Maybe you should ask your dog.
We all know that is not possible, but the only person who knows exactly why your dog eats grass is your dog. Humans can only guess the reason and there are many divided opinions on this topic.
Some say this habit is to help calm a sick stomach but there are those who say dogs are not smart enough to know when they need to eat grass. This is the way the discussion goes.
For every sound and solid reason, there is an equally sound contradiction. The best that can be done is to provide some theories and make suggestions on how to cut this habit down.
Does a dog eating grass mean anything?
This is hard to say as studies on different dog breeds are inconclusive. Yes, it can mean something but exactly what is not sure. One poodle ate grass every day for 7 years and for 7 years it threw up every day.
This habit was stopped when its owner placed it on a commercial high-fiber diet. So it is possible that dogs know when they are missing a key nutrient and look to grass to supplement their diet.
That key nutrient is chlorophyll and it is supposed to be very helpful to a dog’s system. The possible reasons why your dog eats grass may fall into the following categories:
- Natural Behavior– Hungry dogs tend to eat grass more often than dogs who are not hungry. Also, the time of day seems to influence dogs as in the late afternoon, grass eating was not done.
- May Need More Fiber– Grass eating is seen as a dog’s solution to not getting enough fiber in their diet.
- Curiosity– Puppies can be like children and want to try something that looks interesting to them or they just want to find out what the grass tastes like. Dogs do explore with their mouths so this is possibly an exploration attempt on their part.
- Attention Seeking– Your dog may eat grass simply to get more attention from you. If you give them a treat as an alternative, they may be seeking more treats.
- Your Dog Is Bored– They turn to eating grass as there is nothing else to do in the fenced yard or when they are tied up.
Is eating grass safe for your dog?
While all the scientific studies on this topic were conducted in ideal conditions, it may not be safe for your pet to eat grass in your yard or neighborhood. Here are two reasons why you should keep your dog from eating grass:
If you are in a park, a strange area, or even in your own backyard, you do not know if any pesticides were sprayed on the grass or if some floated into your yard.
If your dog has eaten grass with pesticides on it, then these symptoms should appear:
- Excessive salivation
- Decreased appetite
If you see these symptoms take your dog to the vet immediately.
You never know when fecal material will be on the grass. If your dog eats some, it could become very sick. You do not always know when other dogs have parvovirus, internal parasites, and so on.
Do dogs eat grass to settle their stomach?
There have been several studies on this issue and the results are not as you would expect them. While many pet owners and pet experts say this is the reason why dogs eat grass, these studies have shown that very few dogs do it for this reason.
The studies are fairly limited and usually only focused on the large intestine. But it is a possibility that your dog will eat grass to soothe their stomach…but highly unlikely.
Only your dog knows for sure.
How to stop your dog from eating grass
The first step is an obvious one. Simply avoid grassy areas when you take them out for their walk. This may be an obvious prevention but it is not always easy to do as walking dogs on grass is great for their joints.
The next thing you can do is to feed your dog right before you take them for their walk. Dogs that have eaten a good meal are less likely to eat grass. Make it a high-fiber meal that will help your dog turn its nose up at the lush-looking grass.
Finally, allow your dog access to grass later in the day. The time of day seems to be an influential factor in dog grass eating. The later the time the less likely they will eat grass.
Some final words
The only time you should be worried about your dog eating grass is when they are not in your yard. You do not know what has been placed on lawns owned by your neighbors or on the park grass. To keep your dog safe, try to limit their exposure to grass when they are on your property.
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