Dogs sometimes exhibit unusual behavior that may or may not indicate something serious. For instance, it’s natural for dog owners to get confused when they see their furry pals munching on grass.
This is called “pica” and it is an eating disorder that involves non-food items.
There’s no cause to be alarmed just yet. In most cases, it doesn’t indicate an underlying condition. What you actually have to watch out for early on is that the plants may contain herbicides or insecticides.
If your dog munches on grass frequently and it contains harmful substances, the ingested toxins could eventually reach dangerous levels.
That being said, it’s still not a good idea to limit your dog’s outdoor hours because of the behavior.
To be able to assess and manage the situation better, you should understand the reasons why dogs eat grass.
1. Dogs eat grass if they’re bored
Like humans, dogs can get bored if they aren’t given anything to do. Sometimes, they seek attention by barking or whining. On other occasions, they exhibit destructive behavior, including chewing your couch, biting your hand, or eating grass.
Another theory is that your four-legged friend might simply be curious, especially if it doesn’t go outdoors a lot.
If your dog eats grass because of boredom or curiosity, WebMD suggests introducing more physical activities.
When at the park, let your pet play with a ball/frisbee or jog beside you. You can also give a chew toy to keep it occupied. Or experiment with other great outdoor exercise options like water sports or hiking.
2. Some dogs like to eat grass
Maybe your canine pal prefers greens! Don’t be surprised, as dogs are omnivores. In a blog post by Susan Paretts, she explained on Go Fetch that your furry baby’s wolf ancestors probably ate fruits and vegetables daily, so its grass-eating habit may just be a case of genetics.
In fact, some dogs even eat particular types of grass – a trait that could have been passed on through generations. Conversely, it may also be a case of preference in terms of taste.
3. Some dogs need nutrients from grass
Some pooches eat grass because it has nutrients that common dog food doesn’t contain, like fiber and folic acid. This usually happens when your dog hasn’t eaten a meal in a while.
If their grass-eating bothers you, consider increasing their meal portions. It’s also important to incorporate whole grains, bran and cooked vegetables into its diet. If your dog has meals that meet their nutritional needs, it won’t have to eat through your lawn.
4. Some dogs eat grass when they feel nauseated
Similar to many other animals, eating grass helps canines cleanse their systems, especially when they have an upset stomach.
If this is the case, you’ll see your dog throw up or poop after eating grass.
A 2008 study found that dogs who felt nauseous before eating grass were more likely to vomit compared to dogs who weren’t.
However, this could also indicate a more serious gastrointestinal issue or the presence of a parasite. If your pup frequently eats grass and appears ill, it’s best to take him to the veterinarian.