It’s been said that dogs eat grass when they’re stomach is upset, but sometimes you might catch your dog eating grass even when they’re feeling fine. So what’s the deal with this behavior?
It’s Their Instinct
We think of dogs as strictly carnivorous just like their wolf ancestors, but dogs have technically adapted to be omnivorous. Wolves’ digestive system has developed for long periods without food and eating in excess once they have made a hunt. Along with being true carnivores, wolves consume all the nutrients they need from eating almost all body parts of their prey.
Wolves evolved to metabolize plants when food is scarce and eat plants or grass even more rarely than dogs. As ancient humans and their canine companions became domesticated, their genetic makeup changed to better digest starch and glucose. Ancient dogs were essentially scavengers while modern dogs have lost their need to hunt, but retained their instinct to eat grass and wild plants.
Compulsion and Boredom
Dogs can suffer from boredom just like people. If your pooch is excessively eating grass with no signs of an upset stomach they could be suffering from boredom or compulsion.
Regular exercise and longer walks may do the trick. Mentally stimulating games can help with boredom and anxiety. A DIY interactive toy like the repurposed plastic container from this tutorial can be hours of fun for your pup.
If your dog is anxious, our Peanut Butter Bundle can be added to any toy or used in tandem for enrichment and relaxation. Our treats are full of high quality ingredients that aid in digestion like pumpkin and carrots. Our CBD Peanut Butter comes in three strengths – 150mg, 300mg, and 600mg – to soothe all dogs.
Compulsive grass eating can be best assessed by your veterinarian.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass Then Vomit?
It is widely believed that dogs eat grass to make them vomit, however, most dogs that eat grass are not ill beforehand. Experts believe that dogs who eat grass before vomiting are eating grass as a way to self-medicate and soothe an upset stomach.
If your pup is showing signs of gastrointestinal distress call your veterinarian to identify and treat the cause.
Is It Harmful?
No, eating grass itself is not harmful to your dog! The rough edges of grass blades can give your dog a coughing fit, though. Make sure your dog is well hydrated and has access to water if they like to eat grass.
Should You Let Your Dog Eat Grass?
When it comes down to it, some healthy dogs just love to eat grass and enjoy a little more fiber in their diet. But, if you treat your lawn with the chemical fertilizers and weed killer you want to keep your pooch from grazing on your lawn to avoid an upset stomach or risk of poisoning.
How To Get Your Dog To Stop Eating Grass
Although grazing is not unhealthy or harmful for your dog, you might want to nip the behavior in the bud by providing a balanced diet with enough fiber. Extended walks and new walking routes stave off boredom.
If your pup is still grazing, redirection to a positive activity will create better habits. An affection driven dog will benefit from redirecting to cuddles. For play and food driven dogs, try redirecting into a game of fetch or a short trick drills.
Eating Grass Might Seem Weird, But It’s Normal!
When your dog eats grass it may seem strange because of their carnivorous nature, but their instincts drive them to occasionally graze. Although grass itself isn’t unhealthy, a diet with the proper amount of fiber and exercise can help curb their appetite for grass.
Next time your pup decides they want to snack on some grass, redirect them with some treats from our Peanut Butter Bundle. Visit our shop page and save 20% when you purchase a bundle!
Dietary nutrient profiles of wild wolves: Insights for optimal dog nutrition. British Journal Of Nutrition. ReasearchGate. Accessed July 29, 2021.
Why Dogs Eat Grass. VCA Hospitals. Accessed July 29, 2021.