Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Should You Let Them?

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It could be for a variety of reasons, including they are nutrient deficient, sick, or simply because it tastes good.
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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass and Weeds?

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There is no scientific study to conclude precisely why dogs like eating grass. However, there are several theories and experiences to show why dogs may be chomping down on the green stuff.
Nutrient Deficient: The grass may be filling a void in your dog's diet, commonly fiber, and crave the minerals within the grass. Make sure to feed your dog a complete diet, and try adding in other fresh vegetables, such as carrot and broccoli to their diet. If you are concerned as to whether your dog is getting enough nutrients and fiber, contact a vet or nutritionist who will be able to take a blood or stool sample for testing.
Bored: Your dog may be craving attention, and when he starts chewing up your freshly laid lawn, he'll get it. Whether it's good or bad attention, keep your dog stimulated with regular exercise, mental games, and frequent socialization to keep this at bay.
Unwell or Nauseous: Many people claim they eat grass to make themselves sick. It is said that when they eat the grass, the pieces tickle or aggravate their throat and stomach, causing them to be sick. However, this is not scientifically proven. It is also unclear as to whether dogs eat the grass because they already feel sick and trying to make themselves vomit, or the grass makes them sick. 
Part of their DNA: Dogs are scavengers by nature. Many will eat just about anything, from underwear to a pillow. They scavenge to survive. Closely related canines, including foxes eat berries, grass, and small rodents as part of their diet. Wolves would also consume animals that graze on grass, and therefore consume the grass too. This could indicate that it is entirely natural for dogs to enjoy grass.
It Tastes Good: Grass may taste nice to dogs. Just like we chow down on a salad, dogs may feel the same about grass. Some only consume grass when it has been freshly cut, or only in the spring. Our dogs have a particular fancy to the grass after it has rained. 

Should You Let Your Dog Eat Grass?

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Generally, eating grass shouldn't be too much of a concern for owners. The grass is safe for dogs, and every dog I've owned has enjoyed the occasion munch on the grass. However, there are some things to look out for when your dog is eating grass.
Pesticides: If your dog is eating grass when you're out walking, this could be more of an issue as the grass could have been sprayed with pesticides, which could be toxic or harmful to dogs. Try to distract your dog from eating grass outside of your yard by engaging in games or using a 'leave it' command and rewarding with a treat. 
Lungworm: Snails, slugs, and frogs carry the lungworm larvae. Dogs can come into contact with this, either by eating the animal or something the trail has contaminated. Grass can easily be contaminated by the lungworm larvae, which can prove fatal to dogs. Dogs can receive worming tablets, which can help to prevent this. 
Blockages: Along with grass, dogs occasionally pick up sticks and other plant material outside. Make sure to keep an eye to ensure that what they're eating isn't toxic (list of common toxic plants below) or has the potential to get stuck in their intestinal tract and cause a blockage. Young puppies are notorious for putting everything in their mouth, and being that much smaller, are more prone to blockages.
Overeating or sudden obsessive eating: Most pooches like eating grass. However, if you notice your dog is suddenly consuming far more than usual or obsessively eating, it may be time for a trip to the vet. Dogs will tend to show other signs that they are unwell, including avoiding other food, extreme exhaustion, drooling, and an upset stomach. Look out for these and contact a vet.

Plants Your Dog Shouldn't Eat

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Many plants are toxic to dogs, and most will avoid such. But if you think your dog has consumed anything from the list below, please contact a veterinarian. 
Dogs can also be sensitive to plants not listed below if your dog is showing any signs of lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or anything else out of the ordinary, please contact a vet.
  • Aloe Vera
  • Azalea
  • Bluebell
  • Daffodil
  • Easter Lily
  • Elderberry
  • Hibiscus
  • Holly Berries
  • Ivy
  • Mistletoe
  • Sweet Pea
  • Wisteria 
And many others, check out the Dogs Trust or Kennel Club for further details.

FAQs

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Why does my dog suddenly want to eat grass?
It could be boredom, illness, or a nutrient deficiency. If your dog doesn't commonly consume grass but has just begun, it may be worth discussing with a vet.
Why does my dog want to eat grass and weeds?
They might taste good! Dogs will eat just about anything, and it is not uncommon to find them munching out in the yard.
Do dogs eat grass to settle their stomach?
Many people claim they do it to make themselves sick as the grass irritates their throat and stomach, causing vomiting. This, therefore, settles their stomachs. However, this is not scientifically proven.
Is peanut butter good for dogs?
Dogs can enjoy peanut butter as an occasional healthy treat. However, treats should only make up a maximum of 10% of their daily needs. Also, ensure you check the label, as artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, is highly toxic to dogs and can cause death.
How do you know when dogs have worms?
Dogs can show all kinds of signs they have worms. Including vomiting and diarrhea, you may be able to see the worms present in both. They may also rub their bottom on the floor or 'scooting' as it's commonly called to relieve itching or have an increase in appetite as worms consume the dogs' nutrients. Puppies with worms often have a pot-bellied appearance. 
Why do dogs eat grass and vomit?
It is not known for sure, but many people claim it is due to the grass scratching or tickling their throat or stomach.
Why do dogs eat grass when it rains?
It could be for a whole variety of reasons, and some even claim that it is a sign it will rain! However, this is just hearsay. It probably just tastes good.

 

 

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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.

 

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