Have you ever noticed a certain behavior that your dog shows during the walks that makes you wonder if it is normal, and why is he/she doing it? An example that probably most of you will relate to is when your dog eats grass.
In this article you will learn more about the reasons why dogs eat grass, is it dangerous, and when you should take action to interfere with this behavior.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
When you notice that your dog grazes on grass you do not have to worry immediately, as he/she may be just bored. If you are too busy, can not pay enough attention to your canine and play with him/her, he/she may look for alternatives to spend his/her time and eventually get your attention. Dogs tend to perform different kinds of behavior when they feel ignored by their beloved humans.
What to Do
A simple way to prevent your canine from eating grass due to boredom is to walk him/her more frequently, engage with him/her in different games and exercises so that he/she will stay fit and motivated. You should try to spend quality time with your furry friend so that he/she can spend an excessive amount of energy. Intellectual and more demanding games will keep him/her busy during the day.
You can also train your canine to ignore grass. You can achieve this when you redirect his/her attention to something else and bring a small bag of treats that will help you encourage the wanted behavior. Furthermore, you can also teach him/her commands like “Sit” “Watch me” (to focus on you and not pay attention to distractions) or “Drop”.
The Taste of Grass
Your doggy is likely to just enjoy the taste of grass. Dogs have a natural instinct to search for food and explore the environment. They may like the taste of grass, especially if it is lush and freshly cut. Your pup may have just eaten before the walk, but this will not stop him/her from exploring the lawns and eating grass. Many smells will lure your doggy and he/she is not likely to resist them.
What to Do
In this case, there is not much you can do, as we stated above, this is a natural instinct in dogs to look for food and investigate their environment.
Another reason why your canine eats grass may be nutritional needs. According to some researches grass contains fiber that help your dog’s body to function normally. This is only a hypothesis and there is no information that confirms it at 100%.
Also, there might be a lack of specific minerals, vitamins or chlorophyll in your canine’s body, and he/she may need to compensate for the deficiencies. Fiber and chlorophyll help the process of digestion, as they increase the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
What to Do
If you would like to prevent your dog from eating grass due to nutritional needs, you may need to set him/her on a diet with high fiber foods. Please consult your veterinarian first, so that they can advise on the most suitable diet for your dog.
If your canine experiences stomach issues, he/she may munch on grass. Eating grass may cause vomiting, that will settle his/her stomach. It is believed that dogs’ ancestors used this approach when they had upset stomachs, and it is considered a kind of self-medication treatment. However, there is no solid proof that determines which action is the cause and which one is the effect of that cause. In other words, we can not say for sure if eating grass leads to vomiting or in reverse.
What to Do
If you have doubts that your canine may cope with stomach disorders, you need to call a veterinarian and arrange a visit.
When to Worry?
If you notice that your dog eats grass regularly and vomits, there might be a health issue. You need to bring him/her to a veterinarian and provide them with your dog’s full health history as needed. The more detailed information about his/her health condition you can give, the more accurate the diagnosis and the treatment will be. Some kind of useful information might be any medication that your dog takes, additional health conditions that he/she has, the substances that he/she vomits- grass, food or something else.
It is possible, that your canine has swallowed a foreign body that irritates his/her stomach. Blood tests and X-rays may need to be taken.
Should You Prevent Your Dog from Eating Grass?
There is a term- “pica”, that describes a condition for craving and eating non-food items. These items might be of one type or many types. This condition may be extremely dangerous for your pet, as non-food items can interfere with normal digestion and get stuck in the digestive tract or, may be toxic.
However, we would like to make clear that eating grass itself is not dangerous.
The chemicals that it may be sprayed with, the parasites, and the contamination that may be on it are the reasons why you should monitor your dog’s behavior while outside and stop him/her from eating grass.
As stated above there are some easy actions you can take as a responsible owner/handler to ensure that your dog is healthy, fit, and eats a high-quality food providing him/her with all the fiber and vitamins needed. Also, you should never forget to bring your dog for regular checks by a veterinarian.