If you have ever been severely confused by your dog chewing on the grass right after a hearty meal or vomiting after eating grass and then going back to eating grass, do not worry. A lot of dog parents like you share this concern when it comes to their dogs. This weird habit is very common among dogs and studies to have shown that 4 in 5 dogs that have access to grass or other plants have chewed on them. This is usually seen as normal dog behavior, most commonly resulting from boredom, especially when your dog is young or a teething puppy. Is he hungry? Is he bored? Is he sick? Will chewing grass cause him medical problems? These are questions that can naturally occur in your mind. That is why we will take you through the common causes of this and if and when you should be concerned about this habit in this blog.
The technical term for the disorder due to which animals eat things that are not food is known as pica. Pica can occur in your dog due to nutritional deficiencies, but as mentioned earlier, it is mostly a sign of boredom, especially in younger dogs. Surveys have found that grass is the most commonly eaten plant in this case and this kind of pica does not pose any serious problems later. Most veterinarians would consider pica to be a part of normal canine behavior.
Why Is My Dog Eating Grass?
There are several suggested reasons as to why dogs eat grass. Some people have reported that dogs eat grass to make themselves feel better when they are feeling ill by throwing up. This idea however is widely disputed as some have maintained that dogs are not smart enough to treat their digestion with grass.
Other possible reasons as to why your pooch is grazing your lawn are improving digestion, meeting an unfulfilled nutritional requirement, or treating intestinal worms. Dogs are omnivores and just like human beings, dogs too require a certain amount of fiber along with quality meat in their diet and plants are high in fiber content. That is why this may seem like an easy and possibly delicious way for your dog to add some roughage to his diet. This will help keep the matter in their gastrointestinal or digestive tract smooth and flowing.
Sometimes, however, dogs chew on grass simply because they are bored or anxious. Just like some people are nervous nail-biters, dogs often alleviate boredom or anxiety by chewing on grass. In case your dog is constantly munching on grass but is not exhibiting any signs of digestive problems, then such psychological elements may factor in.
When Should I Be Worried?
If your dog is eating grass and exhibiting symptoms of digestive issues, then there is a cause of concern. Dogs can suffer from several gastrointestinal diseases like acid reflux, pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease that lead them to munch on grass. If you notice these signs, it is time for a visit to the nearest veterinary clinic.
Also, in case your dog is exhibiting obsessive behavior when it comes to chewing on grass, it could indicate a deeper psychological problem. A trip to the vet is also recommended in such cases.
How Can I Keep My Dog From Eating Grass?
There are several ways in which you can keep your dog off munching on your front lawn. Most of them depend on the causes of chewing grass. Let us see some of them.
If you suspect that your dog is chewing grass because of boredom, it may be a good idea to keep him engaged in fun physical activities. You can take them out for runs or play catch with a frisbee with them. Engaging in exercise, playing, and other physical activities will keep your dog amused and tired and thus, of the grassy patches. You can also try buying them a sturdy chew toy to fulfill their chewing urges and not eat grass at the same time.
In case this pica behavior is stemming from nutritional deficiencies, you can always try switching to a different kind of diet, containing more fibrous elements than their previous one.
Although grazing itself is not a harmful behavior, the herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers sprayed on the grass can cause serious complications if ingested by your dog. Additionally, some house plants and garden mushrooms are toxic for dogs and will create problems if they are consumed along with the grass. Make sure you are only growing organic grass in your garden and if possible, you can make him a separate garden or grass patch for him to munch on as he pleases.
In conclusion, we see that grazing or eating grass is not a specifically harmful habit unless followed by signs of stomach discomfort. While they do not gain any real nutritional value from grass, they also will not harm them. However, in case you need any help call the ASPCA’s 24*7 Animal Poison Control hotline at (888) 426-4435.