Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Chances are your dog’s eaten a salad’s worth of grass at some point in his life?
And you’ve probably noticed it comes out pretty much the same way it went in … at one end or another. He’ll throw it up or poop it out, looking just the way it went in.
So if they can’t digest it … why do dogs eat grass? Is there an underlying health issue that you should worry about?
So here are a few reasons your dog may eat grass. Read on … or watch the video below (or both)!
Why Is My Dog Eating Grass?
Despite what you may think, your dog is probably not eating grass just to annoy you.
In fact, if your dog is regularly chowing down on grass, it’s more likely a signal of one of these things…
1. Your Dog Needs Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in plants and algae. Its structure is a lot like your dog’s hemoglobin, which is an important part of your dog’s red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout his body.
So when your dog eats chlorophyll, he helps replenish the red blood cells.
Chlorophyll also …
- Protects cells from damage and may lower risk of cancer
- Fights infections
- Heals wounds
- Builds the immune system
- Breaks down calcium oxalate stones in his bladder
- Heals the digestive tract (which we’ll talk about next)
Your dog can’t choose green veggies when he needs chlorophyll. And he doesn’t get chlorophyll from the belly of his prey as a wild dog would. So he eats whatever greens he can find … which leads to grass-eating.
Unfortunately grass isn’t a great source of chlorophyll because it’s hard to digest. But you can give your dog foods that supply the chlorophyl he needs
You can purée or steam organic vegetables like …
- Green beans
Dogs’ digestive systems can’t break down raw veggies effectively, so puréeing or steaming them will hellp him digest the vegetables better so he can absorb the nutrients.
Now, we hinted earlier that grass eating might be a sign of digestive upset.
And that brings us to reason number two …
2. Your Dog Needs Fiber
There’s a theory that dogs eat grass as a way to get more fiber in their diets.
Dogs are omnivores, which means that they can eat both meat and plants. While their diets should be primarily made up of animal protein, they still need some fiber to keep their digestive systems running smoothly.
Eating grass may be a way for dogs to supplement their fiber intake.
Feeding foods like cabbage, sweet potato, or the vegetables mentioned earlier can help up your dog’s fiber intake and perhaps make it less likely for him to eat grass.
RELATED: Best sources of fiber for dogs …
3. Boredom Or Anxiety
Some experts also believe that dogs eat grass simply because they’re bored or anxious.
Dogs are highly social animals who need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.
If he’s not getting enough of these things, your pup may resort to eating grass as a way to pass the time or relieve stress.
4. Eating Grass Is Natural For Your Dog
At the end of the day, grass eating is normal dog behavior. Wild dogs like wolves and coyotes do it too.
So if your dog gets enough greens in his diet and he looks like he’s feeling fine … he may just be in the mood to chew and bite. Grass satisfies that need.
But here’s a word of caution …
Make sure the grass your dog eats isn’t sprayed with pesticides or chemicals.
These toxic products are a common cause of bladder cancer in dogs. So you want to make sure he only eats grass that’s free of chemicals.
Also, if your dog’s just eating grass for something to do, chewing on a good bone will serve the same purpose … in a healthier way that’ll benefit his teeth and exercise his muscles. Click on the link below for some guidelines on recreational bones for dogs.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass And Throw Up?
You’ve probably noticed your dog tends to throw up after eating grass. Since dogs can’t digest grass, they usually throw it right back up.
But sometimes dogs who are already sick will also start eating grass … leading many people to wonder, why do dogs eat grass when sick?
The answer is that dogs sometimes eat grass to get rid of toxins in their stomachs. So your dog might be eating grass to induce vomit, so that he can naturally detox or get rid of bad food he’s eaten.
If this is the case, and your dog’s eating grass because he’s not feeling well, you’ll often see other signs of sickness.
He might …
- Lick his lips
- Act lethargic
If this happens consistently, you might want to do a bit of detective work to figure out what’s wrong with him. He may have a health issue that needs some gut healing help. If you can’t get to the bottom of the cause, and it’s ongoing, you may want to talk to your holistic vet.
RELATED: Types of dog vomit … plus home treatment …
Bottom Line | Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Eating grass is natural behavior for dogs. And, as long as your dog always has a fresh source of real green veggies in his diet … you’ll meet his chlorophyll needs.
And if your dog’s desperately chowng down on grass and looks like he’s not feeling well … it might be time to connect with your holistic vet.
Otherwise, grass eating is just natural behavior for dogs, especially in the spring when the grass is lush and long. So make sure your dog has access to nice long grasses that are free of sprays and pesticides … and help him be the dog nature wants him to be.