One of the biggest questions often asked about dogs, is why do my dogs eat grass! The next one is usually based around what can I do about my dog eating grass, or how do I stop my dog from eating grass.
Let’s break it down into bite sized chunks.
Safety of Dogs Eating Grass
Hill’s Pet (link below), the people who make specialised food for dietary requirements don’t seem to think there’s much to worry about when a dog eats grass, while others tend not to agree. Hill’s are probably the ones I’d listen to most, as they make money from selling pet food that satisfies any nutritional needs, and they don’t feel there’s much to worry about. Their nutritionalists say the experts don’t really know why dogs eat grass.
What’s the Truth
To be honest, who knows, but worrying about our animals eating grass for some of the reasons posted on the internet, is a fairly big thing. I’ve read about everything from pica (eating things that are not edible) to stress and digestive issues. I’m not 100% sure any of them are right, but I’ll cover the most widely spoken about. As far as the pica goes, it’s possible as there are people who do the same, but grass is simply grown vegetation, or another type of possible food, and since we eat greens, and cows, sheep, horses and other animals live on grass, it’s not a huge shock that dogs would eat it too.
Perhaps They Like the Taste
Seriously, does grass taste great? It wouldn’t to me, but then again, I’ve never tried it. Sometimes, you see images of people with a blade of grass between their teeth. It used to be a common image in Western movies from about 30 years ago, cowboy in heeled boots, jeans, denim shirt, cowboy hat, hands in pockets with one foot resting on the wall behind, as they balance on one leg, with the inevitable blade of grass in mouth. I don’t understand why that was seen as the done thing, and neither does anyone else it seems, as there doesn’t seem to be any modern films depicted like this. I can only assume, and I mean assume, that eating/chewing grass was once an acceptable human pass time too….
Hills don’t rate this as an answer, however they do mention that grass can be a way to expel stomach contents by making the animal sick. We have a tendancy to pick branded dog food these days, rather than having our animals eat a raw food diet, especially in our climate. If food is scarce, grass could well be a suitable food source, and I don’t know about your animals, but my dog used to go for some plants too. She went mad for mint, absolutely ripping it out of the ground, so we had to remove it from the garden, and rhubarb. I have no idea why. Like humans, I guess it was a taste thing, and she just liked it. Given that rhubarb is good for the digestion, bones, blood and sight, perhaps she made good choices by chowing down on grass too, and my last dog was a huge grass eater. It never seemed to make her sick though. She most definitely did not use it to make herself vomit after an upset stomach.
Other Things Ingested with the Grass, like Weedkiller / Poisons
If your dog does vomit with eating grass and seems unwell, I’d suggest a visit to the vet. Something else may be bothering your animal. I used to worry when I took my dog out for a walk, and always had to keep her head away from the verges for a day or two after the council had been to cut the grass verges. The danger in the way they laid down weedkiller did concern me, especially since my dog went totally blind at 7.
In our local area, weedkiller is sprayed instead of the verges being cut, which means we often have a band of yellow white dead grass emerge on the verges along the pavements. It looks awful. The first day or two it’s done, the grass will still be green and we aren’t going to know it’s been sprayed. I know there are weedkillers that can be used for animals, but even those need a period where the animals don’t ingest them. My dog never used to get sick in winter when grass wasn’t being cut/weedkiller laid down and also wafting onto public walkways from people spraying their own gardens.
Yes, this really is a thing. Your dog might just be eating grass because they’re bored, especially if it’s the grass in your garden or regular walking route. Perhaps your dog needs more exercise, or has a different need, for example, my blind dog just loved to rip it out of the ground. She very often didn’t eat it, instead just ripping it up to play with it.
References and Additional Reading