Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? The Answer Might Surprise You!
Grass isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind when you're wondering what dog food might be missing, but your dog might beg to differ. As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons why dogs eat grass – both fresh and dried – and they aren't always related to being sick or hungry! So keep reading to learn more about why dogs eat grass, and then you can decide whether this behavior warrants a trip to the vet or just a little extra petting...and maybe some tasty doggie treats!
On a physiological level, dogs are doing something quite different than humans when they eat grass. Our bodies have specific enzymes that we use to break down foods into nutrients we can use—the reason many of us don't get all of our vitamins or minerals from food alone is because it's hard for plants to naturally produce everything our bodies need. But dogs don't have these enzymes in their systems, so instead of getting nutrients directly from their food, they absorb what they need through their stomachs.
So why do dogs eat grass then? It turns out that even though they don't need extra nutrients, there is another reason: digestion. Eating grass helps them digest other foods by adding roughage to their diet and preventing constipation. This isn't just limited to dogs; cats also enjoy eating grass on occasion.
Give Your Dog Some Fresh Air
It's normal for dogs to want to eat grass, but they shouldn't do it too often. Chances are, there's a reason why your dog likes munching on that lawn. They may be doing it because they need some greens in their diet, or they could just be after something more specific. Whatever their reasons are, getting them to stop eating grass is tricky.
If you have a young puppy who is chewing up all of your plants and grass, then you should definitely get rid of these edible items around your house. If you have an older dog who still loves to chew on some blades of grass, then maybe give him some fresh air instead. Take him out for a walk and let him roam around on his own—you might be surprised at what he finds.
Too Many Chemicals In Pet Food
Recent studies have found that pet food may contain chemical residue from pesticides, herbicides, hormones and other environmental contaminants. Your dog probably isn't eating grass to get their daily dose of vitamins or minerals; it's likely because your pet is not getting enough nutrients in their diet.
If your dog is eating grass, it could be a sign that there are too many chemicals in pet food. Talk to your vet about nutrient deficiencies in commercial pet food and how you can switch to a better option today!
Select New Foods Carefully
Some foods are difficult for your dog to digest, like broccoli and onions. These types of food can cause stomach upset and may even lead to vomiting. If you're making a change in your dog's diet, try introducing new foods slowly over a period of 10 days. This will give their digestive system time to adjust. Also, if your dog eats something they shouldn't have, monitor them closely so that they don't ingest too much.
Puppy Teething Season
When a dog reaches eight weeks old and starts to lose its baby teeth, it begins teething season. Puppies are most prone to chomping on grass when they are either teething or going through separation anxiety. Allowing your puppy to chew on grass is safer than letting him gnaw on shoes or furniture.
If you do happen to catch your pup eating grass, redirect his attention before he starts chomping down big chunks of earth.
If your dog is a gulper, he could be suffering from gastric distress. Often, a big meal of rich food—especially late at night—will sit in his stomach and cause him to vomit. But, if your dog is regular with his meals and a light eater, there might be another reason for these green displays: acid reflux. Like humans, dogs can suffer from heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acids flow back into a dog's esophagus, causing pain and discomfort. Eating grass can help neutralize those acids before they make their way back up into your pet's throat.