If your dog’s eating a nibble of grass, there’s no need to panic. But if they’re eating excessive amounts, it’s not healthy - especially if it’s treated with harmful pesticides, herbicides or lawn fertilisers.
Nonetheless, eating grass is a common behaviour, and the bottom line is that ideally, you don’t want your dog to do it.
The term for eating non-foods is “pica” and whilst it seems odd your dog would do this, it’s quite normal. So, let’s explore the reasons why your dog might eat grass.
Studies have shown that dogs eat less grass if they have had a meal, suggesting that hunger can play a role. It may be an instinctive behaviour to eat grass when hunger sets in, as it’s been known for the dog’s wolf ancestors to have plant material in their stomachs. It has been suggested that this was in order to purge the intestines of worms or parasites. Many wild canids today are even observed to also eat grass.
Dogs are clever and are quick to realise that eating grass may result in more attention from their pet-parents. This may simply mean being talked to more or being given other food or treats to divert their attention away from the grass. In fact, this can reinforce the behaviour.
Grass tastes good!
Sure, you wouldn’t expect this to come in some of the top reasons, but some dogs eat grass because they like the taste.
It also makes sense that greener, fresher grass “tastes” better as it’s been observed that elective grass eating is more common in the summer.
They need fibre:
It’s true, your dog eating grass can be a sign that they’re not getting enough fibre into their diet. Fibre is important to keep the guts moving and help form healthy stools, and grass is a wonderful source. The good news is that a simple test of adding more fibre into your dog’s daily diet will tell you if this is the reason they’re eating grass.
Your dog’s bored
It would be a dream come true to be able to play with your pooch all day, but realistically life gets busy. So sometimes your dog can be left with not much to do, meaning they’ll revert to eating grass. Quickly fix this by giving them regular exercise and ensure they’re mentally stimulated. Examples include food puzzles, walks, playing fetch or give them a stick to play with.
As you can see, nibbling a bit of grass is not a cause for concern, however, it certainly is not a trait which should be encouraged. It can also be concerning if they are vomiting or acting unwell in any other form. If you’re concerned or have noticed that your dog has a significant problem, it’s best to seek advice from your vet.
Verified by a licensed Vet