If you are suspecting that your dog is eating grass then you might start to think that he ain’t a cow, then why is he eating grass! The next thing that will pop up in your mind is that he might be hungry, sick or bored. Don’t worry, in this article you’ll find out why dogs eat grass.
First of all, let’s make one point clear. You are not alone if you are concerned that your pup is grazing and vomiting. The technical word that characterizes eating items are not part of the diet is Pica. In some cases, pica is the indication that the dog might have some nutritional deficiency. But in most cases, it can be a boredom indication if the grass eater is a puppy or a young dog.
The commonality of the dog eating grass
It is quite a common behavior for a dog to eat grass. Researchers have found this behavior in the wild dogs as well so it can be very natural for them. This kind of pica doesn’t cause much harm either because most of the vets also consider pica as normal behavior.
A small study that was based on 49 owners of the dogs also supports this behavior. According to this study, these dogs had frequent grass access and similar other plants. 79 percent of dog owners reported that their pets have consumed plants at some points throughout their lives. According to another survey based on plant-eating canines establishes the fact that grass is their most commonly consumed food.
So, why do they eat grass?
Various reasons prevail behind the fact that your dog is grazing on the lawn or in your backyard. Some people are of the view that dogs start grazing when they are not feeling very well. Pica makes them vomit and they start to feel better. However, some others also oppose this idea and they think that canines are not smart enough to treat their bad stomach by grazing.
There is a good bit of evidence available that most of the dogs that graze don’t seem to be unwell. Less than 10 percent of the dogs have reported being sick before they start eating grass by their owners. Furthermore, grazing doesn’t lead to vomiting either. There is less than 25 percent of the cases where a dog throws regularly after eating grass. Some other people are also of the view that it is their way to improve their digestive system.
Grazing helps the dogs to treat the worms in their intestines or even meeting some nutritional deficiencies such as fiber. As per a published study, one small sized poodle grazed and threw up daily for about seven years. The owner of that dog put the poodle on diet with high fiber and the dog stopped grazing on grass entirely. There is a chance that your pup just likes the taste and smell of the grass or just the way it feels.
In most cases the two of the most common reasons for the dog eating grass are:
– Your pup finds the grass very tasty
Maybe your dog finds the taste and smell of the grass very catchy. Dogs are natural scavengers and they will look to find and eat food from any source. There is a case that your dog is trying to consume grass because he wants to fulfill some nutritional need that the dog food is not catering.
– Your pup is experiencing stomach distress
Grass can serve as self-medication. When your pug is experiencing some stomach issues he turns to grass for instant relief. Stomach distress is more likely of a case when this behavior begins immediately or if your dog is very anxious on munching grass. He will tend to extend his neck and make swallowing motions but will vomit right after eating.
What if you are not sure!
There is no need to panic. Dog eating grass is a very normal behavior. Dogs don’t gain anything from the grass in terms of nutritional value and it might not also hurt them either. But make sure there is no involvement of any pesticides or fertilizers here that you use on the grass. Some of the experts say that munching grass itself is not harmful.
Only certain types of pesticides and herbicides are very toxic in nature. These chemicals play a significant role in making your dog throw up in case of ingestion. Moreover, most of the garden or common house plants are very toxic and can cause a few issues if your pup consumes them. Animal Poison Control Center has mentioned different types of toxic as well as non-toxic herbs and plants on its website. You can use this list to only have plants that are not dangerous in the area where your dog grazes a lot.
Should you stop him from eating grass? And if so, then how!
If your lawn has many toxic plants then you should keep your pup engaged all the time and look after the nutritional needs as well. You can make him entirely avoid grazing in such a scenario. If your furry friend is eating grass because he is bored, then make sure that he is getting enough exercise. Try to engage him in different fun activities.
Your dog loves it when you throw a Frisbee at him or you can indulge him in any other interactive game as well. Why don’t you buy him a sturdy chew toy so that he stays occupied! If there is a chance that the cause of your pup’s pica behavior is due to some nutritional deficiency then switch to better dog food. A high on fiber diet is going to be very useful here.
But as mentioned above, because grazing itself is not harmful therefore, you should avoid growing any toxic plants in your lawn or backyard where your dog likes to graze. You can even grow herb or grass that is good for your dog. Also, keep an eye on the public areas where there is no harmful chemical used on the grass or there are no toxic plants for your dog to munch on.
To sum it all up, if your pup is grazing then you don’t have much to worry about. The important thing is to understand the reason behind dog eating grass. You need to keep your dog engaged in various fun activities and allow them to play with different toys and stuff. Furthermore, you need to take care of their diet and the things that they are consuming.
There have been many cases where switching a dog to a high fiber diet makes him stop consuming grass entirely. Keeping them active and providing them with a nutritionally complete diet is the best way to keep your puppy from eating grass. You can grow different types of non-toxic herbs and grass in your backyard or lawn for your furry friend to munch on.
Enjoy the pug life!