a Why do dogs eat grass? - The Happy Puppers (Dog care, grooming, behavior and training)

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Why do dogs eat grass?

Ever wondered why does your dog tend to eat grass when you take him out for his walk?

Most of the time when Delta is out on his walk, he tends to munch on the grass on the side of the road. Despite being a chicken loving pupper, his obsession with eating grass is quite intriguing to me. Considering the fact that he hates cows, why is he taking up their habits??

Could it be that he is 
  • Sick?
  • Hungry?
  • Bored?
  • Become a vegetarian??

Thus, I decided to find out the reason behind such behaviour. Stay tuned if this is something that has been perplexing you too...


Are you perplexed by the same behaviour being displayed by your pup?

Yes?
Then you are at the right place.

NO time to read? Watch the video instead:



Let's start with a label. What is this grass-eating behaviour referred to as? This type of behaviour is called PICA.

What is PICA?
PICA is technically used to refer to a disorder in which your dog eats items which are not food (any item which has extremely negligible nutritional value). PICA can actually implicate towards your dog having certain nutritional deficiencies or it may simply indicate that your dog is feeling bored.  

This behaviour is most commonly noticed in young dogs and puppies. With an increase in age, this behaviour normally goes away. 

Indulging in the grass is actually a quite common behaviour in wild dogs. This type of PICA has also not been observed to cause many problems in dogs. As per most veterinarians, this can be considered as a common behaviour displayed by most domesticated dogs. 

A small survey had found that of among 49 domesticated dogs who had access to grass, 79% of them had eaten grass at some point in time. A study has also found that grass is the most commonly preferred plant for consumption by dogs.

Your dog's tendency and frequency of eating grass can tell you a lot about him/her
Your dog's tendency and frequency of eating grass can tell you a lot about him/her

Reasons why your dog might be eating grass

As per available evidence and contrary to popular beliefs, dogs don't eat grass because they are sick. As a matter of fact, less than 10% of dogs who eat grass have been reported to be sick priorly. Furthermore, eating grass doesn't lead to the induction of vomiting. As per surveys, <25% of dogs who eat grass actually throw up after doing so. 

  • Some of the possible reason behind your dog's tendency to eat grass could be:
  • Unmet nutritional needs
  • Aiding digestion
  • Presence of intestinal worms
  • The need for fibre intake
  • Your dog just likes the taste of grass..!!
One study has reported a case of a miniature poodle who ate grass followed by vomiting every single day for 7 whole years. Once the owner transferred the dog on to a high fibre diet, within a span of 3 days, the dog stopped eating grass.

Your dog might also eat grass to purposefully induce vomiting. Eating a lot of grass without properly chewing tickles the side of their throat causing vomiting. Dogs generally tend to display such behaviour if they have eaten something which makes them feel ill.

Should you stop your dog from eating grass?
This depends on a multitude of factors like

  • Does your dog eat grass obsessively?
  • Is it a once in a while behaviour?
  • Is he/she doing it out of boredom?


In case eating grass is an occasional behaviour: You have nothing to worry about. Occasional grass eating will not hurt your pupper.

In case you think your dog is eating grass due to boredom, it means that your pup is lacking in exercise. You need to do a bit more to keep your dog engaged and help him/her stave off that excess energy. If you are stuck indoors, you can follow this DIY indoor dog activity course to help your pup release extra energy. Alternatively, you can also make these homemade dog toys and give your pup something to chew on to keep busy.

On the offside, if your dog is chewing grass due to unmet nutritional needs, switch the diet to a high fibre one. This might help reduce or eradicate the problem completely. 

Check your plants:
Even though under most conditions, munching on grass and plants is not toxic to dogs, some household plants might be toxic or the pesticides and herbicides sprayed in lawns can cause problems if ingested. Thus, check the ASPCA's animal poison control centre website to find out which plants are toxic and which are non-toxic. 

When should you take your dog to the vet?
If your dog ingested grass, vomited and then seems okay, there is nothing to worry about. Your dog probably took care of whatever was bothering him or her. 

However, on the other hand, if this seems like an obsessive behaviour which extends from grass to chewing on practically any and everything they can get their paws on, then it is probably time to pay a visit to your vet. Your dog might be suffering from PICA. 

Dogs suffering from PICA tend to get drawn to garbage, paper, dirt, cloth and faeces. This type of behaviour if left unchecked and cause severe nutritional and digestive issues down the lane. 

