We, as dog enthusiasts, always worry about our dog eating anything different from our food. However, this is a reality, and it could happen at any time.
Indeed, more than once, you have observed your dog’s eating leaves, especially when you walk or are wandering in the garden.
It usually happens, the canes run through the park or playground, very entertaining, and suddenly, they are stopped somewhere and begin to chew the grass around them desperately.
Although this behavior seems to be natural and normal, for us, as pet owners, this recurrent way of acting of our dog creates many doubts. Is he hungry? Will you be bored or sick? To clear up any doubts about why dogs eat grass, here are some facts to share.
Hence in this article, we will bring you the most updated information about this topic and whether it is entirely healthy for our dog to eat leaves.
Why do dogs eat leaves?
Some hypotheses relate this behavior to the canine physiology itself, which is satisfied with some of the nutrients present in forage, grass, or fiber.
The most recent studies show that this behavior is directly related to satiety. The dog generally eats grass when it is hungry. Conversely, when your dog has a full stomach, eating grass is less frequent. So the first reason suggests that dogs can see a food source on the lawn.
But also, leaves are beneficial to purge intestinal parasites in wild canids. The fibrous matter, present in grass and plants, increases intestinal movement and involves worms that may be infecting the animal.
Dogs may be attracted to the taste of grass or other leaves and the habit of chewing and eating it. On the other hand, some dogs can also develop obsessive and stereotyped behavior related to grass chewing, although it is rare.
While we have commented that dogs can look for certain nutrients in leaves, it is not true that a leaves-eater dog does not necessarily lack specific nutrients. A well-known study concluded, whether or not they had a diet supplemented with fruit and vegetables, consumed practically the same amount of grass.
Furthermore, dogs do not eat grass to vomit. Only a limited proportion of dogs react to vomiting after eating leaves.
Evidence suggests that most grass-eating dogs don’t feel bad beforehand, or at least it doesn’t. It is also not true that all sick or stomach ache dogs seek to eat leaves.
Because of the leaves texture
There is also the possibility that dogs will eat leaves simply because they like the taste or texture. These animals seem to enjoy their habit and do not suffer any repercussions for ingesting it.
The leaves (whether grass or another type) doesn’t seem to hurt them, of course, as long as it doesn’t contain herbicides or other toxins.
However, many believe that dogs do not have the means to digest grass, as they lack the enzymes necessary to break down the fibers. Hence, the actual nutritional value in leaves is almost insignificant for a dog’s diet.
Finally, some animals can also develop a form of an obsessive-compulsive disorder and become obsessed with chewing grass. However, this is relatively rare.
Dogs eat grass because they are hungry
Recent studies are showing that this behavior is directly related to satiety, meaning dogs eat more grass when they are hungry than when they are satiated.
Therefore, this theory could explain a “grass pecking” behavior in those animals that have food anxiety and do not feel easily satiated.
What if my dog already eats leave plants?
Now that you know why dogs eat grass, you are probably wondering if it is good for a dog to eat grass regularly and if it can lead to health problems.
As we have mentioned, that the dog eats leaves is normal and acceptable behavior. There is no reason to consider it a problem of conduct that we should repress.
Regularly, when a dog eats plants, it is not harmful to them. They periodically vomit them, which could be a sign of rejection. Still, it does not necessarily mean that it exposes their health.
We must be attentive to what our dogs consume, some of those plants could be poisonous, and those yes could be lethal for them. As a general recommendation, it is essential to observe any signs of discomfort in your dog, as they often fail to express themselves as they wish and could be sick.
If you notice recurrent vomiting, diarrhea, or also see some type of pain after consuming plants. You must take it to the vet to determine your dog’s needs and to administer the corresponding treatment.
Is there any other risk?
At other times, the risk that a dog eats leaves is that it can ingest a poisonous plant or that it has been sprayed with a toxic fertilizer.
Dogs eating plants is more common than we think. When our dog eats plants, we could be alarmed, but it does not necessarily have to be this way.
Well, they say that the body looks for what it needs because, in the case of dogs, the same thing happens.
A study published by the University of California in the United States revealed that dogs eat plants because they need it. It should not necessarily be harmful to their health.
The main reason dogs eat plants is poor digestion; If the canine has general discomfort, something is not processing its stomach well, then it will eat plants to provoke vomiting.
Now you can breathe more relaxed. You already know the truth; it leaves itself won’t cause any harm to the dog.
Even though some dog’s affinity with leaves is still unknown, the experts have agreed to the low risk this tendency represents. Just be alert of your dog eating leaves that might contain pesticides, fertilizer, or any other chemical substance.
In any case, you can always call the veterinarian for a more personalized consultation and further treatment, if necessary.