Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

No one really knows why dogs eat grass but there are some theories. Most vets, canine behaviorists, and others think that it’s a normal behavior for dogs. Some dogs will do it if they have an upset stomach. They will try to find different kinds of grass until they find some that makes them vomit. It’s a good way to regurgitate something they ate if it doesn’t agree with them.

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Puppies will often eat grass just because puppies eat everything. They are curious and will taste anything. Sometimes they like the things they taste – and sometimes they don’t. This is probably how some dogs discover grass eating. Or they see another dog doing it and decide to try it for themselves.

Some dogs have been known to eat grass if they have an intestinal irritation or inflammatory bowel disease.  They may eat grass just to make themselves throw up. Who knows why they seek out grass if they have a gastrointestinal problem. But there are many human homeopathic cures and tonics that use different herbs and greens for stomach problems and other illnesses. Maybe dogs are relying on some kind of sense of natural healing. Instead of drinking dandelion tea, dogs just eat the dandelions.

Other dogs seem to enjoy eating different kinds of grass because they like the taste. Your dog can probably distinguish different kinds of grasses better than you can, whether by flavor or scent. Maybe eating some grass is like having a salad to him. Likewise, lots of dogs enjoy some eating some vegetables even though they don’t have much nutritional need for them. Dogs are scavengers in the wild. Even wolves eat the stomach contents of their prey, which include vegetable matter.

There’s always the possibility that your dog could be missing some nutrients in his diet and he has a craving for something found in the grass. Dogs don’t digest grass very well but that might not stop your dog from wanting to taste and eat it sometimes.

If your dog regularly eats grass you could try switching him to a dog food with more fiber. Or adding some alfalfa sprouts or other greens to his regular dog food. See if you can make him happy with some nutritious greens in his diet. Or not. There is nothing wrong with your dog enjoying eating some grass as long as it doesn’t have chemicals or herbicides on it. For many dogs, eating grass is one of the pleasures of being outdoors. For now, it remains one of the great mysteries about dogs. We just don’t know exactly why dogs eat grass. If you could ask your dog, he might reply, “Why not?”

So, if you see your dog eating grass, don’t assume that he’s sick or that there’s anything wrong with him. Just observe him and notice what he does. He could be eating grass for lots of different reasons. If you keep an eye on him, you might figure out why he’s doing it.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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