Some of my dogs have loved grass. Most pups eat grass only when they absolutely need too. The first dog I had that loved grass was a strange dog. For other dogs, eating grass is a bad omen. So, why do dogs eat grass?
Why Don’t Some Pups Eat Grass
Wild dogs are scavengers. It makes sense why dogs eat grass when you think of it that way. You can eat grass. Grass is everywhere. When bored, a pup can nibble on some of the plentiful grass all around.
If dogs do not have grass to eat they will raid the garbage. Or your cats litter box. Most dogs are not picky. In my book, grass is a better choice than the litter box content.
My husbands toy poodle disagreed with me. Kitty litter treats? Excellent and fine cuisine. Grass? Disgusting, sub human food. This poodle was a meat and cheese kind of girl.
This poodle only went near grass after a very specific sequence of events. Isolating herself on a soft and comfortable surface. Followed by staring at the wall for about fifteen minutes. Then some coughed up bile, followed by a race to the door.
Once outside, a nibble of grass. After the nibble of grass she would bolt to the door and wait. My husbands family would let her inside and she would hop onto the comfortable place where she stared.Then, she would vomit bile and grass.
The Natural K-9 Antacid
The theory of why dogs eat grass vary. But all of my empirical (I have had a lot of dogs and met a lot of vets) boil it down to two reasons. The big one is that dogs use grass as an antacid.
It is like the chicken vs the egg. Which came first? Does not matter. Dogs tend to eat grass and vomit. We are not sure if it is because grass makes dogs vomit or that dogs need to vomit and eat grass. But we do know that dogs can eat grass and not get sick.
That makes it appear that it is a texture issue. Eating grass tickles your throat. If you need to vomit and just can’t, grass can put a pup over the edge. This is bred into dogs for generations. Scavengers can eat grass, and know if tickles to go down.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
The other main reason dogs eat grass is because they are hungry. A secondary prevailing theory is that dogs eat grass who need fiber. Animals on a natural diet tend to scavenge for grass more than dogs who eat processed food.
Then you have the use of grass as an antacid or vomit inducing element. Grass is natures antacid or ipecac. Using grass is abundant and tastes good enough to eat as a dietary supplement. The icing on the cake is that dogs may need more fiber.
Beating the Urge to Nibble on Grass
With two prevailing theories why a pup will eat grass, we need to combat two potential problems. If your dog is hungry or needs more fiber, more dog food or vegetables will do the trick. I raise my dogs to think of vegetables as treats and introduce dog friendly veggies early.
Cucumber, broccoli, and green beans are excellent and fiber rich treats. This hammers away the need for grass to fill up or get fiber. The other issue of being antacid or ipecac substitutes are harder to tackle. If your dog needs to vomit, it most likely to get out something bad.
What you can do is mitigate damage. Keeping your yard clean and free of chemicals is a good start. At some point all dogs will eat something they find on the ground, so spraying toxins is not a good idea. These toxins can be worse than what your dog wants to vomit up.
It is also essential to avoid the pretty lawns in the neighborhood. When walking your pup you will pass many manicured lawns. These laws full of lush green grass look great, but are toxic. You cant stop your dog from eating grass but you lower the risk of getting your dog sicker.
This is one of the reasons I take my dogs to a dog park or build a dog run in my yard. The grass is not greener, but I know the grass is not covered in chemicals. Dogs parks never spray the yards and having my own run area means my dogs can eat and play while I maintain a yard if I want.
Why do Dogs Eat Grass? Maybe because it is tasty. Maybe because they need fiber. Or it is k9 medicine. Just remember, if you can beat them, join them. That is the answer to why do dogs eat grass.