In case of any doubt, always consult your vet. Your vet will be able to find out via physically examining your pup as well as sending your dog's stool and blood for detailed blood count and biochemistry panel examination. The blood count will let you know if your dog is suffering from any kind of inflammation or has internal bleeding of the GI tract. The biochemistry panel will let you know about the status of your dog's liver and pancreas. 

If your dog is showing the following symptoms concurrently with grass-induced vomiting:
  • lethargy
  • weight loss
  • diarrhoea
Immediately consult your vet.

IF your dog does not obsessively eat grass, you have nothing to worry about
If your dog does not obsessively eat grass, you have nothing to worry about

If you don't notice the above-mentioned symptoms, you can rest easy.

Bonus tip: You can buy a small grass tray for your dog or start a herbal home garden. This way you know what your dog is eating is not toxic or harmful.

If you found this article useful, consider subscribing to my blog to receive regular updates and dog care tips delivered directly into your inbox. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook or put them in the comment section below. I will be glad to help in any way I can.

So does your dog eat grass? What are your dog's unique behaviours? Let me know in the comment section below.

Watch the corresponding video:

29 comments:

  1. My dogs like to eat weeds in my yard and I try to keep them away because they don't always agree with them. Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!

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  2. All of my cats have always eaten grass, but it is considered normal for cats. And you can actually buy patches of grass for cats to eat!

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  3. I am buying grass in a pot for my cats, and they love it! <3 I believe it has health benefits for our furry friends, especially when they are trying to recover from sickness.

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  4. As usual very much informative post, the suggestion including the video are helpful for proper caring of dog and cat.

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  5. We noticed before that when our dogs don't feel well, they tend to eat grass. My uncle (a veterinaian) told us that's okay because some dogs know which grass are medicinal for them

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  6. Kristine Nicole AlessandraApril 27, 2020 at 12:10 PM

    Very helpful post. I have not noticed my dog eating grass, but when I do see him do that, I now know about what may be causing this behavior.

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  7. Our Grandma's dog occasionally eats grass and she is not sick. I guess it is part of behavior. My cat also eats grass too :)

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  8. Our cats will frequently eat grass. We've been meaning to get them cat grass but instead we take them outside and let them eat the grass our there. It helps their digestion and aids in the removal of hairballs.

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  9. Not much of a dog lover. dont have a dog either. But this is a nice observation.

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  10. I don't have a dog. I didn't know that dogs could have pica like humans. I have learne something new.

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  11. I always just thought it was to make them throw up, kind of like cats do. I didn't realize it could be for other reasons. I'm glad my dog doesn't usually eat grass - granted we don't have any here in the desert :)

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  12. I wondered about that too. Now I know why. Great info!

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  13. I am aware that dogs eat grass because of intestinal worms, thanks to your post now I have so much information to share with my friends who have furry friends.

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  14. Very informative and helpful! I just realized that yes they shouldn't be eating grass at all, good thing you made a post like this.

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  15. I always wondered why dogs ate grass. I never knew all of this information. Thank you for enlightening me.

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  16. Having never owned a dog, I had no idea about any of this. But wow, this was so informative and really well-written. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. I didn't know dogs eat grass! Thanks for sharing this, it's a new info for me.

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  18. I have an adorable Shih tzu dog and I notice him doing this. I never thought of pica before, but this totally makes sense. Thanks for this informative post!

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    Replies
    1. You are most welcome. Stay tuned...More coming up

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  19. This is a very informative post! My dog used to eat grass whenever her stomach was upset.

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  20. I was literally shocked with the thought of dog inducing vomit. This reminds me of the people with eating disorders. Is this could be a cause? The bad and excessive eating habits of dogs are leading them the need to vomit?

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    1. Well.. people with eating disorders have a psychological basis to it too while in case of dogs its purely physical and to an extent due to self preservation.

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  21. It's possible bcos they are hungry! Thanks for sharing this is very informative and I love ur channel one of the best I have ever seen! Kisses to all the Cuties 💋😘😘🤗

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    Replies
    1. Aww...thank you so much my dear friend. Your appreciation means a lot to me :)

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  22. This content is written very well. Your use of formatting when making your points makes your observations very clear and easy to understand. Thank you. Artificial Grass Lawn Ramsbottom

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