Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Can They Even Digest It? And How to Stop It?

 There’s no pet more popular in the United States than everyone’s best friend, the dog. Over 63 million households in the United States own at least one, and figures don’t lie. Dogs are fun to have around, and they love to play outside. However, if you’ve owned a dog, you’re likely to have noticed them eating things that aren’t food. For instance, you may have caught your dog eating grass before!

This is made even stranger to observe by the facts that dogs are carnivores, aren’t they? They should ideally be eating only meat, right? Well, here is the part that will shock most people. Despite what we all think we know, dogs are actually omnivores. But still, why do dogs eat grass when there are more nutritious options for plant food?

This article will tell you everything you need to know about dogs eating grass and its effects on their health.

Do you have a specific question about the reasons why dogs eating grass? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Is eating grass bad for dogs?

The answer to this is, it depends. Intrinsically, eating grass is not very harmful to dogs. Of course, overeating anything can come with its own complications, but a dog eating small amounts of clean grass shouldn’t come with any problems. However, if the grass is not clean and contains parasites from other dogs’ poo, it can definitely be bad for them.

So, yeah, eating grass isn’t particularly bad for your dog. But you shouldn’t panic if you notice it. Although you should definitely be on alert if it seems to be excessive or if you have concerns about a possible underlying illness.

Can grass make dogs sick?

In general, you can assume that fresh grass won’t be an issue for your dog. However, in cases where the grass has the stool of other animals and contains fecal parasites, they can infect your pet and result in severe sickness.

Another instance whereby grass can make your pet sick is if the grass is treated with any kind of chemicals. This can include fertilizer or pesticides. These can definitely make your dog very ill. If you suspect that your furry pal has eaten some grass that it shouldn’t, it is crucial to take it to the vet as soon as you can.

Can dogs digest grass?

Nope! The grass is a very tough thing for many animals to digest. That’s why the herbivores that have grass as a staple have special enzymes in their digestive systems that allow to break down some of its toughest components, like cellulose. A dog cannot digest grass, so it holds very little nutritional value for them. However, dogs that eat grass are, in a way, adding fiber to their diets, which will aid digestion and stool passage.

Do dogs eat grass to vomit?

To be honest, the jury is still out on this one. It was initially thought that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting, particularly if they have stomach troubles. That seems to make a lot of sense, but the part that throws that theory off is that not all dogs vomit after eating grass. In fact, very few of them do.

Studies show that less than 1 in every 4 dogs vomits after consuming grass. This has led some schools of thought to believe that the notion that dogs eat grass to self-medicate and induce themselves to vomit is unfounded. The reasoning behind them eating grass is not 100% certain yet, but researchers are not convinced that they do it to vomit.

Why do dogs eat grass when it rains?

There’s a little legend that says dogs eat grass when it is about to rain. It’s funny to think about, but we know that definitely isn’t true. However, many people notice that their dogs eat grass after it rains. Why could that be? Well, unlike most other theories regarding why dogs eat grass, there is a rather simple one. All this theory states is that dogs simply like the taste of grass or at least some types of grass. 

This is a possibility, to be honest. After all, animals have different preferences in taste than we do, so there may be something in the flavor of grass that just calls out to your furry friend. Some dogs enjoy new spring grass, so wet grass maybe just a favorite of theirs in general. For now, there is no conclusive evidence as to why they enjoy eating grass more when it rains. I’d reckon it is simply the taste that keeps them coming back.

Why do dogs eat grass when sick?

Only about 10% of dogs are sick or show any signs of illness before they start eating grass. This indicates that while most dogs don’t eat grass simply because they are sick, some do. So, the question is, why they do this in the first place? And well, there isn’t a simple answer. 

The circumstances are likely to define the reason. Your pet might need fiber, could simply be bored, maybe it likes the taste, or look for a way to relieve stomach discomfort. If your dog is sick, it is likely to be the latter. An upset stomach can easily be relieved when emptied out.

If you notice your sick dog repeatedly vomiting after eating grass, it is a good time to take it to the vet’s office.

Should puppies eat grass?

There is nothing wrong with a puppy eating grass, as it is a good source of dietary fiber for their young digestive tracts. However, puppies get everywhere. This means they may end up eating grass that will ultimately be bad for them, such as the grass on a treated lawn. This can contain herbicides or pesticides, and even small amounts of these chemicals can be dangerous for small puppies.

How to stop a puppy from eating grass?

Training your dog to stop eating grass is one option. When you take your dog outside for a walk or to use the bathroom, wait for the moment when it seems like it’s about to start chewing on some grass. Call it back to you or tell it to stop. If it does this successfully to your command, you can reward it with a treat and/or positive words. With a few more instances of this, you’re likely to have solved that issue.

You can also sort out the possible causes of eating grass and use those to retrain your puppy. If it’s boredom, then make sure that you get your dog enough exercise every day. Play fetch or take it on walks to help expend energy and keep it entertained. Also, check what your dog’s food contains. It might be a lack of dietary fiber. A high-fiber diet will help plug that gap and stop it from eating grass if that’s the reason behind it.

What type of grass do dogs eat?

A grass-loving dog will pretty much eat any kind of grass that you put in front of it. However, if you don’t mind your dog’s grass-eating habit, then it is not a bad idea to grow pet grass. This is a type of grass, also known as intermediate wheatgrass, that makes a great healthy snack for your dog.

You can easily grow this in a small pot if you’re worried about your dog eating the droppings of other animals and picking up parasites. Suppose you are going to keep pet grass in a pot. In that case, it is extremely important to avoid having any potted houseplants anywhere accessible. Some of these houseplants can be poisonous, and your dog may not be able to tell the difference.

The other option you can explore is filling your yard or a section of it with this grass. You won’t need to worry about whether the grass is safe for eating or not when you’re the one who is cultivating it. You can think of pet grass as a salad for your dog!

Credits: thanks for the cover photo to Canva.

dog paws

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