Most dogs eat, have eaten, or will eat grass at some point in their life. You have probably heard that if a dog is eating grass , that means the dog is sick. This isn’t always true, in fact it usually isn’t! This is not a highly researched topic. In fact, there is no proven reason why dogs eat grass. However, there are many theories that we can explore.
Theories on why do dogs eat grass
Some experts believe that dogs who eat grass may be lacking vitamins, minerals, or nutrients in their diet.
Dogs that are strictly given an all kibble diet, may be trying to supplement with grasses.
Some dogs are very selective about the grasses they choose to eat.
This could give some validation to the theory that they are seeking additional nutrition.
However, it is worth noting that grass is high in cellulose, and that makes it difficult for dogs to digest.
Since dogs can’t really digest grass, they have little to gain nutritionally.
To induce Vomiting (Purge)
Some believe that dogs eat grass when their stomach is upset.
However, not all dogs that eat grass vomit afterwards.
In fact, most dogs don’t get sick at all.
Lacking Roughage / Fiber
Another theory is that dogs eat grass because they are eating a diet that lacks fiber.
In a 2007 Journal of Veterinary medical science case study, a mini poodle was switched to a high fiber diet, and her grass eating ceased.
If you would like to add some extra fiber to your dogs diet, there are plenty of vegetables that are safe for your dog, for example broccoli and carrots, to name a few.
Wild dogs hunted herbivores.
After the kill, they would eat the contents of their prey’s stomach.
This typically included partially digested plant matter and grains.
This was an instinct the dogs had, and it’s believed that the partially digested material provided nutrients that weren’t available in meat alone. Since this material was already partially digested, the nutrients may have been better absorbed by the dog.
Grass has also been found in the feces of wolves.
You may be wondering if canines are actually omnivores– (omnivores eat both vegetation and meat) or carnivores?
The answer to that is debatable. Vetstreet.com Are dogs Carnivores?
Some dogs just seem to enjoy eating grass.
They may like the flavor and texture to the grass for the variety it adds to their diet.
Boredom / Anxiety
Some dogs eat grass out of a psychological need, much the same way that humans engage in nail biting, says Memphis Veterinary Specialist.
You can conquer this by keeping your dog busy when he is outside, a game of fetch perhaps, or consider taking a run with your dog.
Wild dogs were scavengers and some domesticated dogs may still scavenge.
Just like wild dogs, eating grass could be part of their innate behavior.
Some dogs may turn to eating grass to get their owners attention, especially if they know they aren’t supposed to be eating grass.
To eliminate intestinal parasites
There is a theory that ancient dogs ate grass as a means of getting rid of worms. Dr. Marty Pets
Balance their Biome
In this video, Dr. Karen Becker believes that one reason dogs may eat grass is to balance their biome.
She notes that grass contains pre-biotic fiber, and may help balance intestinal flora.
Is eating grass dangerous?
Most veterinarians agree that eating grass in small amounts isn’t dangerous.
However, if your dog is consuming large amounts, or vomiting regularly, you should consult your vet.
Another concern with your dog eating grass is the pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers that may have been applied to the grass itself.
What about puppies eating grass?
A 2009 Journal of Veterinary behavior study found that puppies were more likely to eat grass, if their mothers did while nursing.
Be careful, and make sure your puppy doesn’t eat a large amount of grass or a blockage could occur.
There are so many theories, but very little actual scientific evidence about why dogs eat grass.
It doesn’t look like we’ll have a definitive answer anytime soon.
My conclusion is that dogs eat grass for different reasons at different times in their lives.
We hope that “Why Do dogs eat grass” has been helpful.