanual.com/toxicology/poisonous-plants/houseplants-and-ornamentals#v4711776
Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!