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Dogs Eating Grass: Is my dog poisoned?

Many dog owners will find themselves standing outside with their pup at some point, telling them to stop eating the grass. But is this habit dangerous? Here, our vets in Clinton Township answer the question, 'Why do dogs eat grass?' and discuss when it might be a concern.

Why do dogs eat grass?

You're out on your evening stroll with your canine companion, and everything is going as usual when they suddenly stop and start chowing down on some grass. This can lead many pet owners to ask, 'Why does my dog eat grass?'

The good news is that grass-eating is pretty normal and that vomiting doesn't happen often after grass-eating. Most dogs eat grass without showing any signs or symptoms of stomach upset. So, it seems unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Then why do they do it?

Physical Reasons Why My Dog Eats Grass

Some vets consider nutritional deficiencies a leading cause behind dogs that enjoy eating grass. Grass can also be an excellent source of fiber for your canine companion. Eating grass may be an easy way for your dog to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things moving through their digestive tract.

While less common, gastrointestinal issues can occasionally cause a dog to spend some time chewing on grass. Dogs can suffer from stomach and gastrointestinal issues, including pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and has other symptoms, such as lack of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, it's a good idea to take your pup to the vet for an examination.

Psychological Reasons Why My Dog Eats Grass

You may find that your dog is not physically wrong and is just plain bored. If you catch your dog chomping away in your yard but don't show any signs or symptoms of health issues, they may just be looking for something to do. 

You could try bringing your pup out for longer walks or more interactive playtime to curb this grass-eating behavior.

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

Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet can advise you on how to help your pooch reduce obsessive behaviors.

Pros and Cons of Your Dog's Grass-Eating Habit

Pros
  • Grass eating may be pleasant.
  • Adds fiber to your dog's diet.
  • Acts as roughage, improving digestion.
Cons
  • It might cause vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Grass can be covered in pesticides.
  • Parasites can live in the grass.

What can I do to stop my dog from eating grass?

If your vet determines that your dog is healthy and showing no signs of illness, then you may want to try these tips for stimulating your pup:

  • For dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, try leaving an old t-shirt (unwashed) or blanket with your dog while you're away from home. Having something nearby that smells of you may help reassure your pup.
  • If your dog is bored, it's time to add some extra mental stimulation to their day. Try occupying your dog with a puzzle toy to help provide extra mental stimulation.
  • High-energy dogs will likely benefit from longer, more frequent, and more vigorous walks, combined with some strenuous play sessions, to help settle their restless minds and bodies.
  • Dogs that enjoy socializing with other dogs may need extra socializing time. Perhaps taking your dog to a doggie daycare or visiting the local dog park will help stop your dog from eating grass.

Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?

If your dog has no health concerns and is up to date on preventive care, feel free to let them eat grass to their heart's content.

To help keep your grass-nibbling pooch healthy, ensure no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys.

Signs That Grass Eating is an Emergency

While dogs eating grass doesn't raise any red flags under normal circumstances. There may be situations that point to an urgent medical issue.

If you notice signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite or lethargy, you should bring your dog to the vet for emergency care right away.

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.

Has your dog been chewing on excessive amounts of grass? Are they also showing concerning signs like diarrhea and vomiting? If so, contact our vets in Clinton Township right away.

New Patients Welcome

Snider Veterinary Service is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Clinton Township companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (586) 286-5684