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Why does my dog eat grass? Is it safe?

Our Pflugerville vets are often asked by pet parents why their dog keeps eating grass, and whether it is safe. Today, our vets share some of the reasons dogs eat grass, and when you should be concerned.

Why do dogs eat grass?

Concerned pet parents are often left scratching their heads wondering why their dogs seem to love eating grass. In fact, many dogs will eat grass, vomit, and then go right back to eating grass again.

Could this be an indication that the dog feels there is something in its stomach that needs to be brought up? Has the dog eaten something poisonous? Is the dog self-treating an undiagnosed medical condition? 

Some dogs do vomit after eating grass, but this is not true for all dogs. The vast majority of dogs eat grass with no signs or symptoms of stomach upset. As a result, it appears unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. So why do they do it?

Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Like people, dogs need fiber to keep their digestive system running smoothly. After all, dogs are omnivores. This means that good health relies on plant foods as well as high-quality meat. Eating grass may be an easy way for your dog to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things flowing through their digestive tract.

However, if your dog is eating grass but also displaying signs of stomach upset, there could be a medical issue. Dogs can suffer from a variety of stomach and gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and exhibiting other symptoms such as a loss of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, you should take them to the vet for an examination.

Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Dogs will frequently eat grass out of boredom or anxiety. If your dog shows no signs of digestive problems but continues to munch on grass, consider psychological reasons for their behavior.

If your dog could simply be suffering from boredom, increasing the length, distance, or intensity of walks could help to reduce grass eating.

Separation anxiety could also be the reason that your dog is eating grass. Try leaving an old blanket or T-shirt with your scent on it with your dog when you leave the house. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring and help to curb their grass-eating habit. 

Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet should be able to advise you on how to help your pup reduce this obsessive behavior.

Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?

If your dog is otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe thing to do.

And while it is not typically an emergency if your dog eats grass, it can sometimes indicate an upset stomach or a nutritional deficiency. If the behavior persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it may be best to consult with a veterinarian.

To help keep your grass nibbling pooch healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned about your dog's grass-eating or other behavioral quirks? Contact our vets at Pfennig Lane Animal Hospital today to book an appointment for your pooch.

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Pfennig Lane Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pflugerville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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