My dog Betty and I have a walk we like to do around the neighbourhood. It involves walking by a house with a large dog, who never fails to bark at us from behind his gate. While he’s doing a fantastic job at guarding the house, I have noticed that right after our encounter, Betty frantically starts eating grass.
I always thought dogs ate grass to help with their digestion… is Betty getting an upset stomach from this terrifying interaction like we humans do before giving a presentation?
I intended to figure out exactly why dogs eat grass, and here is what I found.
Grass is a good source of fibre for your dog
A good reason for dogs turning to eating grass is simply because it contains dietary fibre.
Dogs are looking for roughage they might not be getting from their diet. One of the main benefits of roughage is that it helps regulate digestion, by alleviating constipation and keeping #2 regular.
Check that your dog’s diet provides them with enough fibres and add a few veggies such as spinach, to help. You can also try our DIY fresh breath green treat recipe that replicate the benefits of grass-eating.
There is a common assumption that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting when they have an upset stomach. However, we are yet to prove this is the case. Some dogs will eat grass, vomit, then get back to eating grass straight after. So it’s hard to tell if the upset stomach came before or after.
Dogs eating grass as a psychological need
This is where I discovered the “why” behind Betty’s voracious appetite for grass after terrifying encounters. Research shows that there might be a psychological need to our dogs eating grass, much like people bitting their nails.
Dogs will often eat grass due to boredom or anxiety. If your dog is not showing any symptoms of digestive issues but munches relentlessly on grass, consider psychological reasons for their behaviour.
Anxious dogs may result to munching on grass as a sort of mindless comfort, often developing a kind of OCD, where the behaviour is triggered by an anxious event.
Don’t stress if your dog eats grass
Many veterinarians consider grass eating a normal dog behaviour. In fact, a lot of puppies enjoy eating grass simply as a distraction. Occasional grazing that is not compulsive or associated with a physical or behavioural problem, won’t make the dog sick (provided the grass is not heavily sprayed with pesticides).
However, if your dog is eating grass, and has other symptoms such as lack of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, it's time to see your vet.
Every dog will eat grass at some point, whether by habit, for health or for comfort. Still, I better remember to make a detour on my next walk with Betty.
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The Doggy Grub blog is dedicated to helping dogs and their owners achieve happier, healthier lives, changing the way we feed our dogs one bowl at a time! If you would like to know more about our fresh food head to Doggy Grub