Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?
Many dogs eat grass, and there are many possible causes for this behavior. Most dogs are eating grass because they are bored or simply because they enjoy the taste of it. However, sometimes dogs eating grass can be a sign that they have a nutrient deficiency or upset stomach.
Most of the time, dogs eating grass is regarded as a fairly normal behavior on its own. This means that most dog owners do not need to worry too much about their dog eating grass if there are no other troubling symptoms present.
We will be explaining all of the possible causes of dogs eating grass. We will also be discussing if and when you should see a veterinarian for this behavior. Let’s get right into it!
Why do Dogs Eat Grass?
There are several different reasons why dogs eat grass. Many times dogs are just bored or they like to eat grass. Other times, this can be a sign of a digestive issue, illness, or nutrient deficiency. Here are all of the reasons why dogs eat grass.
1) It Tastes Good
Grass often tastes good to dogs, and some dogs will like to eat grass more than others. So, if your dog frequently eats grass when out on walks and they generally eat a nutritious diet, then this is usually nothing to worry about. This is especially true if your dog shows no signs of digestive issues or deficiencies.
2) Your Dog is Bored
Dogs will sometimes also eat grass when they are bored. If your dog sits in the backyard sampling grass from time to time, then boredom is usually the cause. Of course, you should also make sure that your dog is digesting their food well. Feeding your dog a good diet and looking out for signs of nutrient deficiencies such as a dull coat and lethargy is also a good idea.
3) There is Something Wrong With Your Dog’s Diet
As we have brought up previously, nutrient deficiencies could also potentially cause dogs to eat grass. Here are some signs of nutrient deficiencies in dogs to look out for:
- Excessive shedding and dandruff
- A dull-looking coat
- Foul-smelling breath
- Flatulence and wet stools
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weight gain and obesity
- Allergies and skin conditions
- A poor immune system and frequent illness
- Stunted growth and bowed limbs in puppies
In addition to a poor diet, many medical conditions could potentially cause a dog to have nutrient deficiencies. Similarly, there are also many serious medical conditions that can result from a prolonged poor diet. As a result, it is important to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if they are showing signs of having a nutrient deficiency.
4) Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach
Dogs will also often eat grass when they have an upset stomach. This includes both digestive issues and a virus or bacterial infection that causes nausea and vomiting. Parasitic infections could also potentially lead dogs to have an upset stomach and eat grass as a result.
Every dog owner should look out for signs that their dog is sick or has an upset stomach for a different reason. After all, many dogs will occasionally eat food they shouldn’t and get into other things that could make them sick. Here are some signs that your dog has an upset stomach:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Noticeable spots in stool (could be a parasitic infection)
- Black or bloody stools
- A reduced appetite
- Loud and strange noises coming from their stomach
If you notice any of the above symptoms then it is a good idea to take your dog to the vet. This is especially true if their symptoms have persisted for longer than 48 hours or if they are showing signs of dehydration as a result of their illness.
Should You Let Your Dog Eat Grass?
As long as there are no harmful chemicals on the grass, it is fine to let your dog eat some of it most of the time. Now, it is not a good idea to let your dog eat a ton of grass though. This is because too much grass could potentially make your dog start to feel sick.
Can Dogs Get Sick After Eating Grass?
Yes, dogs can get sick after eating grass, especially if they have eaten lots of it. Some dogs may be more sensitive to eating grass than others, so it is not a problem for every dog owner. Usually, dogs will vomit after eating grass if they are sensitive to it.
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Eating Grass
Using helpful obedience commands like leave-it and drop-it can help you manage your dog’s grass-eating habits. This is particularly useful when out on walks because you do not always know whether grass on other properties is safe for your dog to eat or not.
When to See a Vet for Your Dog’s Grass Eating
You do not always need to take your dog to the vet if they are eating grass, especially if there are no other troubling symptoms. However, there are times when a dog eating grass could warrant a prompt vet visit. Here are some signs that you need to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible:
- Your dog is showing signs of a medical condition or nutrient deficiency
- Your dog is showing signs of dehydration
- There is blood present in your dog’s stool or vomit
- Your dog has black and tar-like stools
- There are white spots or unusual discolorations in your dog’s stools
- Your dog has not defecated for some time
- Your dog has had diarrhea or has been vomiting for longer than 48 hours
Taking your dog to the vet immediately is crucial if you notice any of the signs listed above.
If you have any questions about your dog and their grass-eating habits, Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven, FL is here to help. Reach out at (863) 324-3340 or book an appointment online!
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About Veterinary Healthcare Associates
Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven, FL, was established over 30 years ago as Maxwell Animal Clinic by Dr. John Maxwell. Maxwell Animal Clinic was a one-doctor general practice offering preventive care, dentistry, and standard surgical services to the community. As the years passed, Maxwell Animal Clinic evolved into a thriving 10-doctor general, specialty referral, and emergency veterinary practice.