Dogs love to play outside, but they also like to eat grass. You probably have seen your four-legged friend frolic through the lawn to graze. It makes you wonder what makes them pick up this habit; after all, they are not horses or cows.
There are various evolutionary, nutritional, and health reasons as to why they’re doing that. Some are harmless, while others may require a trip to the vet.
At Dope Dog, we know the value of prioritizing your dog’s health and happiness. Here are some insights as to why your four-legged friend is munching on grass.
Pica is a medical condition where a person is deficient in specific vitamins and minerals, but they have to replenish it by eating something strange or abnormal.
For example, this often happens to pregnant women where they are anemic and deficient in certain minerals that they often crave soil and dirt.
The same thing can also happen to your dog. If your pet is deficient in any kind of nutrient, he or she might try to compensate by eating your lawn.
If this is the case, the best thing to do is to change your dog food brand into something with more nutritional value to help replenish your pet's diet. Choose dog treats and dog food that use organic and wholesome ingredients.
Just like humans, dogs get anxious as well. When people are stressed out, they often grab a potato chip or any type of snacks that they can find to eat.
Eating releases pleasurable brain signals like serotonin and dopamine to alleviate stress and anxiety. This is the same for dogs when they munch on the grass to reduce the stress that they might be having.
For example, if you move into a new place with your dog, the change in the environment can elicit some stress. This can cause constant grass-eating behavior.
The best way to combat this would be to spend more time with the dog to decrease his or her stress or provide methods to relax, like adding CBD oil to their meals. CBD oil and treats can help relax your canine friends so they will stop eating the grass in your backyard.
In fact, it can help the dog sleep better at night, so they feel more rested in the morning.
Related: 10 Ways to Help Your Nervous Dog
Weight gain tends to happen when you’re bored. People find anything to keep themselves stimulated, even if it’s grabbing a bunch of snacks like chips and chocolate. It's the chewing motion that keeps them occupied.
This is the same thing with dogs. If they are bored, they will graze on the lawn to keep themselves entertained. If this keeps happening, then it’s time to grab a leash and take Fido out for a run.
Dogs are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and plants. It’s a way to complete their diet and to add variety into their meals.
Grass contains a significant amount of fiber to help regulate the digestive system. It’s best to satisfy their omnivorous craving by providing some fruits and vegetables in the dog food.
You can also purchase plants from the pet store that are safe for your dog to eat.
If your dog has abdominal pain or discomfort, he or she will do whatever it takes to alleviate that. Fortunately, eating grass can help soothe the stomach to decrease the pain. Therefore, whenever you see your dog vomiting, diarrhea, or purely ill, that can be the answer as to why Fido is munching on your lawn.
Sometimes your dog can accidentally eat something strange or unsettling that it makes his G.I. system uncomfortable. They will eat grass to induce vomiting. This is mainly because the pointy ends on the grass can stimulate the throat to vomit.
Your dog's ancestors did not have kibbles or dog treats. They will hunt and feast on their prey and the grass from its stomach that is filled with fiber.
Domesticated dogs are not 100% carnivorous; they require a mixture in their diet. According to veterinarians, 11% to 47% of wolves will graze on grass.
Dogs don’t have to hunt for food, but it doesn’t mean they don’t retain their ancestor's instinct to scavenge. Even though your dog may love dog food and treats, they will still eat grass due to their scavenger instinct.
You might not have to worry too much about it if it’s only an occasional grazing session here and there, but anything beyond that could be an issue.
Should I Stop My Dog From Eating Grass
It’s essential to stop your dog from eating grass in your backyard. Grass from the garden contains herbicide and pesticide to get rid of insects that destroyed the lawn. Unfortunately, these chemicals are also toxic to your dog and can make them very sick.
If you see him munching on your lawn, it’s essential to stop him immediately by saying no or bring him back in the house.
You can replace Fido's grass-eating addiction with plants from the pet store. These plants are clean, fresh, and created specifically to replenish a dog's craving to eating grass. Plus, it can provide nutrients and fiber to their diet.
Should I bring Fido to the Vet?
It depends on the situation, but if your dog has other symptoms, then it’s best to bring them to the vet. Some signs and symptoms to look out for are constant diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, fatigue, pain, or anything out of the ordinary that should warrant an examination by the vet.
There are some underlying medical issues such as anemia, tumors, ulcers, or infection that could be the reason why your dog is eating grass.
It might be weird to see your dog eat grass in the backyard or front yard. It’s OK if they are doing this sparingly, but if you noticed that the grass-eating behavior is increasing and has become a constant habit, then it’s essential to bring them to the vet. If your dog experience additional symptoms that seem alarming, then you should bring him to the vet for a check-up.
Grass eating behavior can be healthy to satisfy their instinct and scavenger activity that stems from their ancestors. Plus, they could be doing it out of boredom or stress. Whatever the reason is, it’s best to find the underlying cause to rectify the situation.
Grass eating behavior might not be a severe issue, but if they are continually doing it, then you might need to consider an alternative like a grass plant from the pet store or keep them indoors.
After all, being a dog parent isn’t easy; any slight weirdness can make us worry and think of the worse. We hope that with these insights that we could put your mind at ease and let you know when it's time to worry. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative, check out our Dope Dog treats to satisfy your pet’s appetite.
Related: Probiotics for Dogs: The Ultimate Guide