Dogs do some really strange things, and one of the ones that many dog moms and dads have seen before is chowing down on grass! Wondering why your dog he’s suddenly made grass his main diet staple? Here’s what you should know!
Your dog is most likely eating grass because he’s not feeling well, and the grass is healthy food for them. This could be from lacking something in general nutrition, or something more recent. If he is doing it all of a sudden, he may have an upset stomach, since grass can be known to help them vomit. Below, you’ll learn what the sudden grass-eating behavior means as well as reasons why he could be eating grass, any red flags or behaviors to watch for, and how to stop your dog from eating grass.
Why is my dog frantically eating grass all of a sudden?
The biggest thing with noticing that he’s eating grass is figuring out whether he has, in fact, started doing it frantically, or whether you’re noticing it for the first time. It’s considered normal for dogs to chow down on the grass when they’re exploring the backyard or going for a walk, but most of us just assume he’s sniffing rather than eating. It could just be that you’re noticing it for the first time! If you are sure it’s a new behavior, keep reading below!
Is eating grass dangerous for dogs?
No, eating grass is not dangerous for dogs in and of itself. Biologically speaking, dogs’ ancestors considered grass to be a staple of their diet and it’s perfectly safe for them to eat and digest as intended.
That being said, you will have to watch out for what they’re eating in the grass itself. From bugs to toxic plants to even something as simple as chowing down on pesticide-treated grass — not all grass is safe!
Why do dogs eat grass?
So, why is your adorable furry friend eating grass? There could be a few reasons, actually. Some of the mains are below for you:
- Biological instinct
- They found tasty grass
- They’re bored
- Their stomach is upset
- Their diet is lacking they’re trying to make up for it
Even though dogs are domesticated now, their ancestral instincts can still kick in and cause them to eat some grass even though they have perfectly delicious kibble and treats in the house. Think of it as their “just in case I’m hungry later” instinct! They just want to make sure that they don’t forget to “pack a snack”, so they grab a mouthful of grass. You have to admit, it’s kind of funny, right?
They found tasty grass
Sure, it sounds weird, but it’s more common than you’d think! There are many different types of grass out there and dogs have a taste for some over others. For instance, sweetgrass is a popular favorite that’s pretty rare, all things considered, for your dog’s normal outings. Since he doesn’t get his favorite grass very often, he could start ripping up every blade he finds when he discovers a patch of it!
Yes, seriously. If your dog is under-stimulated and bored, he’ll consider eating grass as something fun to do when he’s outside and enjoying some time to himself. He also may see it as a way to get your attention to play with him, as many pet parents will come out to get their dog to stop literally eating the backyard.
Their stomach is upset
When their stomach is upset from eating something bad or even eating too much, dogs often turn to grass as their version of Pepto Bismol. Grass settles their stomach because it is difficult to digest and can cure any bubbling that’s going on. It also can encourage them to throw up, which often gets rid of the bad food they eat, too, curing the problem. It’s gross, but it works!
Their diet is lacking they’re trying to make up for it
Another factor to their habit is that they feel their diet is lacking in something and they’re turning to grass as a substitute. Dogs are especially talented at knowing when they’re lacking in something, and working to fix it. For example, when a dog is deficient in fiber, the grass is rich in fiber and they’ll start eating it to help increase their dosage.
Red flags when it comes to grass eating
While grass-eating is more or less harmless in most situations, there are a few situations where you should be very attentive to watching your dog for any further symptoms. Some of those situations include:
- Your dog is eating grass and panting excessively
- Your dog is eating grass and coughing
- Your dog is eating grass and vomiting over and over again
In these situations, it could mean that the grass eating is either causing a problem (such as pesticides or poison), or it could mean that your dog needs help dealing with a serious problem such as bloat, or even a blockage. Any or all of these points should mean a call to your vet at the very least!
Should I contact a vet?
There are also a few other grass-related reasons why you may want to contact your vet, too. The first is that he’s started eating grass out of the middle of nowhere. It’s very strange behavior that is noticeable enough to be very out of the ordinary. For example a large amount rather than just a clump here and there.
Also, if you notice that he seems really frantic about the grass selection, it could be an issue. Rather than just a mouthful here or there, he’s deliberately devouring every single blade he can find without choosing his spot.
If you suspect any kind of pesticide use on the grass that he was eating, or you notice a toxic plant nearby, this can also be cause for concern. Common symptoms to watch for include:
- Pale gums
Should I stop my dog from eating grass?
In a general context, your dog’s habit of eating grass is harmless. It’s a normal thing for dogs to do and isn’t a problem behavior in and of itself. That being said, you can decide to redirect his behavior if it really bothers you, or you’re worried about pesticide use. More on that in the next section!
How to stop my dog from eating grass
If you’re made it your mission to stop your dog from eating grass, regardless of the reason, the first thing to do is to understand why he’s eating the grass. He is struggling with his diet? Does he have a stomach issue? Whatever the cause is, treating that will be a huge help.
Since dogs don’t always communicate clearly, however, finding the source of the problem could mean trying to solve the problem first, and then watching for any change in the future.
For example, if you suspect that he’s bored or he’s found his favorite grass, or he’s just having a biological moment, you can try to redirect his behavior. For example, you can toss a ball or get him to play with you or come over for a treat, etc. This will distract him effectively in most cases.
Also, make sure that you are giving him enough toys as well as giving him plenty of playtime throughout the day, so he’s not so bored or lacking in attention that he eats grass to get your attention.
If you think it might be dietary or related to his stomach upset, bring it up to your vet next time you go in to talk to them. They may be able to find out what their dietary needs are and help them from no longer feeling the need to supplement with grass!
Grass eating might be normal in some cases, but frantic eating of it can mean a more serious issue. These reminders and tips can help you keep everyone in good health and safety!
It’s normal for dogs to eat grass, but frantic eating, especially out of the ordinary, could signal that your dog has an issue with boredom, his dietary needs, or his stomach is upset. If he is eating a lot of it and seems uncomfortable, consult with your vet!
Did any of this surprise you? Are you curious about whether anyone else’s dogs eat grass like maniacs? Share this and see what those around you have to say!