When it comes to "natural" snacks, your lawn is the last thing you want your pup to chew on. So why do dogs eat grass? The answer is not so simple.

Is grass grazing normal?  

The truth is that with all the advances in veterinary medicine and all the new-fangled technology available, we still don’t really know why dogs eat grass. There is plenty of speculation on the subject, with reasons ranging from boredom to nausea to dietary deficiencies, but honestly, we just don’t know. It seems that some dogs just like to graze!

If your dog (or cat, for that matter) is a grass eater, please know that you’re in good company. Most dogs and cats do eat grass, and yet another theory suggests that it may be a habit that’s been inherited from our pets’ wild ancestors.

Most of the time, it’s normal for dogs to eat grass. It can also be normal for your dog to eat grass and then immediately vomit it back up. In fact, some vets postulate that perhaps your dog eats grass because she feels nauseous, and she knows that eating grass can stimulate vomiting. Again, this is just one more theory.

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When is grass eating cause for concern?

In some cases, however, eating grass is not normal. These cases involve A LOT of grass eating. Dogs with compulsive disorders or pica can spend hours grazing, and the results can be disastrous. Eating too much grass can result in intestinal blockage, and grass ingestion has been blamed for bloat (AKA, the mother of all emergencies) more than once.

If your pet eats excessive amounts of grass, you should schedule an appointment with your vet to rule out underlying problems. For example, yet another theory in compulsive grass eaters is an increased amount of stomach acid, a problem readily solved by the use of acid blockers like Pepcid. Until the grass eating resolves, you can use a basket muzzle on your grazer to eliminate the behavior when outdoors.

Otherwise, if your pet just has the occasional grass snack, let him enjoy it! But before you set him loose on your beautiful lawn, make sure it hasn’t been recently treated with chemicals, and that there are no toxic plants in your landscaping. “Bone” appetit!

Apr 22, 2016

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