Why does my dog eat grass?

Why does my dog eat grass?

By Dr. Katy Nelson

Most dog owners have asked their veterinarian this question at some point in time. Depending on the situation and circumstances, there are generally four answers to this common dilemma:

  1. Grass eating is due to underlying illness
  2. Grass settles the stomach or helps dogs vomit
  3. Grass aids in a dietary deficiency
  4. Grass eating is normal

So what is the real answer? To be honest, no one really knows for sure! A study sponsored by UC Davis, Center for Companion Animal Health concluded that there was not a single scientifically-based answer. The authors ultimately concluded that grass eating appears to be “a normal behavior.” They did observe that plant eating has been noted in other wild canids, such as wolves and coyotes, and they believe that this behavior has been conserved during domestication.

As pet owners, there are a couple of concerns with grass eating we should be aware of. First, if the grass your pet likes to eat could have been treated chemically with fertilizers or other maintenance substances, you will want to keep Fido away from those areas. Ingestion of these chemicals could lead to toxicity and should be avoided (even walking on these areas could lead to ingestion if they groom and lick their paws). Second, if you do notice Fido frequently (several times a month) eats grass and then vomits shortly after ingestion, you might want to consider a trip to your veterinarian. There may be an underlying medical condition that needs to be diagnosed and addressed.

Overall, pet parents should not be terribly concerned with their dog eating grass. Fido may find eating grass a nice little salad treat and enjoy the fresh, succulent shoots. For a complete list of safe plants for Fido please visit ASPCA’s poison control.

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