Ask a Vet: Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Does your dog enjoy grazing on grass when you're out for walks? Even if it happens very occasionally, you may be wondering why they choose to munch the lawn or whether it means they're lacking something in their diet.
Grass eating happens for a number of reasons, so we spoke to some experts to find out more.
Should I stop my dog from eating grass?
According to holistic vet Dr Nick Thompson, the question of "Dogs consuming grass has perplexed pet owners and veterinarians for decades and, while a definitive reason hasn't been universally accepted, we suspect that this behaviour is multifactorial.
"Some dogs might ingest grass to induce vomiting when experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort, although this is not always the case.
"Others may eat grass simply due to behavioural factors, such as boredom or a learned response. Importantly, occasional grass consumption isn't typically a cause for concern."
While eating grass is usually harmless, excessive or compulsive eating can be a cause for concern, so It's essential to monitor your dog's grass-eating habits and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any signs of distress, frequent vomiting, or other unusual behaviours.
Here are some other possible explanations for why they do it.
Why does my dog eat grass on walks?
Grass is rich in fibre
Grass is a good natural source of fibre, which can help to keep your dog's digestive system healthy. If your dog is not getting enough fibre in their diet, they may be more likely to eat grass in an attempt to get more.
Because they find it tasty
Some dogs just love the taste or texture of grass, much the same way we enjoy a salad.
If your dog or puppy has never eaten grass before, they may also be curious about it and want to try it.
Eating grass is natural
Dogs are descended from wolves, which are omnivorous animals. In the wild, wolves consume a variety of prey, including herbivores.
Like dogs, wolves prefer meat but they supplement it with plant material from time to time and eating grass may be a natural instinct passed down from their ancestors.
What should I do if my dog eats grass?
Eating grass is very common for dogs and a survey of over fifteen hundred dog owners found that nearly 70% said that their dogs ate plants every day, or at least once a week.
For healthy dogs, eating grass is considered to be safe, just make sure that the grass they are consuming is free from pesticides.
We recommend going organic if you can in your own back yard, which will also help save the bees and protect wildlife.
Should I be worried about my dog eating grass?
According to Dr Nick, "Frequent or compulsive grass eating could indicate an underlying health issue, such as a nutritional deficiency or an unaddressed gastrointestinal problem.
"As a vet, my advice to dog owners would be to monitor their pet's behaviour closely. If a pattern of excessive grass consumption emerges, it is prudent to seek professional veterinary advice to rule out any potential health implications."
Eating grass and vomiting
Some dogs eat grass in an attempt to make themselves vomit
This may be because they are feeling sick or nauseous, or it may be a way of trying to get rid of something they have eaten that they shouldn't have.
How to stop your dog from eating grass
Substitute for dog eating grass
Some dogs may eat grass out of boredom, curiosity, or as a form of play. Chewing on grass can provide them with mental stimulation, especially if they spend a significant amount of time indoors or lack other outlets for their energy.
You can try to break their grass-eating habit by offering them enrichment, like
- Licki mats
- Snuffle mats
If you think they're eating grass for or dietary reasons, you can try adding more fibre-rich fruits and vegetables to their diet, like:
Fibre is an essential nutrient in your dog’s diet to aid digestion and maintain gut health.
While some grass eating is perfectly normal, if you're ever concerned, it's always best to reach out to your vet.
Interested to learn more from Dr Nick?