Of the strangest things dogs do, eating grass has to be high up on the list. We know dogs have a tendency to sniff or lick animal feces, and then of course there is the proverbial adage about dogs returning to their vomit. Evidently, curious canines aren’t known for their sophisticated dietary standards. Yet what is it about grass that appeals to them? A mouthful of the fresh greenery can even result in a regurgitation since dogs do not possess sufficient enzymes to adequately breakdown large portions of the plant. Fortunately, only about 25% of dogs ever vomit from eating grass, and as long as the lawn was pesticide free, there are seldom any serious health risks. But why do dogs do it? Below are some reasons veterinarians believe your dog is inclined to become a canine lawn-mower.
They Need Fiber: Dogs are instinct-guided creatures, and their foraging skills generally drive them to find the nutrients they may be lacking. Though this principle may not be the reason why dogs are drawn to other animal’s waste, it is the flavorful nutrients and vitamins in the grass that are so desirable. Dogs who have bowel discomfort or constipation might look to grass for the “roughage” that will bring them back to regularity. Many dog owners find that their pups to be cured from their grass-eating ways when they have switched to a high-fiber diet.
Stomach Distress: Dogs commonly struggle with digestive agitation, and may eat grass in the hopes of bringing themselves relief will eat grass in the same way that people used ipecac syrup to induce vomiting and relieve discomfort. Inflammatory bowel disease, swollen lower esophagus, and gastric reflux are some of ailments that cause distress in the stomach, and dogs may attempt to alleviate the discomfort by eating grass.
Worms: Some veterinarians observe that stool where both grass and worms are present may indicate that the dog was inclined toward the worms as a way of flushing out the intestinal tract with the thick fibrous substance in an attempt to rid the body of the parasites. Though we do not know if the dog cognitively recognizes this, or if he was responding instinctively, it may provide a helpful insight as to some of the innate survival instinct of canines.
Boredom: Dogs that do not receive ample exercise and mental stimulation can easily become bored and start practicing destructive behaviors. They also might just be curious, or even enjoy the taste of grass, and the comfort of chewing and sucking on it, rather than munching on the blades to stave off hungry or sooth an upset stomach. Some animal behaviorists also believe that dogs eat grass more as a nervous or anxious behavior. Whatever the case may be, by adding fiber and vitamins to the diet, and keeping your dog active and healthy, the likelihood of your dog eating grass will significantly decrease. However, if the habit continues, we recommend seeing a veterinarian to ensure that your canine companion does not have any severe health concerns.