Why Dogs Eat Grass?
It is surprising that a lot of dogs eat grass. Did you catch your dog chewing on your lawn? Don’t panic, grass eating is frequent in dogs. A lot of dog owners have the same question the first time they catch their pooch chewing on grass.
Why do dogs eat grass? Grass eating in dogs is characterized by a condition called Pica. Pica is a condition in which dogs eat materials that are not dog food.
This condition is responsible for your dog chewing on grass, shoes, socks, clothes, and other things not part of the standard dog diet.
Pica is not to be confused with chewing in puppies during teething and jaw formation. Puppies chew during teething to relieve their sore gums.
Several dog owners have observed their dog eating grass, so you are not alone.
Reasons why dogs eat grass
Dogs aren’t herbivores; their primary diet is not fresh grass and plants. But dogs do graze, and there are various reasons why they do so.
We have discussed that Pica is responsible for grazing in dogs. But Pica is not specific to pasture alone.
Dog sometimes eat grass to aid digestion of food. The grass fiber helps to get rid of indigestion and ensure bowel movement in dogs.
There are reports that dogs that show symptoms of illness chew grass to induce vomiting or in case of an upset stomach.
When dogs eat something harmful to their system, they can eat grass to irritate their stomach and make them vomit, getting rid of the toxic substance in the process.
Although some experts don’t agree with this assumption, citing that dogs are not intelligent enough to cure themselves in cases of ingestion of toxic materials.
Dogs can graze to fulfill their nutritional requirement.
Vitamins present in grass can make up for vitamin deficiency in dog’s food. So your dog’s diet is lacking in vitamins, it might decide to make up for the deficiency itself.
Because dogs crave human attention and interaction, dogs that suffer from separation anxiety can chew on grass.
This is the dog’s way of ‘acting out,’ and when there are no grass available, such dogs can trash the house (chew shoes, clothes, pillow, table legs, etc.)
Dogs suffer from intestinal worms, and chewing grass sometimes help with getting rid of the infection
The stomach contraction when dogs eat grass can mechanically purge the system of the parasites.
Also, evolutionary instincts can also be responsible for dog grazing. Because before dogs were domesticated, they were wild animals.
They live and hunt in the wild, and some of their preys were herbivores. Feeding on those preys’ intestine would introduce grass into the dog’s system.
Modern dogs don’t hunt for their food, but instinctive behaviors are still rampant in dogs; some dogs are excellent hunting dogs and have a high prey drive.
Dogs can also feed on grass because they like the taste; the way you feed on a salad.
Is grazing harmful to dogs?
Grazing is not harmful to dogs. Although some dogs might vomit after eating grass but grazing is not dangerous.
The dangers associated with grazing is when pesticides, insecticide, or herbicides are used on the grass.
These compounds are very toxic and can cause fatality if appropriate care is not administered in cases of ingestion by the animal. So make sure your dog is not eating grass treated with pesticide or insecticides.
Some plants can also contain compounds that can be harmful to dogs. These phytochemicals are not meant to be ingested raw, and so you must know what type of grass your dog is eating.
Fertilizers, especially chemical fertilizers, are not meant to be consumed by animals, to ensure that your dog stays clear of plants fertilized recently.
Grazing can also be a sign of sickness in a dog. As explained earlier, a sick dog may use chewing grass to induce vomiting. So if your dog eats grass often and also vomits after eating it, consider visiting your vet.
How to stop a dog from grazing
Grazing is not overly dangerous to your dog, so it shouldn’t be treated as an emergency. But, some dog owners want to stop this habit.
The first step is to ensure that your dog eats a balanced diet. Nutritional deficiency in dogs can sometimes lead to grazing.
If you notice your dog starts grazing after a change in diet, you should include more fiber in the new food.
For dogs that use chewing grass as a sign of separation anxiety, getting a toy or another pet to play with when you are away should stop the habit.
Or you can train your dog against suffering from separation anxiety.
When dogs are bored, they tend to misbehave, and some dogs can use grazing as a means of comfort. So make sure your dog gets adequate physical exercise.
Physically and mentally fit dogs will not use grazing as a means of getting excited.
High Fiber dog foods
Grasses are abundant in fiber, and since you don’t want your dog eating any grass it sees; you should get high fiber dog food if your pooch likes to chew on greens.
Carrots are rich in vitamins (A, K, and B6). These vitamins help your dog’s vision and sight.
Carrots are also an excellent source of fiber and should be included in your dogs feed.
Dogs that have an excellent digestive system best enjoy kelp in their diet. This plant helps in bowel movement and prevents constipation and bloat in dogs.
The nutritious part of wheat is the wheat germ. The wheat germ contains folic acid and vitamin E amongst other nutrients that dogs need.
Wheat germ is a great source of dietary fiber and should be incorporated into your dog’s diet.
This vegetable is an excellent source of fiber for dogs. They can be steamed and when cooled, mixed with dog’s food.
Brown rice is an excellent source of fiber. They have a ton of other health benefits and are regularly used in diets that are meant to reduce dog weight (Burns diet).