To answer this, I did turn to Billy (who is sitting under the desk as I type this) and I asked him straight out, ‘Why do you eat grass?’ His head turned my way and his ears pricked up and I’m sure through the stare he gave me he really did answer me, but the answer seems to have gotten lost in translation.
This question crosses my path a lot from customers to anyone who finds out I’m passionate about dogs, they all want to know why our fur kids do this. I thought I knew the right answer, turns out it’s all based on theory.
I wanted to find a black and white answer, I google searched it and found 1,550,000 results (needless to say I did not go through all those results), however I did find some of the theories as to why our fur babies MIGHT BE eating grass.
In an article by Bruce Dwyer from heathlydogtreats.com.au, he mentions in a study with 12 dogs over 6 days (small sample size) they found the following, regarding dogs eating grass –
One thing I did find conflicting is that Mr Dwyer mentions that dogs are Carnivores (meat eaters) and Dr Eloise Bright mentions that dogs being Carnivores is a myth in fact they are actually Ominvores (consume both meat and non meat products). I have to agree with Dr Bright because all the years I’ve been around dogs I’ve seen them eat both meat and non meat products.
1. A nutrient deficiency – something may be missing from your dog’s diet i.e. fibre or a micronutrient, and the grass is supplementing this in some way.
2.Your dog is bored – apparently a bored dog will eat grass for something to do.
3. They simply like the taste of grass – some dogs may eat grass at certain times of year because it tastes nicer (new shoots), or all year round, simply because they like it.
4. For a very minor tummy upset – eating grass has been seen as a form of self medication, they eat the grass for a bit of relief, some dogs may even bring up a grassy/spit vomit. In an article from Petmd.com, it mentions that it does seem like dogs will seek out a natural remedy for a gassy or upset stomach, and grass may do the trick. ‘When ingested, the grass blade tickles the throat and stomach lining; this sensation in turn may cause the dog to vomit, especially if the grass is gulped down rather than chewed.’
5. It’s hereditary – From an article in Psychology Today by Stanley Coren, Ph.D.,FRSC., he suggests that dogs eating grass may reflect an innate predisposition inherited from dogs’ wild ancestors, this is apparently supported by research done on droppings left by wolves. The usefulness of grass eating in these wild canines is that it can help purge intestinal parasites. However, most pet dogs are free of such worms they nonetheless may still have that predisposition to eat grass.
Generally, NO, eating grass will not harm your dog.
HOWEVER, do make sure the grass they are eating does not have any harmful, pesticides, herbicides, chemicals or anything harmful on it that could effect your dog’s digestion of it.
Also, bottom line is common sense, if your dog isn’t acting like him or herself, if they are not feeling well you can tell by the change in their character.
If they show signs that they are sick (i.e. excessive vomiting, diarrhoea, not eating or drinking, lethargic, weight loss etc, take your dog to the vet.
So, while I didn’t get my black and white answer, there doesn’t seem to be anything to worry about when your fur baby decides to chew some grass.
If you’ve heard of any other theories on grass eating, drop us a line, we’d love to hear them.
Thanks for reading.
J & B