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why do dogs eat grass?

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan



Why do dogs eat grass? As usual, the answer is not so simple. 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.





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!

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Comments
Posted by Deanna-Marie Pozesny
on May 16 2016 14:10

Thank you for the article on dogs eating grass. My handsome sable and white Sheltie, Dakota and I play ball daily in the back yard. He is healthy, has a beautiful, shiny coat and I pay careful attention to his diet. This spring I have noticed him eating grass more than usual, which might be because he has thicker KY fescue grass this year. The only spraying is for individual dandelions here and there. I keep searching for a product that is totally safe for pets, which is almost impossible to find! Can you suggest an alternative method to combat weeds without harming Dakota and his cat buddies,Tyler and Ellie? This Dog Mom would really appreciate an article on the subject - hope I haven't missed one! I always look forward to receiving Fetch Magazine, for its well written informative articles and entertaining features. Keep up the good work!

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