It’s weird, it’s confusing, but it’s something we’ve all experienced: our doggies chomping away on grass like there’s no tomorrow!
Why do they do that? And is it okay? Is it a sign of something worse? Read on, and we’ll cover why our omnivore fur babies eat grass!
Why do dogs eat grass?
Dogs will sometimes eat large amounts of grass in order to make themselves throw up. In fact, if your dog consumes a large amount of grass, it could be because they’re nauseous, have gas or are bloated, they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have, have a virus or bad bacteria, or even have a parasite that’s upsetting their digestive system.
Though dogs will frantically eat grass, almost like they’re ravenous, there’s no reason for you to get frantic too. There are several underlying reasons for why dos eat grass so there’s no need to assume the worst right off the bat.
What should you look out for? After they consume a large amount of grass, dogs will often vomit. It’s perfectly normal for a dog to vomit on occasion, the same way people do if they feel sick. However, if your dog is eating grass and vomiting on a regular basis, you should get to the bottom of it. Vomiting 1-2 times a year is normal, vomiting on a regular basis is not.
But remember, most of the time it’s nothing to worry about. Actually, you might be surprised to know that your dog knows what’s best in terms of intentionally vomiting to void their system of something that could be toxic, or making them sick. Have you ever thought to yourself “If I could just throw up I’d feel so much better?” Your dog feels that way sometimes too.
Also, think of grass as medicine. What do you do when you have an upset stomach? You run straight for the medicine cabinet! What does your dog do? Just like their ancestors have done for thousands of years, they seek out a natural remedy, and grass, it seems, does the trick. The thinking behind this is that when dogs eat the grass, it gives an unsettling sensation in the stomach which in turn, causes a dog to vomit. This alleviates their nausea.
But is an upset stomach the only reason a dog eats grass? There’s always the possibility that your dog eats grass because he likes it. Does your dog nibble on the tops of long grasses? Does he take his time munching along the fence line? Does he pick his “favorite” grasses and eat them first? Then, when he’s gotten a taste, does he go along his merry way?
Some dogs simply eat grass because they like the taste. Shorter grasses are sweet; some grasses are tart. Every dog will eat different forage if they’re grazing just for the heck of it.
So should I let my dog eat grass?
If your dog vomits, don’t panic. But if your dog is eating large amounts of grass and this continues throughout the day, it might be time to see your veterinarian to get to the bottom of things.
But here’s the thing; for the most part dogs know what they need to consume. And in fact, biologists have proven that dogs (wild and domestic) consume grass for various reasons and it’s a completely normal behavior.
Should you let your dog eat grass? Let’s put it this way – you don’t have to prevent your dogs from eating grass.
**Obviously it’s important to keep your dog from eating grasses that have been treated with pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. You do not want your dog consuming toxins.**
The grasses your dog seeks out probably contain some nutritional value that your dog instinctively knows it needs. Grasses contain phytonutrients, are high in potassium, and are also a pretty good source of digestive enzymes.
So your dog could be seeking out selective grasses to make up for one of these nutritional components that they’re currently not getting in their diet.
This video from Dr. Karen Becker explains things a bit further:
Dogs are Omnivores
Dogs are omnivores, and it’s probably the main reason why grass looks appetizing to them. Sometimes, they do this to make themselves throw up. But grass isn’t toxic unless it is treated with pesticides and other chemicals.
If you see your dog eating grass, don’t worry too much. Also, consider if they’re getting enough nutrients from the diet you are providing them.