Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
"For anxious dogs, eating grass is equivalent to the coping mechanism of some people who chew their nails."
Have you ever taken your dog out to play on your lawn only to see they are chomping on grass? Dogs eating grass is common for many pet parents to encounter. But, many still wonder, “Why is my dog eating grass?” In this article, we will talk about the reasons why dogs eat grass, when a dog eating grass becomes a problem, and how to stop a dog from eating grass.
REASONS WHY DOGS EAT GRASS
Why is my dog eating grass? The reasons why a dog eats grass vary from one furbaby to another. But, if you are wondering “why does my dog eat grass,” we have come up with some of the most common reasons why a dog does so.
Dogs Eat Grass Due to Diet Deficiency
Eating non-food items (pica in dogs), like grass, may be caused by diet deficiency. Your furbaby may be lacking in some particular nutrients, vitamins, or minerals from what they intake daily.
According to Pets WebMD, dogs eating grass is something most veterinarians regard as normal behavior. As a matter of fact, wild dogs have been observed to be eating grass as well. This type of pica can be considered not a problem if your dog is being provided with a well-balanced diet. Talk to your vet about the nutritional requirements of your furbaby. They may recommend supplements, a change in food, or a change in the amount of food to help provide your dog with a more balanced diet if their nutritional needs are not being met.
They Might Need More Fiber
Dogs need fiber. Fiber helps dogs properly digest food, easily pass stool, and adequately keep the GI system well-functioning. Also, dogs require roughage in their diets. The roughage they consume offers an important source of fiber for dogs, which assists in balancing their diet, keeping their digestive system healthy, and enhancing the energy and nutrients of their daily meals. Grass is a source of fiber and your dog eating grass might be their way of getting more fiber into their body.
Dog Eating Grass for Upset Stomach Relief
If you have ever asked a fellow pet parent, “Why do dogs eat grass?” you will likely receive the answer that a dog eats grass to relieve their upset stomach. Some believe that dogs choose to eat grass when they are feeling unwell so that they can vomit and feel better after. However, others argue that even though dogs are smart, they do not know that eating grass will treat their upset stomach.
Boredom and Anxiety Can Cause a Dog to Eat Grass
A dog’s day-to-day activities are a routine. Even though dogs love fixed schedules, they can get bored when they are alone or inactive. Dogs need to do something that will stimulate them and help them pass the time, so they begin to chomp grass to fill in dull times.
For anxious dogs, eating grass is equivalent to the coping mechanism of some people who chew their nails whenever they are faced with stressful situations. Dogs may eat grass in order to manage their anxiety.
Dogs Want to Get Their Pet Parent’s Attention
In general, dogs love it when they are the center of attention, especially to their pet parents. They will try to get your attention in whatever way they can, even if it means doing inappropriate actions like eating grass. If you run and chase your dog to remove the grass, this routine can become an exciting game for them.
Natural Instincts Can Cause a Dog to Eat Grass
A dog eating grass might be due to their natural instincts kicking in. Your dog’s ancestors did not eat grass as a primary source of nutrients, but they ate other animals whose diet may have consisted of different types of plants that have fulfilled their need for fiber. This is perhaps why they might crave grass as part of their genetic makeup, from back when they hunted for their own food.
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, a study that examined stool samples of dogs in the wild showed that an estimated 11-47% of wolves ate grass. Domesticated dogs no longer need to hunt their food but their natural instinct to scavenge remains. Your dog's natural instinct to graze grass may not be a cause of great concern if it does not make your furbaby sick and their parasite prevention is kept up to date, but it is not necessarily good for them.
HOW DO I STOP MY DOG FROM EATING GRASS?
Regardless of the reason why your dog eats grass, it is not best for them to continue the habit.
While grass itself is not necessarily harmful to dogs, most grass is the potential to have been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides which can be toxic for your furbaby. Your dog may also be able to ingest parasites that may have contaminated the grass being in contact with pee, poop, or saliva residue from other animals.
- For diet deficiency, consult your vet about the nutritional requirements of your furbaby and consider providing your dog with a more balanced diet. It is also recommended that you provide your furbaby with Pet Parents® Multivitamin SoftSupps®. These adult dog and puppy multivitamins contain PurforMSM®, Biotin, Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and many others that give your furbaby the powerful daily health support they need.
- For fiber, provide your dog with a balanced diet that contains proper amounts of fiber. Fiber promotes good digestive health, manages healthy weight, helps alleviate diarrhea and constipation, promotes regular bowel movements—the list goes on. Great sources of fiber you can add to your dog’s daily diet include brown rice, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, pumpkin, and many more.
- For bored and anxious dogs, offer them brain games and activities that will keep them entertained. Give your furbaby Gnawtlers®. Gnawtlers® are premium naturally shed antler dog chews that will greatly help keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated. These are vacuum sealed for your dog's safety, odor-free, do not easily break or splinter, delicious, and jam-packed with nutrients! For bored and anxious dogs, also make sure that they are getting enough exercise, more frequent walks, and more play times.
- For dogs craving attention, you can train them to respond to verbal commands that will interrupt and prevent them from turning to grass just to get your attention. You may use simple commands like “Stop” to interrupt the and re-direct their focus to you.
- For dogs using their instincts, encourage healthy mental stimulation without the risk of pesticides and a dead lawn. Use a Forager™ Mat and fill it with their kibble or some treats. This snuffle mat for dogs allows your furbaby to use their instincts to gain mental enrichment by using their senses of smell, touch, taste, and sight to find tasty rewards. Snuffling can actually help relive anxiety as well as tire your dog as well, so that they are less likely to eat grass.
While learning how to stop your dog from eating grass, you can use positive reinforcement to help set expectations. Every time your furbaby begins to nibble grass, call their attention and offer them treats when they avoid eating grass.
Why do dogs eat grass? A dog eating grass can be due to a number of reasons. And although grass is not harmful to them in general, remember that it is not the best option for them either.
"Gnawtlers® are premium naturally shed antler dog chews that will greatly help keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated."
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