For first time dog owners it can be alarming when your furry friend starts chomping at any patch of grass they can get their paws on. A lot of the time, eating grass can be followed by your dog vomiting. However, please don’t rush them to the vet straight away. The technical term for this behaviour is pica – essentially translated to eating things that are not food. In puppies and younger dogs, it can be a sign of boredom or want for attention. However, pica usually indicates some level of nutritional deficiency.
Grass pica does not usually cause any problems and it is extremely common in most household breeds. Vets consider it normal pooch behaviour, but most owners want to know more.
Reasons Why Your Dog Eats Grass
There are countless thoughts and theories as to why your dog might be enjoying the lawn.
The main reason many believe dogs eat grass is to make themselves vomit because they are feeling unwell. It is thought to be a relief for the dog. However, many cast aside this idea as dogs are not understood to be smart enough to treat an upset tummy by eating grass. Furthermore, eating grass does not always lead to vomiting.
Other experts and dog owners think eating grass helps with intestinal worms, digestion, or nutritional value (mostly the need for fibre). However, some dogs might simply just like the taste of grass!
Do I Need to Stop My Dog From Eating Grass?
Although grazing isn’t inherently dangerous for your dog and, more often than not it is a pica behaviour, pesticides used on grass can be very toxic to your dog. As can a number of garden plants. It is best to check online and remove any foliage that could harm your pooch.
If you suspect your dog is eating grass because they are bored, make sure they are getting enough exercise via walks and play with them in your garden. Ensure they are engaged at home and, whilst you are out, keep them occupied with a chew toy or treat puzzle.
Lastly, if your dog continues you to eat grass, consider changing their diet. Supplementing your dog’s diet with fibre sees many stop devouring grass altogether.
What Can I Give My Dog Instead of Grass?
For those pooches that simply chow down on grass because they like the taste or texture, there are definitely some better options so that they steer clear of herbicides and pesticides. Try fresh carrot, peeled celery and sliced lettuce. These options are all safe for your dog and you can test out which options they like best.
Although eating grass in itself is not dangerous for your dog, you should try to discourage it. Whilst you may not use any toxins on your lawn, you cannot be sure about other areas of grass. Air on the side of caution and don’t let your dog eat front lawns or areas of grass whilst you are out on walks.