You take your dog for a walk, only to stop constantly – not for sniffing every bush, tree and lamppost – but for your dog to nibble on tall, green stalks of grass.
It’s a behavior we expect from rabbits, cows and sheep – not the beloved carnivores who are always after our chicken, burgers and steak, not salad.
Some dogs casually snack on only the freshest, juiciest stalks, while others chomp frantically at every blade of grass they see.
Dogs Eat Grass When They’re Nauseous
You’ve probably heard that dogs eat grass when they feel unwell with the intention of making themselves vomit.
There’s surprisingly little evidence showing whether or not this is actually true. A 2008 study showed that, while many dogs eat grass, just 9% seemed to be ill before they consumed grass, and only 22% vomited afterwards.
If your dog is a grass-eater, watch out for other signs of nausea. When your dog is licking the air, whining, drooling or smacking their lips, there’s a good chance they’re feeling ill.
While it’s unclear if dogs have the planning skills to make themselves vomit, it does seems likely that they do eat grass when they don’t feel well. Perhaps fresh grass “cools off” the stomach the same way bland crackers help sick humans feel better.
Because He’ll Eat Anything
Dogs who eat grass because they’re sick seem to do it frantically. However, dogs who simply love to eat might be more choosy. They might have a favorite patch of grass and will nibble casually any time they’re let out.
Your dog might simply be hungry. Some dogs are always hungry. It might help if you split up their meals so they eat smaller portions more frequently. Or, you can work on your training with healthy snacks during times when your dog typically eats grass.
Should You Let Your Dog Eat Grass?
Eating grass is normal dog behavior. Even wolves have been shown to eat grass from time to time.
If your dog occasionally eats grass, and isn’t vomiting as a result, you have nothing to worry about.
However, if your dog eats grass every time they go outside or if they’re throwing up often, you may want to consult your veterinarian for advice.
How to Stop Your Dog from Grazing
Grass can be your dog’s source of phyto-nutrients, dietary fiber, digestive enzymes and potassium.
Your dog may no longer have the urge to eat grass if you add fresh vegetables to their food. Green beans, kale, carrots and spinach are all healthy vegetables that you can give your dog.
Some dogs will snap up chopped veggies as a treat. You can also blend vegetables into a puree and add them to your dog’s meals. Vegetable purees will be easier for your dog to digest than whole veggies.
If your dog has a bad habit of eating everything they find outside, you may need to use a muzzle when you go on walks. A basket muzzle allows your dog to pant, drink water and accept treats, making it safe for use on a walk while preventing random snacking.
You can also teach your dog the “leave it,” command. It’s not an instant fix, but it’s worthwhile skill to teach. Once your dog learns to “leave it,” you’ll no longer worry about them gobbling up everything that falls on the floor.
Learn More About Your Dog!
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