Dogs are omnivores, meaning that they eat everything from meat to vegetables, including greens like grass. Some dogs may even graze on your lawn, treating it like a giant salad. While an occasional nibble here and there isn’t usually dangerous for your pup, you might have reason to worry if your pup is ingesting half of your lawn. Here, we examine the many reasons why you may find your dog eating grass and what you can do to curtail this behavior.
Your dog likes the taste of grass
In the wild, your pooch’s wolf ancestors grazed on things like grass, fruits, vegetables and other greens, so Fido might just like the way it tastes.
Grass that is free of pesticides and chemicals is generally safe for dogs to eat. If Fido doesn’t overindulge in eating too much of it, you can purchase dog-friendly wheat, barley or oat grass at the supermarket and leave some next to your dog’s food dish for him to nibble on. Or create a dog-specific garden in your yard with these types of grass.
Your dog may need more fiber in his diet
Greens provide a good amount of fiber in your dog’s diet, which helps with digestion. If your pup occasionally likes to eat grass, he may simply be supplementing his diet with fiber. To discourage your dog from eating grass, try increasing the amount of fiber in his diet.
- Look for commercial dog foods that contain fiber-rich ingredients like beet pulp, bran and whole grains. Many weight-management dog foods contain higher amounts of fiber than regular foods.
- Offer your dog some vegetables as a treat, which are healthy for him, like chopped lettuce, carrots, green beans or broccoli.
Your dog has an upset stomach
Some dogs will scarf down lots of grass at once without chewing it and then vomit. This could mean that your pooch is dealing with some tummy upset, using the grass to induce vomiting. The blades of unchewed grass tickle your dog’s throat and cause your pooch to vomit. Once your dog vomits, he may stop eating the grass and go back to his usual routine.
On the other hand, if you see your dog continually eating grass and appears ill or lethargic, it could mean he is suffering with an on-going gastrointestinal issue. This can be caused by a variety of conditions, including acid reflux or an intestinal parasite, so you’ll need to visit your veterinarian to see what is going on.
Your dog has nothing else to do
Dogs who are bored may start eating strange things, including grass. If your dog eats grass, it could be that he’s not getting enough activity so he’s chomping on grass to pass the time.
- Try to increase your dog’s activity level by ensuring he’s getting plenty of exercise during the day. A few brisk walks are a good way to keep your pup active.
- Get a dog walker involved. Check out some local dog walkers and have one stop by during the day to exercise your dog and give him a bathroom break.
- Hide some kibble around your home so that your dog can “hunt” for it and find it during the day. Not only will this keep your dog occupied, but it engages his senses as he searches around your home for something delicious.
Your dog is hungry or suffering from a nutritional deficiency
If you see your dog eating grass, it’s possible that your dog isn’t getting enough food or the proper nutrition from the diet that you’re feeding him at home.
- Increase your pup’s portions to stop him from eating grass. Some very active dogs might need more calories than an average dog.
- Switch to a high-quality diet that adheres to the standards suggested by the Pet Food Association of Canada (PFAC). PFAC members must manufacture their foods to the same nutritional standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These foods are designed to meet your pup’s nutritional needs and the food will state on the label that it is “complete and balanced.”
Is eating grass safe for dogs?
While it’s generally considered safe for dogs to eat grass in small amounts, there are some dangers to consider.
- Don’t let your pooch eat grass while out on a walk with him. Your neighbors may treat their grass with fertilizers or chemicals like weed killers and pesticides that could be potentially dangerous for your canine companion.
- Avoid using any chemicals and fertilizers on your own lawn if you know your pooch is apt to eat your grass.
- Clear your yard and home of plants that are toxic to dogs. Dogs who eat grass may eat other plants around your home too.