Is your dog constantly eating grass when you’re on walks? If so, you’re probably asking yourself why. In some cases, it may be a personal preference of theirs. But it could be a sign something more worrying is happening. Below, we discuss a question many dog lovers ask, “Why do dogs eat grass?” We also consider why you should bring it up at your next routine checkup as part of dog wellness plans.
Why do dogs eat grass?
Dogs are loveable, entertaining creatures. They’re known for their goofy antics (zoomies, anyone?) and zany expressions. Yet, some behaviors are downright questionable. Eating grass is one example. You need to pay attention if your dog has a habit of munching grass midway through a walk or while lying in your backyard.
While eating things they shouldn’t isn’t unusual for our four-legged friends, grass is a strange choice. Many pet parents fear their pooch needs to vomit when this happens, but that’s not always the case. It’s thought that 80% of dogs will engage in this behavior at some point. Yet, what does it mean?
Eating non-food-related items is known as pica and happens for multiple reasons. To understand why your dog needs to eat grass, you must get to the root of the cause. Doing so will guide you toward the right treatments and prevention methods.
Top reasons your pup is munching your lawn
So, let’s get down to it: Why do dogs eat grass? Reasons range from stomach issues, anxiety, and boredom to their natural hunting instinct. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why dogs eat grass below.
Do you think your dog is getting enough nutrients as part of a well-balanced diet? Perhaps this isn’t the case. When your dog doesn’t receive the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients daily, they search for it elsewhere. This could indicate they need more fiber in their diet. However, never make this assumption without a diagnosis.
Your vet can determine if your pup is missing essential nutrients by conducting a blood work test. Many dog wellness plans include routine blood work exams as part of their coverage.
Grass can act as a form of antacid for dogs. If your dog is experiencing digestive issues, such as acid reflux or inflammatory bowel disease, or other gut health issues, they may eat grass to help relieve discomfort. It’s thought that grass fiber content helps their gastrointestinal (GI) system work better. Many pet owners often notice their dogs vomit yellow foam after eating grass. This is bile and is irritating to your dog’s stomach. Eating grass is their way of emptying their stomach to feel better. Talk to your vet about probiotics or other tests to help get to the root of your dog's health concerns.
Boredom or anxiety
Anxiety or boredom may be another reason why dogs eat grass. An anxious dog eating grass is often compared to someone nervously biting their nails. If your pooch sniffs or eats grass more when walking a new route or when they’re around strange people or dogs, this is a telltale sign of anxiety.
They could also be bored. This is common among dogs looking for companionship. If your dog spends a lot of time alone in the yard, eating grass is their way of telling you they need mental and physical stimulation.
Eating grass could also be part of their genetic makeup. It’s believed dogs in the wild used to eat animals (e.g., rabbits) that primarily consumed grass and other plants as part of their diet. Due to this, it may have led to an instinct or craving for grass.
Some dogs instinctively eat grass when suffering from GI issues, such as intestinal worms. It’s believed eating grass helps a dog remove worms from its intestines. If you notice any of the following symptoms along with grass-eating, it’s a good indication your dog has intestinal worms:
- weight loss;
- extended stomach;
- worms in stool.
They enjoy the taste
Others simply like the taste. It’s as easy as that—many dogs like the odor and taste of freshly cut grass. A chemical called (Z)-3-hexenal is believed to make the smell of grass extremely attractive to dogs. Additionally, many dogs choose to chew grass in the same way humans chew gum. It’s simply a personal preference.
When should I worry about my dog eating grass?
If your dog eats grass regularly, it’s a good idea to get them checked out by a vet. While it may be nothing more than boredom or a habit, it could signify something more worrying. Your vet will run necessary tests to rule out intestinal worms, parasites, and other GI issues.
With Wagmo wellness insurance for dogs, routine pet care doesn’t have to break the bank. Our pet wellness plans cover everything from vet visits, vaccinations, dental cleaning, and more. For as little as $36 per month, we’ll reimburse you for necessary pet ownership costs. Are you interested in finding a plan? Take our dog wellness quiz to get the perfect plan for your pup.