It is very typical for dog owners to question when their dogs start eating grass. Even though there is a regular occurrence, there is no scientific information behind this activity. You are not alone.
Every day, a lot of dog owners walk into their vets’ office, wanting to know why their dog is eating grass. As a dog owner, it is natural to want to understand why your canine is eating grass, since it may seem a little out of the ordinary.
Technically speaking, pica is a disorder that involves habits of eating stuff that is not food. The same way that your dog finds pleasure in eating dirty socks or digging through the garbage is the same thing as their grass-eating behavior.
If this medical condition goes on without intervention, it is likely your dog will develop digestive and nutritional issues. If pica is an issue of concern, seek professional help before it gets out of hand.
It can either be a grazing habit…
Your dog’s grass-eating habit can be a natural behavioral trait that has no adverse side effects on them. As such, your dog will naturally be nibbling on grass because they are bored or anxious. There is a chance your dog likes the taste of green too.
…an instinctive behavior
Your dog may be swallowing grass as a deliberate effort to induce vomiting if they are feeling sick. If your dog has an upset stomach from consuming something, it is instinctive to seek a form of relief such as vomiting.
In comparison, a dog wanting to throw up will not nibble on the grass. Instead, they swallow the grass without chewing it. Technically, long grass is likely to tickle the throat and stimulate vomiting. However, not many dogs will throw up after eating grass.
Provide an alternative
Sometimes your dog may be nibbling on grass because there is nothing better to do, or they lack satisfactory mental and physical stimulation.
Thus, involving your dog may prevent this behavior. For instance, you can give your dog a chewable, or indulge them in a game of tug. If this behavior stops afterward, it is a sign that your dog is bored.
Perhaps it is a nutrient deficiency
There is not a lot of scientific backing to this, but there are suggestions that your dog may be chewing grass because they lack nutrients in their diet. Nonetheless, it is not unusual for dogs to get a perfectly balanced diet to eat grass as well.
Maybe it is tasty
Canines have natural conditioning to seek nutritional fulfillment from anywhere and anything. As such, it may be that your pet finds grass to be tasty, or they find the texture pleasing.
In addition, they may be filling in on a nutritional need that their regular diet does not provide, which in most cases is fiber. For most dog owners, switching to high fiber dog-food may stop the grass-feeding habit.
According to some sources, the dog is an opportunistic scavenger that is known to eat anything and everything to satisfy and fulfill their dietary needs.
In addition, canines are predatory animals that happen to be omnivores. In a study, there is a theory that suggests that wild dogs will feed on animals and plants, and a domesticated dog eats grass as an instinctive behavior.
It does not pose a health risk
Allowing your dog to indulge in the yard has no consequential effects. However, it is essential to check how they feed on the grass so you can tell when your dog is experiencing discomfort or boredom.
A sudden increase in the amount of grass your dog is ingesting should be an indicator of an underlying gastro-illness.
If you notice your dog favors nibbling in the grass and they experience no side effects, you may consider adding green to their diet. You can prepare vegetables for your dog or add herbs to their daily diet.
Prevent health hazards
If your dog is chewing grass simply because they like it, there is little you can do to prevent such behavior. Nonetheless, it is your responsibility to ensure they are not exposing themselves to health hazards such as herbicides and pesticides or any other chemical that you use in landscaping.
If you have a teething puppy, be sure to monitor it throughout. Too much ingestion of grass, leaves, and sticks can cause an intestinal blockage.
Does it stop?
If this habit bothers you, there are certain things you can try in a bid to curb the behavior. For starters, you can find making changes to your dog’s dietary or feeding plans can have a substantial effect on the dog’s behavior.
It is crucial you understand that different foods will produce different results, depending on your dog’s breed, age, and gender. Therefore be sure to ask your vet about changing your pet’s meal plans since you do not want to make the situation worse.
If the new diet aggravates their digestion problems, it will only intensify their grass-eating habit. When changing your dog’s diet, do it in a gradual transitional way.
Time to visit the vet
Naturally, if a dog is experiencing discomfort, they will try to alleviate the situation by inducing vomiting. Typically, this works, and your dog will be fine. They have successfully gotten rid of the problem on their own.
However, if they keep up this behavior, that is, swallowing grass and vomiting, you should see the vet immediately. If it becomes an issue of concern, do not hesitate to consult your vet as soon as possible.
Most dogs can unlearn not to eat grass if there is a better option. If your dog responds to treats, you can use them for training him against grass nibbling. For instance, every time you go out for walks or take your dog out for potty breaks, carry a couple of treats with you.
Whenever your dog tries to nibble, distract them by offering a different instruction or a verbal correction. Reward them every time they comply. You can use affection as a positive reinforcement.