Why do dogs eat grass?

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Many veterinarians recognize that dogs eating grass is expected behavior, but the reasons behind this are complex.

While some dogs may consume grass due to deficiencies in their diet – lack of vitamins, nutrients or fiber – various causes drive this behavior despite grass offering minimal nutritional value. Read on to discover insights into this intriguing habit.


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Four Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Dogs eat many things they shouldn’t consume. Known as pica, the persistent desire to eat non-food items with no nutritional value can lead to a variety of dental and gastrointestinal problems. In fact, digestive problems caused by ingesting foreign objects rank among the top pet insurance claims filed by dog ​​owners.

Fortunately, veterinarians agree that grass consumption is mostly harmless. It can, however, be an indicator of something else. Here are the four reasons your dog may be eating grass.

1. Natural instinct

Dogs are omnivores and their wild canine ancestors may have eaten grass as a natural way to rid themselves of intestinal parasites. A dog’s digestive system struggles to digest grass. As it passes through the dog’s stomach and intestines, the fibrous structure helps eliminate any unwanted parasites.

Pet dogs may no longer need to get rid of parasites this way. However, the behavior persists because it is instinctive. This theory also explains why younger dogs eat grass more often: younger dogs are more likely to contract intestinal parasites than older ones.

2. Nutritional deficiency

Dogs might also eat grass if they lack a nutrient-rich diet or to improve digestion since grass is high in fiber.

One study observed an 11-year-old poodle who ate grass every day only to vomit shortly after. This problem had persisted for years. Veterinarians advised the owner to add more fiber to the dog’s diet to see if it would help. Once the dog was switched to a high-fiber diet, the owner reported that he stopped eating grass and stopped vomiting.

3. Curiosity

Dogs are famous for exploring the world with their mouths, why not? Weed is no exception. Your dog may munch on grass out of curiosity, because it’s fun, or simply because he likes the flavor.

4. Boredom or anxiety

Dogs need daily physical and mental stimulation in the form of exercise or play. When they don’t get it, they may find other outlets to release pent-up energy: excessive licking, destructive chewing, and yes, eating grass. It could also be an anxiety response as they chew grass to calm their nerves.

Pet parents may unknowingly reinforce grass-eating behavior by intervening or loudly calling their dogs while they are eating grass. Dogs may interpret this effort as a reward for their behavior and will likely do it again. After all, they are learning that they get your precious attention every time they do.

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Do Dogs Eat Grass When They Are Sick?

Many dog ​​owners think that dogs eat grass when they aren’t feeling well to settle their stomachs and induce vomiting. However, some studies suggest that this is not the most likely explanation for the behavior.

One example is a study that interviewed 1,571 dogs about plant-eating behavior. Of the dogs, only 9 percent became ill before eating grass and 22 percent vomited frequently afterward. This study, along with others of a similar nature, suggests that discomfort is not a common reason for consuming weed. However, it could still be the reason for some dogs.

It is commonly believed that the reason some dogs vomit after eating grass is because blades of grass may tickle their throats. Some other things can also cause vomiting, which we’ll delve into below.

Is it OK for dogs to eat grass?

The grass itself is not harmful, but eating it could expose your dog to toxic chemicals and parasites. Eating a lot of grass could also lead to constipation and digestive problems due to its high fiber content.

Pesticides and herbicides

Grass treated with pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers could harm dogs and cause pesticide poisoning. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, skin or eye irritation, and difficulty breathing.

There is also a possible link between herbicide-treated lawns and an increased risk of cancer. The Humane Society highlights two studies that found a higher risk of lymphoma in dogs exposed to the herbicide 2,4-D, the main ingredient in products like Trimec, Triplet, End Run and Q4. More research is needed to reach a definitive answer, but in the meantime, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Read product instructions carefully if you apply these chemicals to your garden. The general recommendation is to let all pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers dry completely and to keep your pet away from the area for at least two days.


When dogs consume grass, they can also ingest the feces of other animals, potentially contracting various diseases.

Parvovirus, commonly known as parvo, is a potentially lethal virus transmitted through animal waste. Animal waste may also contain eggs or larvae of intestinal parasites such as roundworms, heartworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms.

You can minimize these risks by adhering to your pet’s vaccination schedule and taking him to the vet for routine deworming and parasite screenings.

Should I take my dog ​​to the vet because he eats grass?

Pet owners need not worry about their dog’s eating behavior if it is not accompanied by other signs of illness.

Call your vet if your dog shows any of the following signs along with this habit, as some of these additional symptoms may indicate medical conditions or other stomach problems, such as pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sudden or excessive weed-eating behavior

Compulsive grass eating, especially if it puts your dog at risk of choking or harming his digestive system, may also require input from a professional such as a veterinary behaviorist.

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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass Frequently Asked Questions

Does a dog eating grass mean anything?

A dog eating grass can mean several things. First, they may simply like the taste, be bored or anxious, or act on their natural canine instincts. Alternatively, eating grass could mean that your dog has a nutritional deficiency and needs more fiber in his diet. In most cases, this behavior is not a cause for concern. However, you should call your veterinary hospital if you notice signs of lethargy, diarrhea, weight loss, lack of appetite, or sudden, excessive grass consumption, as these could indicate a health problem.

How can I stop my dog ​​from eating grass?

First, try to identify why your dog eats grass. If they are bored or anxious, add more play time, exercise and mental stimulation to their routine.

Dogs who eat grass in the morning and vomit soon after may experience discomfort due to an empty stomach. Try feeding your dog early in the morning to see if this deters the behavior.

If the problem persists, consult a veterinarian. They may advise you to change your dog’s diet or refer you to a veterinary behaviorist who can teach you how to redirect the grass-eating habit.

Why do dogs eat grass when they are sick?

There is no clear answer to why dogs eat grass when they are sick. A popular theory is that they do it to induce vomiting when they have an upset stomach. However, studies have found no definitive evidence of this. A small percentage of dogs observed in these studies showed previous signs of illness, but most appeared perfectly healthy before and after eating grass.

Lemongrass is toxic to dogs if ingested in large quantities. Contains essential oils and cyanogenic glycosides, which may cause stomach upset.

Money Summary Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Various reasons could push your dog to munch on roughage.

Some do it because they’re bored, anxious, or under-stimulated, or simply because they like the taste of weed. Others may eat grass because their wild canine ancestors did, and the behavior is genetically inherited. Dogs may also resort to eating grass if they are not eating a balanced diet or even to relieve the discomfort of an empty stomach.

Most veterinarians agree that eating grass is normal dog behavior. However, you should call your vet if you notice any further signs of illness (lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea). The same is true if you believe that pot use is related to other behavioral problems such as anxiety or compulsiveness.

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